Interview Reflection

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					Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008

                                   Interview Reflection

       It was a great opportunity to interview a nurse Laura McCormick who worked in

the areas of inpatient, outpatient, and pediatrics and served in the Army Reserve during

The Gulf War. I found this person through my girlfriend’s friend Kim McCormick which

is her daughter. I was talking with her about her mom and what she did, where she went

while being a nurse left me wanting to know more and how she served in the Army

Reserve. After that I thought it would be a great opportunity for my interview. Already

her mom sounds like a great person who took her time to help who she could while being

a nurse.

       I have spoken to Laura McCormick before and it made it really easy to interview

her. I learned that nursing can be very stressful on your life. The possible distances you

may have to travel if going to a hospital or into the Army Reserve will be difficult on

your family. I never knew that being a nurse meant that you would be part of a team

because I remember seeing only one or two nurses in a wing of a hospital every time I

went there. I like the idea of being a team and working together which was mentioned in

my interview. Working in a team means helping someone else, solving and fixing

problems together and if you have good communication, even in the worst condition can

make caring for people much easier and run a lot smoother. It’s interesting to find out

how much hospitals and medical facilities are in short supply of nurses; it seems as

though nurses will always be in high demand.
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008

       During the interview I found many similarities between being a nurse and my

field of being a health and physical education teacher. As a teacher I will help to educate

many different students everyday, just as nurse would attend to many different patients

for possibly more times in that same week. All of these interactions in both career choices

force both teacher and nurse to adapt to another persons needs. In my situation of being a

teacher, who has a visual disability, I have to adapt myself with the way I teach my

students in a way that they can understand what I am teaching. With nursing one would

have to adapt in a very similar way to that of teaching. A nurse might have to adapt or

change how to interact and deal with many patients and their families, including other

nurses and doctors who are working with them each and everyday. Another aspect that is

very important for both nursing and teaching is teamwork because with poor

communication brings undesired results towards a situation or problem. Having good

communication and working as a team can make a person’s work run smoother, with this

efficiently you obtain your desired results towards the many adaptations and problems

that both careers as well as many others face daily.

       The information and stories that I heard through this interview would not make

me change what I do, but help me make it better for my students. I am able to adapt

myself with my teaching, which helps me be open to new ideas of teaching students. I

have been designing my website ( since 2005 to help students get

information they need where ever they are whether it be in the school library, on their

home computer or traveling with a laptop. I hope this is a resource student will take
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
advantage of. Getting information in a timely manner is very important. Being a nurse or

a teacher, information needs to be accessed readily to be able to solve problems more

efficiently. This allows a teacher or care provider the ability to assist people around them

such as a student, patient or team member as quickly and as easily as possible. As I

continue to teach and educate others about health and physical education my information

database will always be open to everyone to find and share new ideas. I am also

developing a test that will show true health and fitness through nutrition and physical

aspects rather than only physical. Having healthy students in a school is very important.

My goal of this test is to create a healthier school by moving in the direction towards

being healthy and staying healthy with proper nutrition and physical activity.

You can find out more about this test at:

       As a result of this interview I found that teachers and nurses are more alike than I

originally thought. In these careers you would be adapting to new situations and

challenges. Laura McCormick, was a good nurse, with a lot of real life experiences and

very interesting stories about how she dealt with it all was a very interesting person to

interview. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn about a nurse with such great

knowledge and understand in and out of her field.
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
                              Interview Questions

What made you want to go into the field of nursing?

I went into nursing first of all because I love science and working with
people and could never read or learn enough about health and people’s
health problems and what they did to cope with their health problems. I also
wanted to be a part of the team that helped people with their health. Also, I
knew that I would always have job security.

Was the field of nursing what you expected?

Yes, it was what I was expected.

What were the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?

The most rewarding parts of my job were helping people maintain their
health and improve their health. The challenging parts were when I used to
work shifts and weekends and then work weekends in the Army Reserves
and not have a day off for ten days and sometimes be switching from nights
to day shift on my days off. I was tired but young then, so I did OK but it
was challenging to have a life – missed holidays with family and friends and
so on and only knowing my work schedule two weeks ahead. I did work in
clinics with weekends and holidays off and that was super for my life
outside of work too because I always knew my schedule. Also challenging
was all the responsibilities RNs have for people’s lives, especially working
inpatient. That was scary at times especially since only very sick people are
hospitalized and they leave too soon and we were always short staffed.

Why do you think this field of work is important?

There is nothing more paramount than people’s health, from which all
quality of life is determined.

What qualities do you think make a good nurse?

Paramount must be good values and work ethic, i.e. if you make a
medication error you must tell the team because the person could die without
an antidote or other intervention. Also, very detailed oriented,
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
compassionate, excellent at science and health and have good stamina
especially if going to work in inpatient nursing. Also, physically having a
good back and feet since during many nursing tasks you walk a lot and stand
a lot doing procedures and talking to patients during teaching and so on.
Other critical qualities include sound judgement, excellent communication
skills, common sense, high level of maturity and a strong philosophy of life
to sustain you during tough times dealing with people’s problems. Also
important is a strong sense of team spirit.

What type of environment did you work in?

I worked mostly in outpatient and inpatient pediatrics plus some GYN in a
clinic where I also assisted the pediatrician.

Was it ever emotionally stressful dealing with the different aspects of being
a nurse?

Yes!!! I thought it was emotional when I covered for the pediatric oncology
unit where most of the children were very sick and maybe terminal. I didn’t
like covering that clinic at all because it was only when they were short
staffed and I never got a good orientation and I felt I was under qualified to
cover when regular staff was off. I made sure I was always working one on
one with a nurse I trusted to help me do a good job under her. It was very

What was it like being a nurse in the army? Would you say it is or is not
more difficult than being in a clinic or hospital?

When I was in the Army Reserves the motto of the Army was “Be all You
Can Be.” This was true for me because I very seldom worked clinical
nursing in the Army Reserves. My extra duties were to write all the non-
classified standing operating procedures (SOPs) and serve as the public
relations officer. So I liked most of my Army Reserves experience and
mostly wrote and tested my SOPs. The few times I worked as a nurse in the
Army Reserves during training exercises for real casualties, I worked in the
emergency room. We did not have a lot of equipment so it was mostly triage
and advanced first aide and getting the doctor to write Rx and do the things
we couldn’t accomplish. If the patient’s condition was beyond our abilities
and equipment, we would evacuate out to a civilian hospital. It would only
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
be more difficult if you didn’t like the regimen of the military and being told
where to live if you were in the active Army and of course stressful during
conflicts and wars. I was in the Army Reserve during the Gulf War and one
fourth of my unit was mobilized. Most everyone who went to war were
operating room personnel. Also, the Army does not necessarily allow you to
be assigned where you want to be but where you are needed. I did work at
the VA as a student nurse and working conditions there were the worst I
have ever seen. Veterans really have it bad and that makes nursing there
harder because it is all out of your control. If anyone is a nurse wanting to
work inpatient, the most important question first to ask is how understaffed
they are at that hospital and evaluate if the team supports one another or not.
Good teamwork can help overcome poor conditions.

What interesting patients did you meet while being a nurse?

I met many patients and their parents but did not talk of things usually
except about their health. One patient who made a big impression on me was
one presented during a teaching session of the endocrinologist I worked with
in an outpatient clinic. He spoke of a failure to thrive child who was
removed from his parents for neglect. He thoroughly evaluated this patient
while he was in foster care. He did his entire workup on this poor victim and
there was no other conclusion for his continued failure to thrive other than
he was not feeling loved. I will never forget that story. Another patient I
knew from a clinic where I saw the mother in GYN clinic and her children
with the pediatrician. After a couple years, I saw her in another clinic with a
baby for a well child checkup and as I was checking over the baby I asked
her whose baby he was since sometimes grandparents brought in the child.
She said that he is her own baby. I was shocked and said, “I thought you had
your tubes tied!” She said, “Me too!” I never forgot that mother either.

Has there ever been a situation that you couldn’t handle?

There were two times I was really upset about a patient in my care (besides
when I made a mistake, but thank God they turned out OK). Once was when
I was working in a clinic I took a picture of one of the cutest little girls at our
clinic. She was looking at the bottom of her shoe and was telling me that it
was dirty. I still have that picture. I really liked her “Mom” because she was
excellent to the child and raised her after she was abandoned by her real
mother. A few years later I was walking by an exam room while working in
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
another clinic and noticed the mom. We chatted and it turned out her little
girl had gotten encephalitis and was just about brain dead. She came to the
clinic for extensive care and was in a special wheelchair. I got so upset that I
went to the bathroom afterwards and almost had dry heaves.

Another time, when I was a student, I was taking care of a mom who was in
the OB ward. We hit it off and I was able to be present when she delivered.
Well, she ended up having an emergency birth fast because her baby was
breech and he was oxygen deprived. While they were trying to have her
baby born faster and were trying to get the baby out, she was screaming my
name. The baby was born with palsy. I’ll never forget them either.

Were there ever any instances that were significant?

The above instances were very significant to me and many others too
because nursing is very personal and after going through times like these
you wish that you could keep seeing how things turn out with patients and
their families but that is impossible. I believe all things are determined and
meant to be and the only thing we can do is be the best person we can be and
improve our ability to adapt throughout life. I took care of a little boy who
leaned against a screen on the second floor and fell out the window. He was
in the hospital overnight for observation. It turned out that the only problem
he had was me checking on him all night and all he wanted to do was sleep!

Was your family life affected by your job?

After I got married and we moved I knew that I could not find a job in
nursing that would fit into my family life so I took time off to start a family.

Did you ever feel emotionally connected to a patient?

Yes, many times. Going through major life experiences with people changes
you. After I moved and stopped working as a nurse when I was a patient
myself having twins, my husband was out of state on a business trip. While
he was traveling to be with me, the nursing staff asked me if there was
anyone I could call to be with me in the meantime. I said that all my family
and friends lived far away but there was the nurse who gave us our prenatal
classes who I hoped could come. Well, they called her and she stayed with
me for several hours until my husband came, who did make it there in time
Peter S. Gottwald Jr.
Assignment 1: Interview Reflection
HEA 581: Special Topics
October 24, 2008
to be with me for my cesarean section. She changed my birthing experience
to be very positive! That what nursing is: helping people adapt to what
challenges them in life. Every specialty in nursing relates to this.

How has your life changed since having the experience of being a nurse?

I have used my pediatric and other nursing and advanced first aide
knowledge and experience all through my life and it helped me especially
after having my own children.

Thank you for the opportunity to tell you my stories.

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