Healing others, saving lives

Campus nurse Emily Mikeska takes senior Cali Edmunds temperature.

Hallie Hunter

Campus nurse Emily Mikeska takes senior Cali Edmund’s temperature.

Life spent helping others with illnesses has taught nurse Mary Thomas and campus nurse Emily Mikeska valuable skills in problem solving and interaction with others.

Mary Thomas started out as a full time nurse, which was not her first career option but a backup plan.

“I was interested in medicine ever since I was younger due to a family member who was a  successful nurse,” Thomas said.

Thomas went to medical school and worked in a hospital facility for a few years. During those years she had experiences that made her love being a nurse even more.

“As a nurse seeing people going through adversity and emotional hardships makes one appreciate how blessed and fortunate you are,” Thomas said. “Many people take good health for granted my job has helped me see that I should be thankful for being healthy enough to help others.”

Thomas made the switch from working as a full time nurse at a hospital to working as a school nurse, then finally to the teacher she is today, but alongside teaching, Thomas remains a part time nurse.  

According to campus nurse Emily Mikeska, being a school nurse is similar to a pharmaceutical nurse.

“I’ve shared many impactful experiences with patients in the school,” Mikeska said. “They’ve taught me how to be compassionate and optimistic, even when everything seems to be going downhill.”

Mikeska decided to become a school nurse in order to prioritize her children. She made the switch to being a school nurse, just as Thomas did.

“The hours allowed me to spend more time with my child and also gave me a work environment with my own office,” Mikeska said.

Both Thomas and Mikeska agree that whether you are a school or pharmaceutical nurse, you will have a higher tolerance or patience level than others.

“Health problems don’t just affect one individual but the whole family,” Mikeska said. “When someone comes to a healthcare facility they are not the only ones affected by it, in serious cases, we have to console patients and their family members first, in order to get anything accomplished.”

Thomas has also observed how the sickness affects the family and not just the patient. She has helped many patients throughout her time as a full time nurse, experiencing this situation countless times.

“As a nurse you have to know that everybody is going through something and we have to understand that even if they look happy they could be sick or have someone in their family that is sick,” Thomas said.

Regardless, their job is to be focused on their patient.                                                                                       

“As a nurse you have to obtain problem solving skills,” Thomas said. “Because in the Emergency Room when you are dealing with patient who is in critical condition, everything you do affects someone’s life directly.”

While many may see nursing as a profession where you only learn one thing or do one thing, both Mikeska and Thomas have learned from these experiences and continue to apply the experiences from their job to their everyday lives.

“Nursing has been a great part of my life,” Mikeska said. “It’s a great feeling when you are able to help a person when they ask for your help.”