"There are not too many 25-year-old directors of nursing out there. I credit my St. Ambrose degree and ER experience with getting me where I am now. Some people work 20 years to get to this point."
"You hear about big schools where you're sitting in a class of 200 students, being taught by a teaching assistant and rarely seeing your professor. At St. Ambrose, if you have a question, you just ask and the professor answers."
Inspired by his family's experience with caring nurses, Adam Haut set his sights on a nursing career. A few years later, his experience in the ER and the critical thinking skills he learned at St. Ambrose accelerated his career. He became a director of nursing, a manager of a whole team of nurses, at age 25.
My dad was burned during my junior year of high school in an accident on his job as an electrician, and my family was so appreciative of the care he got in the hospital. When we tell our stories of my dad getting treatment, it's never about what the doctor came in to tell us. It's always about how the nurse cared for my dad personally. That really solidified in mind that nursing was what I wanted to do.
I've talked to nurses who went to big colleges who just felt lost in the shuffle. At St. Ambrose, your professors know you on a personal basis from the get-go. And the professors don't just know your name; they know your life situation. If you have problems, they will help you out.
To me, it's more about the people side. You can ace every test you've ever taken, but that's not what makes you a great nurse. Nursing is about caring, empathizing with people and meeting their needs. It's about making a difference in their lives. If you can't be an advocate between patients and their physicians and their families, you can't get the job done.
I worked three years in hospital emergency departments at Genesis Medical Center right out of college. I assumed I'd do my whole career in ER. I thought that was my calling. But while I enjoyed caring for patients, I realized my true love was relating with other nurses and organizing care for patients. That's how I ended up as the director of nursing for Family Care Solutions, a home health care company in Bettendorf.
How is working in home health care different from working in a hospital setting?
You're a guest in people houses, so you don't have a whole hospital with you. You have to rely on what you're carrying in your nursing bag. It's more about planning and organization-using your knowledge base and making decisions often on your own.
Their critical thinking is much better, and their drive to move up the clinical or career ladders is much higher. Ambrose is right on target in where its graduates are in terms of nursing knowledge and practice.
When a patient comes in as a "code blue," you do everything you can do, but you're not usually able to save the person. One of my code-blue patients was the grandfather of my good friend. So when we broke the bad news to the family, it was to people I've known for years. Guiding them through the end-of-life process, and explaining that we'd done everything we could to keep him alive, felt very personal to me. Even though we weren't able to bring him back to life, we still provided care to his relatives. I thought, "Now this is why we are nurses."