Moments of Pride: Paige Lawson (B.S.’19/N)
During Nurses Week 2020 and as part of our Moments of Pride series, VCU School of Nursing is highlighting what alumni enjoy about nursing and how their education has prepared them for their career, especially in situations like the current pandemic.
Meet Paige Lawson (B.S.‘19/N), who works in the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit at VCU Health. Paige worked on the MRICU during her clinical rotations as a student and knew that this is where she wanted to work.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being a nurse?
A. My favorite part about being a nurse is advocating for my patients. I specifically enjoy taking care of intubated and sedated patients and getting to be a “voice” for them during a time that they do not have a voice.
Q. How has your VCU School of Nursing education prepared you for your work as a nurse, particularly in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic?
A. My experiences as a VCU nursing student have been pivotal in my transition to a critical care nurse. I was very fortunate to be a part of the Leadership Fellows program in nursing school and received a very broad education on how any nurse can be a leader from a bedside nurse all the way up to the chief nursing officer. I feel I am applying what I learned to foster my leadership skills on the unit. I was also able to have my last clinical in nursing school on the MRICU and this helped me realize I wanted to work there as a nurse and made the transition from student nurse much smoother.
Q. Can you share any words of encouragement or advice to current and future nurses?
A. To any nursing student, my biggest piece of advice is to trust the process. I remember my first clinical experience wanting to know EVERYTHING. I soon realized that was unrealistic, and really no nurse should know everything. VCU’s program is set up to prepare you to be a nurse, and once you begin working, you will pick up knowledge every shift you work. The coolest thing about nursing is you will learn something new everyday! I say everyday how truly grateful I am to be a nurse, and I am especially grateful that I got my start at VCU.
I recently had a very personal experience with the corona virus when my own family was affected by it. It has completely changed my perspective as a nurse, as I was having to explain to people I love what things like intubation is or sedation; things I explain frequently in my job as a nurse but never have I done so with someone I love. It has given me perspective to really understand what patients and their family members are going through while in the ICU. It has shown me that during this pandemic things can feel dehumanizing with all the protective equipment nurses must wear or the recommendation for limiting time in the room, but it has mostly shown me that the kindness that nurses can bring their patients (like how my own family was taken care of) is most valuable of all. The kindness of the nurses extends beyond the patient to the loved ones at home anxiously waiting for good news.