“What part of heaven did you get this nurse from?” was the first comment uttered by a new Primary Care Physician to IPI’s Director of Nursing Services, Nancy Tafoya, when she was at a patient’s home conducting a clinical supervisory visit with a patient being cared for by Karolina W., RN. At that point, Karolina had spent more than four years as a field nurse caring for IPI’s most medically complex adult and pediatric patients. “I commented that Karolina is one of the best field nurses we have,” Tafoya said. “At the end of the visit I asked Karolina if she would consider interviewing for a Clinical Manager position.” Shortly thereafter Karolina joined the IPI Home Nursing Clinical Management Team, and just a few months into the job, her colleagues say she has been an outstanding addition who brings a positive and straightforward attitude to her interactions with patients and nurses. We sat down with Karolina earlier this week to find out more about why she became a nurse and how she is enjoying her new role.
Q: Why did you become a nurse?
A: When I was hospitalized with my first son in 2003, for the first time ever in my life, I had the most caring and wonderful nurses taking care of me. I was all alone until my family was able to fly in to assist me. And they took care of me as if I they were my family. It’s then where the thought first crossed my mind. I wanted to be like them, do what they do. I thought nursing must be the most incredible job on this planet. You get to work and have instant gratification in someone’s smile, a thank you, a hug, or someone surviving another day because you made the difference. I wanted to be that person.
Q: Why did you choose to work in Home Nursing?
A: I didn’t choose it. It was never even on my list. I worked in the hospital setting for four years all throughout nursing school. I always thought I would end up there. Recession happened. Hire freeze happened. I couldn’t get a job in the hospital I worked at without having family members in the field (because that’s what it took to be hired pretty much). I received a call from an agency that introduced me to private duty nursing. I had no idea this field existed. I knew only of visiting nursing. I went to an interview and found out I’d have to work with pediatric patients, which was another “NOT what I wanted to do.” But then they said this cute three-month-old baby was coming home, and it was walking distance from my home, so I said yes. And it just blossomed into this awesome experience and led to where I am now. I would not want to work in any other setting.
Q: What is your favorite thing so far about your position as a Home Nursing Clinical Manager?
A: I get to stay on top of everything that is happening to all patients in my care. I don’t find out information last. I like to teach so educating nurses, patients and families is also my favorite part of this job. I still get to help.
Q: What is something about your job that would surprise us?
A: You would be surprise if you knew the complexity of the process of a simple request such as: “Hey we went to this doctor and he gave us this medication, so add that to the Medication Record.”
Q: Who inspires you at work?
A: My team. My team is what makes me want to be here, doesn’t matter how busy and difficult the day is, they make it worth the time and effort.
Q: Who inspires you outside of work?
A: My husband. He is my rock. I will be forever grateful for his support. He is hard-working and focused. It may seem like he asks me many questions sometimes and doesn’t understand my job, but when I’m broken down he says, “We can do this.” There are not too many people around like him.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: My family and my job. I would not change any of it for anything in this world.
Q: What are you planning to do next?
A: Study. I want to finish my schooling. I want to teach nursing sometime in the future.
Q: What words do you live by?
A: “Don’t let other people convince you that you shouldn’t have what you want. Do what’s right for you, and YOU will be in this sport for a long time.” – Melody Beadie
Q: What advice do you have for new nurse graduates?
A: Be honest, but brave. You’ve been trained for this, you got this.