Katrina Cole grew up in Ramsey, MN and now lives in Meadowlands. She is married with three children. “My stepdaughter is 27, my son is 20 and my daughter is 16. Our granddaughter, who is 3, is courtesy of my stepdaughter who is expecting again in January.”
She graduated last spring with her AS in nursing, and is now completing her AA degree. She is works at Essentia as a registered nurse in the Cardiac Unit. She plans to transfer into a bachelors of science in nursing (BSN) program next fall at the College of St. Scholastica. Cole also earned a medical assistant diploma in 2000 and a business certificate from North Hennepin Community College in 2009 and has worked as both a nursing assistant and a medical assistant.
Cole has wanted to become a nurse since she was about 10 years old. She volunteered at a nursing home where her mom worked as a CNA and enjoyed helping the elderly. She deferred her dream of becoming a nurse while raising a family and working. “Life took me in another direction for a number of years. I knew that this was my professional calling but I had to wait to follow my dream. Now I am on my chosen path. ”
Cole is an active student and community volunteer while working and in school. She serves as the president of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honors Society, working on various community service projects. She is also a wish granter with the Make-a-Wish foundation.
What advice would she give to potential nursing students? “If nursing is your dream, then go for it. LSC’s nursing program prepared me for the job of being a nurse. The program is very hard, very rigorous. The faculty are devoted to producing the best nurses in the area. They are there to help guide you, mentor you, and make you better than you knew you could be. You have to be self-disciplined, self-starting and organized to make it work. One of my favorite quotes is ‘Don’t ask for the thing to be easier, ask for yourself to be better,’ from motivational speaker Jim Rohn. This is what I would tell people to remember when going through the nursing program.”
The most difficult aspect of the nursing program? “One of the hardest things to learn was the concept of critical thinking. It is not something that can be memorized or really be taught. It is something that can only be learned by repetition and real-life experience. The critical thinking aspect is one of the most important duties and functions of being an excellent nurse.”
Clinical work is essential to building critical thinking. “One of my most challenging and exciting learning experiences was the clinical work,” noted Cole. “I had an ICU internship in the ER at St. Luke’s. It put my book and lab knowledge into practice by working with real patients. It solidified my classroom learning and increased my confidence in my own judgment.”
The nursing profession offers a broad spectrum of career paths and specializations with a strong job market throughout the Arrowhead region and beyond. Cole notes the advantages of a nursing career. “Usually there is a shortage of nurses, so you should never have a problem finding a job. You can work in many settings, including hospitals, clinics, social work, home care, nursing homes, to name a few,” she said. “You have the opportunity to advance in your career in many different ways, if that’s what you chose to do. But beyond all of that, the reason that you should pursue nursing is if you have a calling to help people, to make a difference in their lives. Don’t do it for the money or the title. Do it because you want to care for people. Because at the end of the day, that is what nursing is all about.”