How She Did It: Yolanda R. Hill
Yolanda R. Hill
Occupation: Family Nurse Practitioner, Occupational Health Specialist
Location: Baton Rouge, Los Angeles
Why she wanted to enter the field: I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was about eight years old. I watched my cousin suffer through her battle with metastatic cancer, which ultimately took her life. While visiting with her in the hospital, I would observe her nurses taking care of her with such compassion, grace and dignity until she took her final breath. I was inspired by their sincere sensitivity and the nurturing capabilities they displayed while caring for her. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to be a nurse.
How she entered the field: While doing my clinical rotation in nursing school, I approached the nurse manager of the unit I was rotating on and asked her about any available positions as a nurse aide. She informed me that she was looking for a nurse tech, which is a nursing student working for a patient care unit while in school, to assist on her pediatric unit. I took this opportunity to learn as much as I could about the discipline of nursing. I soon realized that nursing school and the "real world" of nursing were distinctively different. After graduation, I remained at the hospital for one year and ventured into other areas of nursing. Over the course of the next 15 years, I worked in a variety of areas such as Home Health, Dialysis, Occupational Health and Medical Office. The majority of my employment opportunities came as a result of networking and several "chance meetings." Presently, I am working for the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company and the world's largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products as a Nurse Practitioner in Occupational Health. As a health care provider, I am responsible for working with management and employees to assist with the prevention of illness and injury at work.
How she paid for it: I was fortunate in that my parents covered my tuition, however many of my friends were not so lucky. They had to work part-time jobs in the evening and at night and were still expected to go to class and clinical rotations with very little sleep and meet or excel their instructor's expectations.
Most memorable experience thus far: My first code experience was on a cardiology unit. I was terrified and scared out of my mind because my patient was being discharged to home. She went to use the restroom and went into cardiac arrest while in the restroom. It was a very frightening experience, but I felt very confident after I participated in it. Unfortunately, my patient passed but that experience taught me that I was stronger and wiser than I gave myself credit for.
Would she do it all over again: Yes!!! I love my job. Often times, people would ask me why I didn't go to medical school with the amount of years I spent in nursing school for my Bachelor and Master degrees and then my Doctor of Nursing degree through the online nursing degree program at Loyola University New Orleans. My answer remains the same, "I love being a nurse and using the gift I was blessed with having to touch and change lives, one day at a time."
Career tips for others:
- Reality shock will occur but don't worry, it a normal reaction and you will be fine.
- Learn as much as you can during your orientation and in-service training program.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. It is better to be sure than to guess and be wrong.
- Finally, get to know the nursing assistants on your unit, particularly those who have worked as a nurse assistant for many years. Treat them with respect and dignity. They have a wealth of knowledge you can tap into.
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