true stories - Kate Taylor

Kate Taylor '22

I come from a family of a lot of nurses and they roped me in. My senior year in high school, my mom signed me up to take a certified nursing assistant class. It was fun and not like any other class I’d been in. I really liked it.

I had no idea about St. Kate’s until my senior year. I liked that they guaranteed me a place in the nursing program if I met requirements A, B and C. I didn’t want to put all my eggs in a basket and then have a program deny me if they didn’t like, say, my interview. St. Kate’s said we will take you and teach you and through our program you’ll go into the workforce and wow your patients.

I had no idea how holistic the nursing program was going to be. St. Kate’s has helped me see people for themselves entirely and not just why they’re in the hospital. You’re caring about people more than their illness. Say someone has a head injury but they also wear a hijab. It’s asking how do we support them as a person, not just as a head injury?

St. Kate's student photo with pop art filter

I wanted as much experience in a hospital as possible. Between my junior and senior year, I was able to take an internship. The staff helped me prepare. I didn’t have a resume or cover letter, so I got help from Career Services to bolster those and became a better applicant. This past semester, I was in a unit with an end-of-life-care patient. She was non-verbal but could shake her head. The nurse and I went to see her first thing in the morning. This patient was just sobbing. She was about 50 and was going to die very soon. We were in full PPE, so gowns, masks, everything. The nurse asked her if she’d like to get spiritual care. She nodded yes. Then the nurse asked, ‘Do you need someone to pray for you?’ The patient nodded yes. So the nurse stopped what she was doing and gave a prayer over this patient with just the three of us in the room. My eyes were closed and all I could hear is crying and the prayer. We leave and I tell the nurse how touching the prayer was. She says, “Thanks, I’m just trying to do what I can.” At the nurse’s station, we can still hear this patient cry. The nurse said, “I’m so busy, maybe we can get the nursing aid in there.” That’s when I suggested I go in. I sat with her for over and hour. She couldn’t feed herself, so I fed her breakfast. Being a student and having the time available to have those experiences with a patient is so meaningful. It’s very sad in the moment.

But, as a student, I think about how I can take this situation into my own practice. Would I be prepared to go into a room and pray for a patient? How would I respond? That’s the holistic part of nursing. This is a person, not an illness. A person who’s close to dying. How can we best help her in this moment?

 

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