Drum roll, please…
KPG Healthcare’s December Nurse Spotlight goes to…Cara! Cara is going to be our final nurse spotlight for 2019 and of the decade – woo! Without further ado, here is Cara!
Hailing from Bakersfield, California – Cara’s been a nurse for more than a decade and a travel nurse for four years. She’s a nurse that projects confidence, a depth of knowledge, humility, and kindness. From being an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse to Labor & Delivery (L&D), Cara has had the opportunity to grow and strengthen her skill set as a nurse through the years.
“There are so many avenues to change and better yourself as a person and as a nurse,” Cara explained, “I wanted to be in a field that could make a difference.”Cara
Her nursing career began when she witnessed her grandfather pass into the next life and it sparked something within her – the promise to always help people. She initially started in housekeeping and eventually moved up during her nursing school studies. After graduating, she began specializing in ICU, Tele and then L&D; however, the burn out from L&D led to her pursuing a travel nursing career.
Cara has experienced her fair share of challenges throughout her career. As a travel nurse, Cara typically accepts assignments that are within a four-hour drive from her home. The challenge with this requirement is the physically exhausting and long drive to and from the hospital after a long shift. However, the long drives allow her the call and catch up with family members who might be out-of-state.
Some of the challenges she faces at work vary between helping new nurses and playing a supportive role from patients to nurses to doctors. “There’s a huge opportunity to teach new nurses” who may need the extra guidance or who may be unfamiliar with certain procedures. There’s an opportunity to teach in every situation and Cara has taken the initiative to help her fellow nurses whenever they may need it.
Every day is a learning opportunity and every day we learn something new that can refine our own skillset. For Cara, patience and keeping a neutral, non-judgmental mindset are some of the skills she picked up and refined through her career. “There are specialties that get different situations,” Cara said, “a lot of it is being understanding and being there for them. You don’t know their story.”
With nursing, it’s not just the skillsets that improve but the mindset and outlook on life. Nursing and travel nursing have allowed Cara to become more compassionate and understanding of people and their situations. She is a firm believer everything isn’t the patient’s fault and “something happened to them and this is the result of that experience – to coop or not to coop.” With that, situations don’t phase her at work anymore, which is the result of the sympathetic and compassion she has for her patients.
However, her sympathy and compassion aren’t solely rooted in her nursing career. At home, Cara is an avid gardener with an army of fur babies – four horses, three cats, eight dogs, and 18 chickens. Gardening and tending to her fur family provides a moment of relaxation and a chance to practice self-care, which is equally important as sleep for nurses. Practicing horticulture therapy improves moods and provides many benefits Cara practices in her daily life on the ranch.
With her fur family in mind, Cara hopes to relocate to Oregon soon where the property is not only cheaper but larger than what California can provide. Somewhere in the mix of moving and working Cara wishes to travel to the East Coast for an assignment in the future with her eyes on Maine, Rhode Island or New York!
Advice for new Travelers:
- Check into the facility before you start, ask Q’s. Traveler – friendly? Ask!
- Make sure you are aware of your role – make sure you are qualified
- Your first assignment, go with a friend or someone in the area.
Cara, from all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we want to thank you for your continued support, dedication and outstanding work. We are thankful and grateful to have you part of our KPG Family. Keep up the fantastic work and give your eight dogs a good head scratch for us!