Tri-C Nursing Alum Snags Dream Job at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
September 16, 2015
As a child, Christine Watson often accompanied her father to work at University Hospitals, including Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Watching him work in nuclear medicine and X-ray with seriously ill and injured adults and children, she soon realized that she wanted to pursue a career in health care.
She achieved that goal in February 2015, scoring her dream job in the PICU at Rainbow, after graduating from Tri-C’s nursing program. It was the only job she applied for.
“It was a dream for me to get that opportunity right out of school,” she says. “Now that I’m in the field, the things I learned are really starting to come alive, and I’m very thankful that Tri-C prepared me for that.”
As a student at Tri-C’s Western Campus, Watson completed her clinical nursing courses at the Westshore Campus. While the program was difficult, it also stressed important real-world skills such as time management, self-discipline and critical thinking, giving students valuable hands-on experience in nursing.
“It seems like there is more research at four-year colleges,” Watson says. “Every level of the Tri-C nursing program prepares you for the next one.”
Watson relied on other students and inspiring instructors as sources of motivation throughout the program.
“There will be times when you don’t think you will get through it,” Watson says. “You have to surround yourself with people who are going to support you and guide you.”
Watson’s scholarship from Tri-C alleviated some of the burden of her student loans so she could focus on school, working part-time in the Adult Medical ICU while she earned her associate degree. Watson credits staying organized and gaining hands-on experience in her field for helping her achieve her long-time career goals.
“In nursing school I had five different calendars and lots of sticky notes,” she says. “But getting the ICU experience also helped me get my foot in the door. It's a lot of extra work, but it will set you up for a lot of benefits.”
Today, Watson works at the largest PICU in Northeast Ohio. With 14 weeks of orientation under her belt, she has realized her childhood dream of being a nurse and working with children at Rainbow.
Her new position is a constant learning experience, and it's one that she looks forward to daily.
“Every shift I go into, I learn something new,” Watson says. “With every patient, it’s something new and different.”
Watson hasn’t stopped dreaming about the future. She is currently enrolled in a BSN program at the University of Akron, expecting to graduate in 2016, and has plans to earn her Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification. Her ultimate goal, with experience under her belt, is to return to Tri-C as a nursing instructor.
“After I graduate, my plan is to teach at Tri-C or another nursing program,” she says. “I’d love to work in the lab as an instructor and teach hands-on lab or clinical courses to student nurses.”
What does the path to success look like? Watson says that her best advice for nursing grads won't be a surprise to others in the health care field.
“Make sure you get enough sleep,” she says. “That's the big one.”