All in the Family
Third-generation nurse thrives under pressure.
In the Emergency Room, every second counts. And nursing senior Kimberly Anderson thrives on the pressure, thanks to a lifetime connection.
When she began her UND cooperative education rotation in the ER, Anderson was taught by one of the best: her mom, who is also her best friend.
“I fell in love with emergency nursing,” Anderson said of her experience. “The ER is not what most people think. It can be pretty intense, exciting, and a ‘rush.’ You don’t know who is going to be really sick and who is not, so you need to keep an eye on the whole picture and know what’s going on.”
Her mom, Laura Jessen Dravitz, also a UND graduate and a second-generation nurse, has coordinated the nurse co-op program and also served as coordinator of UND practicum students at Altru Health System over the last six years.
“I love to teach others what I have learned,” Dravitz said. She began her career at Meritcare in Fargo in 1982, and began working at Altru after her family moved to East Grand Forks about 10 years ago. She later moved to the ER, and says it’s the best job she’s ever had.
“You are always learning,” Dravitz said. “You never know what will come in the door. When a person has a problem, figuring out what’s wrong is like putting a puzzle together.” That’s why Dravitz emphasizes biological, psychological, and sociological aspects to understand patients and their problems. It’s what she was taught in nursing school, and she teaches it to students. “We are a patient’s voice, ears, and hands, even with more tools than ever before at our fingertips.” Dravitz, who received the North Dakota Nurse Excellence Award in 2006, currently serves as state president of the Emergency Nurses Association and was recognized for leadership at the group’s national annual meeting this year.
Like her mother, Anderson fell in love with emergency nursing. She recently completed a capstone practicum in neuromedical intensive care unit (ICU) at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis.
“It’s intense, because you work 196 hours in six weeks, plus homework, as well as spend 32 to 36 hours in class,” she said.
Anderson put herself through school as a critical care technician in Altru’s ICU. UND’s Student Nurse of the Year in 2009, she has served as president and secretary of the Student Nurses Association. And like her mom, she may end up in critical or emergency care.
“It’s amazing to have a doctor come up and ask what you think a patient needs. That trust doesn’t happen right away, but the doctors depend on you.” She said that the needs of critical patients are particularly motivating: “They make you think more, make decisions, and work harder. I like the challenge of working to save them.”
“Kim has a gift,” said Dravitz. “I’m so proud of her. She’s cialis not task-oriented — she sees the whole picture. I knew she would be good. I look for a passion for nursing, eagerness to learn, and people who have common sense. That makes a good ER nurse.”