By Matthew Cyr
Elizabeth King, RN, BS
Staff Nurse III on 8 East, a general medical floor
What do you do on a daily basis?
I function in a variety of roles, including taking care of patients
and families, teaching and training new nurses, and being the charge
I also work on special projects to assess and improve the overall
system, and serve as a mentor and resource to new staff on the unit.
My job is different from when I was a Staff Nurse I because of my
clinical expertise and accountability. I try to improve the unit
and bring new nurses to their own level of expertise.
Have you enjoyed your evolution into a mentorship role?
It’s been a gradual process. Over the years as I’ve
developed as a nurse, I grew slowly from doing strictly patient
care, to improving the unit and eventually to system-wide changes.
As my clinical expertise grew, I was able to seek out and embrace
new challenges and responsibilities both on the unit and in the
What’s the hardest thing for a new nurse to learn?
The organizational component of the job. As a nurse, you need to
be able to juggle competing demands. There might be a crying baby
in one room, a child needing pain medication in another, and a third
who needs to go to a test, and you have to decide in 30 seconds
which is the priority. Over time the clinical expertise will come,
but if you haven’t learned to organize your day, it can be
really difficult to function adequately.
How is nursing different than you thought it would
When I started 13 years ago, I thought of it as just a job. Now
it’s more than that. It’s part of my life. I’m
really glad to be in a profession where I make a difference every
day. Life is too short not to feel like you’ve made a mark
in this world.
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nursing at Children’s, contact Cindy Zilch in the Children’s
Hospital Trust at (617) 355-2416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.