For Kaitlyn West, Jefferson Regional Medical Center Registered Nurse, nursing was a calling she felt years before she began caring for neurology patients at JRMC.
Kaitlyn’s cousin was born with a heart defect, and she was by his side throughout the time he received care at Children’s Hospital. “I witnessed how the nurses treated him, and I was just so thankful for them,” she said. “Even though I was young, I thought, wow – these people are really helping my cousin. The nurses really inspired me.”
Now that Kaitlyn is a nurse, she said each day is proof that she chose the right profession. “Every day at work I think, ‘I love caring for these people,’” she said. “I can’t think of one patient I’ve ever taken care of that I haven’t truly connected with. It’s very rewarding. I love making a difference – I can’t imagine doing what I love anywhere other than JRMC.”
Kaitlyn chose to work in the JRMC Neurology Department because of the culture. “Sometimes when you walk into a hospital or a clinic, you feel tension on the floor, but it wasn’t like that here,” she said. “And I love my department more every day. I honestly want to always work here.”
Kaitlyn said she enjoys the environment in the Neurology Department and across all of JRMC. “Nursing is my calling and working for such an engaged employer makes me think, ‘I want to spend my entire career at JRMC,’” she said. “One reason I love JRMC is because of the incredible teamwork mentality. We work together, and we truly care about each other. The entire hospital is like a big family. At JRMC, I know I have the support and tools to do my job and do it well.”
Last year, Kaitlyn won the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses. She was nominated by two patients based on the exceptional skill and compassion she demonstrated during their stays at JRMC. Kaitlyn said she was blown away by the overwhelming support she received from JRMC staff and administration when she won. “I thought, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize this many people realized who I am or what I do,’” she said. “I realized that day that I have all these people rooting for me in my career. Everyone was so excited for me, and I feel like a lot of places you go, it’s not like that.”
Kaitlyn said she never feels isolated working at JRMC. “When I got out of orientation, I was worried that I would feel alone,” she said. “My coworkers always assured me. ‘You’re never by yourself – there’s always somebody here.’ At JRMC, I know I have a strong support system.”
The support Kaitlyn feels at JRMC is so strong that she chooses to drive 45 minutes each day to work here. “It’s definitely worth making the drive,” she said. “I couldn’t see myself working at any other hospital.”
Kaitlyn said one of the reasons she enjoys working at JRMC are the physicians that are helpful and provide excellent communication. “They listen, and if you have a concern, they take it seriously,” she said.
Kaitlyn said she would encourage all nurses to consider working at JRMC. “This hospital helps me with everything,” she said. “When I first started, I felt a little overwhelmed by the number of hours I was working per pay period. My supervisor worked with me, and now I work 72 hours per pay period, which works better for me and my life. That’s just one example of the support JRMC gives nurses.”
Although Kaitlyn loves her coworkers, the physicians she works with and JRMC’s organizational culture, she’s ultimately here for her patients and their loved ones. “The patients are definitely the most fulfilling part of my job – period,” she said. “I love sitting down with a family member, letting them cry to me, seeing them trust me with their feelings and what they’re telling me. I really care about them. When they come to me and say, ‘Thank you for all the work you’re doing – he’s getting better,’ or, ‘I see her improving,’ it makes me feel really good. That’s the reason I keep doing what I’m doing. It’s all for them.”