Nursing Program Offers SAC Graduate Job Satisfaction & Security
Name: Evan Thompson
City: Brea, California
Profession: Registered Nurse
1) What influenced you to pursue a nursing career at Santa Ana College?
I was working at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton where a former Santa Ana College Nursing Student, Michael Knapp, R.N., introduced me to Santa Ana College’s nursing program.
2) Have you always been interested in the medical profession?
I have always enjoyed helping people. I unknowingly started my career in the service industry when I was a Boy Scout. I was the person that the other Scouts came to when they needed to be patched up after an injury. My Eagle Scout project was setting up a blood drive during a blood shortage.
However, when I began to pursue my nursing career I was married, the father of three young children, and I was employed full-time. It was no easy feat meeting all my obligations--giving my children “Daddy” time and keeping up in fast-paced nursing program. I remember spending time with my family and then sitting in my truck to study for a nursing exam so as not be interrupted by my children, then ages four, three and one. Fortunately, working at St. Jude allowed me the flexibility to pursue my education.
3) What are some of your best memories at Santa Ana College?
Oh, there are so many! I remember our study groups, which were more fun than they should have been! I enjoyed ECP evening classes at St. Joseph Hospital in the Convent Library in the Mother House; second and third semester skits and presentations in front of the class; skills lab, particularly the simulation lab with Teresa Simbro (Coordinator, National Council Licensure Examination/Technology) and Maria Duralde (Adjunct Faculty Instructor).
4) After graduating from Santa Ana College, what path led to your current position?
Thanks to the exceptional education I received at Santa Ana College, I was offered a position in the Emergency Department at St. Jude Medical Center in their New Grad Program. St. Jude is one of the hospitals that hosts Santa Ana College nursing students.
5) What is the most challenging, and the most rewarding, part of your work?
The most challenging is seeing people in pain. The most rewarding is the satisfaction that comes from helping others, and the look on their faces when they feel better, knowing that I had a hand in their care.
6) Can you cite a memorable incident related to related to your career when you felt you truly made a difference in someone’s life?
Yes. On the second day I served as a nurse volunteer at the Mental Health Association in Santa Ana, I noticed a man who seemed withdrawn. My initial efforts to engage him in conversation were rejected, but eventually he began telling me about himself, his living arrangements and his family. Then he told me he planned to take his own life.
It was a difficult situation because it was a Sunday, and the only mental health services available for walk-in patients on the weekend are through the local police department or hospital emergency room. I consulted my supervisor, the facility manager, who agreed to drive him to an emergency room. First, I followed a procedure taught in our mental health rotation called getting a contract for safety, in which a person agrees not to injure him or her self. Then, I told the man that we wanted to take him to the emergency room where he would get help and treatment. Eventually he agreed to go if I would accompany him. On the way I learned exactly how he planned to commit suicide on the train tracks that very afternoon!
I stayed with him until the mental health evaluator arrived and he felt safe enough for me to leave.
Who knew nursing school could be like this!