BSN Program: College of Nursing Student
Guest: Jared Carter – Nursing Student, MUSC
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry, MUSC
Dr. Linda Austin: This is Dr. Linda Austin. I’m interviewing Jared Carter, who is a student in the College of Nursing at MUSC. Jared, you had a little bit of an unusual path to nursing school. How did you make the decision to change career paths and become a nurse?
Jared Carter: In 2005, I started back to graduate school in the College of Health Professions, here at MUSC, to get a Master in Health Administration (MHA). I completed that in the spring of 2007. Following that, I started an administrative residency position at Palmetto Health Richland up in Columbia. People always ask what that is. It’s defined and structured differently depending on the hospital.
My position was very unstructured. I was basically a resource through the senior administration. I would help them with whatever projects they needed help with. And when I wasn’t busy working on projects, basically, they gave me access to the entire hospital. If I wanted to learn about radiology, I’d call the director of Radiology and spend a week shadowing people there. The same with Surgery, Med-surg, Critical Care; anything I wanted to do. So, I did that. I was trying to bridge the gap between the administration and the clinical people, or at least to get my head around it a little bit. So, the more I did that, the more I got exposed to the clinical staff and saw what their jobs involved. As I started doing that, nursing started popping out in my head.
Dr. Linda Austin: Was there a moment, do you recall a particular day when you realized that nursing was what you really wanted to do?
Jared Carter: I was shadowing in the OR and basically just stood in there and watched two different surgeries. The first one was a total knee replacement, and you can’t really see too much of that. It’s very sterile due to infection concerns. That was interesting, but I didn’t really get to see that much. Well, the second surgery was open heart; cabbage, surgery. I walked in on the middle of it. The perfusionist already had the heart and lungs stopped. And I was able to stand right next to the nurse anesthetist; who was positioned near the patient’s head, and the physician’s assistant, as well as the surgeon, and watch everything happen. That’s when I knew I wanted to go into nursing, not Suit and Tie admin anymore. It’s not that I couldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t have been miserable doing that, but nursing appeals to me more than administration.
Dr. Linda Austin: The excitement of it? Now, when you say you want to do nursing, do you mean that you want to be a nurse anesthetist or that you want to do clinical care?
Jared Carter: Clinical care. I want to be with patients. That particular surgery happened to be fascinating to me. And, every day, I saw something more interesting. Every time that I shadowed people on the floor, I was always that much more invigorated and fascinated with what was going on there than when I was up the administration area.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, you’ve finished your first two semesters of nursing school. Has that time included clinical, practicum, time?
Jared Carter: Oh, yeah. Three weeks after we start nursing school, we’re with patients.
Dr. Linda Austin: And, have you found that clinical activity as exciting as when you were on the administrative side, watching from the outside?
Jared Carter: No. It’s better. After I decided to go into nursing, I came back here and started working as a PCT on the Surgery/Oncology floor. I’d been doing that for eight months before we actually started clinical in school.
Dr. Linda Austin: PCT is?
Jared Carter: Patient Care Tech.
Dr. Linda Austin: And, you started to say that it’s better. What’s better?
Jared Carter: I’m actually doing it, versus watching it and becoming fascinated and intrigued with it.
Dr. Linda Austin: What are your favorite things to do?
Jared Carter: I really like interacting with patients. I take a lot of pride in my bedside manner and being able to do whatever I can to relate to the patient. Everything’s different. Our path; everyone in my position in nursing school, is so embryonic at this stage. Every time you do something, it’s brand new. We don’t get an overabundance of clinical time, so everything’s interesting; everything’s new. You want to become good at everything. And you try to find things to do when you’re out there. All the skills you want to learn as a nurse, it’s hit or miss whether you’re going to get a chance to do that when you’re working in clinical.
Dr. Linda Austin: Are you thinking about any particular direction of specialization in nursing at this point, or are you still wide open?
Jared Carter: If it came down to it, I’d be wide open, but I do have some things I’m leaning towards. My number one choice right now would be to start off in Surgery Trauma ICU. That is what I’m most interested in right now.
Dr. Linda Austin: Because?
Jared Carter: I was a football player in high school and college, you know, the adrenalin? I’m the type of person that steps up to the challenge, so to speak. I want the ball in my hand when the game is on the line. That’s what Surgery Trauma ICU is to me; my limited knowledge of it. I have picked up shifts as a tech and worked in there before too, so I’ve seen it. It’s not just this idea that I have.
Dr. Linda Austin: What reflections do you have on the educational program here itself, the relationships with the faculty, and so forth?
Jared Carter: This is really great place to go to school. The faculty is so welcoming and so upbeat when you get here. From the beginning, you just get excited about it. It’s very encouraging. And I feel like that’s a very conducive environment to make the best nurses that you can. I’ve heard stories about other places where it’s not a nurturing environment, but more of a situation, perhaps, of weeding out; weeding the weak ones out, for lack of a better way to explain it. Not here, but at other schools.
I was thinking about that first semester after having a conversation with a friend of mine in one of those other programs. It doesn’t matter where anybody goes to nursing school, the people that are nurses when the new nurses get there, know more than them. That’s it. But, if you come from a nurturing environment like this one, you’re going to come out and be excited and fired up your job; ready to go. I just think that it makes sense that people coming from a positive environment are going to excel.
Dr. Linda Austin: Thank you so much. Good luck to you, Jared.
Jared Carter: Thank you. I appreciate it.