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Cindy Cowgill, A Nurse
Cindy Cowgill works as a nurse over at Central DuPage Hospital. She works a twelve-hour night shift, but often has to go into overtime. Over the years, she has worked with many different types of patients, both adults and children, with problems ranging from a mild sickness to cardiac arrest. Mrs. Cowgill has had this job for about 20 years.
What is your official title?
Officially, I am a Relieve Charge Nurse.
What kinds of activities do you do from day to day?
I take care of patients, manage Emergency Medical Service (otherwise known as ambulances) within region 8, help do some housekeeping at work, manage staffing, and work in the ER.
What are your job responsibilities?
I have to manage patient care. When the doctor’s not there, I’ve had to direct paramedics, help adults with cardiac arrest, and deliver 5 babies. In the ER, I have to help with disaster management, start IVs, and give medications. Nurses aren’t officially licensed as physicians, but can give medicine with a doctor’s signature. We can’t do x-rays, but we do pretty much everything else.
How long do you usually work?
I work 12 hours on the night shift, and on-call hours (overtime).
What is your work environment like?
There are 6 critical bays in the ER, part pediatric and part observation units. The hospital is mostly open with a few closed rooms. There’s also a main desk, though I can’t sit down at it, and a nurse’s station. There’s a medication room, and a place to answer EMS (Emergency Medical Service) radio, too.
What did you first expect when you got this position?
I expected something much easier. At first, I thought that I would be working with other staff more, but instead I am working more independently. There are also a lot of patients: about 40 patients for 2 doctors.
What’s the most challenging part about your job?
The parents of the kids. They’re always upset and worried over their kids’ health. It’s also hard to get the education needed for the job. I have 8 certifications on top of my nursing license.
What’s the best part about your occupation?
Both the patients’ and the parents’ appreciation after I help them get better if they were ill, or even save their or their kids’ lives.
Why did you want this profession in the first place?
Nursing gives me the flexibility to raise my kids at home, and I had wanted a family for a long time before I got the job.
What was going through your head during the first few days at work?
I thought, “What did I get myself into?” It’s quite a bit overwhelming when you first start.
Would you recommend this profession to others? Why or why not?
Well, both yes and no. Yes because it allows you to raise a family with the flexible times, but no because you have to work on holidays, and have little time to relax or do anything else outside of work.