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Tina Spradley Parks, BSN, RN, CVRN-BC, was recently highlighted in a KSNA Newsletter. In her spotlight, she offers advice to new nurses coming into the profession. Read her wise words below.

Written by Tina Spradley Parks, BSN,RN,CVRN-BC

My legal professional name is Tina Spradley Parks, BSN, RN, CVRN-BC. I graduated from Medical College of Georgia School of Nursing in June 1995 and worked in Georgia for many years before moving to Arizona then Kansas. I work at St. Mary’s Medical Center about 30 min from Kansas City, Kansas. I celebrated 25 years of Nursing on October 25, 1995, as this was the date, I received my Registered Nursing License after taking the NCLEX. I worked for several years as a Medical Surgical/Oncology Nurse and in April 2000, I transferred to the Cardiac Catheterization/Interventional Radiology Lab.

I would moonlight in the Emergency Room over the years to keep my other skills updated but in the longer term, I always came back to work in the Cath Lab/IR. One of my goals as a nurse was to become Certified in my specialty. In August 2019, I took the exam for the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine to become a Board Certified Cardiac/Vascular Nurse.

I am proud to be a nurse because first and foremost, our profession is the most respected and trusted in the medical field. I try to personalize every patient’s visit and give them the safest and best possible care. When it comes to accomplishments, I can name two that I am super proud of assisting in. I have two daughters and one son. My oldest daughter is a Registered Nurse with her CCRN and currently works in an ICU in Aiken, SC. My youngest daughter is currently in Nursing School at the University of South Carolina at Aiken. She wants to be a Burn ICU pediatric nurse. I hope that I instilled enough caring and wisdom in my two girls to be the nurse that their patient really needs. Our field needs more caring younger nurses to make sure that the traditional values in nursing stay alive and continue to be an essential part of the nursing curriculum.

Working in this field has brought me so much joy and satisfaction with myself. I am proud to care for and help others. When I can gain someone’s trust and they are reassured that they will get better, they often give the look of relaxation and trust me to keep my word. Earning someone’s trust when they are at their most vulnerable is a great accomplishment. I work in an area when something I say or do could have an end to our patient.

When a patient comes in having a Heart attack, they are scared and really confused as to what is happening to them. This patient must go to the Cathlab as quickly as possible. Once blood flow is restored then the patient doesn’t have any pain any longer. The job now to be done is to council this patient as the news of having a Heart attack can be overwhelming. My job at this point is making sure all information relayed to the patient and family. You are the patient’s greatest Advocate, especially if they cannot speak themselves.

In order to stay healthy and happy in this career, I have a few pieces of advice:

1 Don’t take any negative energy from work home to interfere with family life. If someone makes you angry at work, you have to get rid of the negative energy before you get in your car. Find a quiet place. Not in the hospital and not in your vehicle. Shake the negative energy off then go home happy.

2 Always make time for breakfast! Start the day off correctly.

3 Respect your patients and your co-workers, no matter what they do. If you do have a confrontation or really need to give someone some constructive criticism, always take the high road. Don’t discuss it with any other nurse or supervisor until you have spoken to this individual for resolve.

4 Follow chain of command. Do not go behind someone’s back with something that is better off handled nurse to nurse. This will gain mutual respect and that keeps the team alive and together.

5 Just be kind but be YOURSELF. Don’t pretend to be something you are not.

6 Most important thing I can say to you: I told my youngest daughter this: As a student nurse, you are about to see what humanity is really like. You will have good days, and you will have bad days. Don’t forget to laugh. Don’t forget to cry. Always put a smile of your face. Care for your patient as if it were your grandmother, because it most likely is someone’s grandmother. Don’t try to do something you aren’t qualified to do. Ask questions- Many, many, questions if necessary… and never let them see you sweat.

This career has made me laugh and certainly made me cry. Even after 25 years I am learning something new every day. The day I believe I know it all and have nothing more to learn, then that will be the last day. Be humble. My girls have a good heart just as I do. I have never lost my compassion for this profession. I know it is what I was born to do. I just want to be 90 and still caring for others. It’s in my blood…. I would not want to do anything else!