Katie Cook MSN RN CPNP is a Clinical Nurse Specialist on 8E cardiology. We interviewed Katie about her growth and experiences at Children's.
You started in inpatient cardiology (8 East) as a new graduate 7 years ago. What was your experience as a novice on a critical care unit? How did that shape your career? What is the new grad program like today?
I actually had my first experience on 8 East while still a student for one of my clinical rotations and I remember being so worried because I hated cardiology in school. I struggled to understand how everything flowed. My friend Annalise who was an undergrad nursing student with me and who works on the 10th floor here would always draw the heart out on the board and we would talk about it. We still laugh today that I am still in cardiology and that now I love it. I remember being extremely nervous and wanting to check every little thing by my preceptor, you don’t want to make a mistake with someone’s heart after all.
I remember being terrified once I completed orientation and was beginning my role on the floor, but there were plenty of nurses and resources that I could go to with questions that made me feel more comfortable and with time I gained confidence in my skills. The challenge of being a novice on a critical care unit certainly shaped the nurse that I am today. It taught me the importance of teamwork, organization and the sharing of knowledge that eventually led me to my current role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist where I can share what I have learned with the new staff. I must say I am very jealous of the new graduate program that Boston Children's Hospital now offers. I think I had 5 or 6 weeks of orientation, not the 18 weeks they get now! This extra training should help to ease the transition of our new grads into the flow of the hospital, but they should always remember to reach out to their coworkers and realize that feeling overwhelmed in the early days is completely normal.
Children?s Hospital Boston is an amazing place to work and I have always been proud to say that I work here. My co-workers are a fantastic group of people who make differences in people?s lives on a daily basis.
You advanced from new grad on 8 East to clinical resource RN to Clinical Nurse Specialist in only 7 years. Can you speak about your career advancement experience and the support network on CHB for advancement?
I have felt completely supported throughout my advancement process at Children’s from co-workers as well as my family. My nurse manager suggested I apply to become a level II nurse after I had worked on the unit for about 2 years. I was not sure at the time I was ready for this, however it meant a lot to know she supported me. After transitioning to my new role I was grateful for the prodding which reminded me to continually work towards new challenges and advancement. When the CNS position opened up on the unit I was in school for my masters. One of the educators on the unit approached me and felt I would be a great candidate for the position. I applied and ended up getting the job while I finished my masters. Going to school and working full time was a challenge, however my manager allowed me to have a somewhat flexible schedule so I could make it work. It is nice that she values education and works with her staff to make it possible. I greatly appreciate that my coworkers continually push one another to challenge themselves and take on more responsibility. I feel that a big part of my success is a result of this support and encouragement.
Why have you chosen to stay at CHB?
Children’s Hospital Boston is an amazing place to work and I have always been proud to say that I work here. My co-workers are a fantastic group of people who make differences in people’s lives on a daily basis. Peer support is huge on 8 East, and I have developed some strong relationships. The patients are also fabulous. I am constantly touched by the resilient children we care for in cardiology. These kids are incredible people and some of the strongest I know.
What makes you excited to come to work?
The challenge. Everyday brings something different. Some days I spend a great deal of time at the bedside helping nurses or working with a complex patient. Other days, I work on research, policies, conferences, education, mentoring, in-services, and currently wound care certification. No day is the same for me and that’s the way I like it.
What are you most proud of in your career at CHB?
I am proud to say that I always push myself. I constantly have multiple things that I am working on or trying to improve. I think the thing I’m most proud of though is to be able to say that I work in cardiology at Children’s Hospital Boston. I care for very special children and it is a great feeling to make a difference in someone’s life.