Betty Johnson, R.N.Tell us about your work--what do you do? I am responsible for the daily operations of a department that monitors inpatient hospitalizations at the medical center. The responsibility of the department is to work with the staff---doctors, nurses, and therapists----to provide care for the patient and to make sure that the care is provided in a timely manner and at the right place. In addition the staff is responsible for working with doctors, patients, and families in preparing the patient for discharge and the coordination of the needs of the patient upon discharge. My responsibilities are to monitor the performance of the staff providing this service and assist them in meeting the needs of their customers, which include doctors, patients, families, the medical center itself, and a host of external customers. What skills are needed? This job requires not only my clinical knowledge and skills as a nurse and good organization skills but also strong communication skills . You have to be a good " people person ". In addition, given the age we are in, I have had to greatly develop my technology skills in relation to the use of computer systems. What was your major? Nursing How did you get started in your career? I have been a registered nurse for almost 28 years. Growing up I had always wanted to be a nurse, probably because I got great pleasure from "taking care of others". My clinical nursing background is in emergency medicine , which I chose because I enjoyed the fast pace, the need to be highly organized, and the opportunity it presented to very involved in the decision making processes relating to the plan of care for the patients. The great part about a career in nursing is the diversity that it offers---you can work in a acute care setting, in a home care setting, in a rural community setting, in a physicians office , and within these physical settings have a wide variety of responsibilities. What experience do you need in this job? For my particular job, clinical and managerial experience was needed. In looking at what experience is needed for a nursing job, nursing is one of those careers where much training in done on the first job. Obviously you need to have the required education and licensure, but for entry level nursing positions many hospitals hire new graduates and put them through an extensive "new grad" orientation program. To do the more specialized work, home care example, it would most likely be required that the applicant have acute care background. Describe your "typical" workday: My days begins very "administratively" by making sure staff is present, and all areas requiring service are covered. While I have many meetings to attend that focus on the monitoring and improving services to our customers, much of my day is spent assisting the staff in problem solving, and "putting out fires"--- since our average daily census is 750 patients there are always opportunities to be involved in these activities. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Meeting everyone's needs both for my staff and all of our other customers. While I like to say "yes" to everyone it looking at the services we need to deliver I cannot always give my staff what they want, and given external pressures I cannot always make all of our patients and families happy with some of the requests that they have. I call this my "Mother Theresa" complex in that I think I have to take care of everyone and meet all his or her needs! Just can't be done! Whas is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Meeting people's needs! There is nothing better than working with a team and being able to provide what a patient needs, and having them be pleased with the services that you are providing. Also the health care environment today is changing rapidly, and this is a challenge in itself. I find change and the challenges that it presents to be very rewarding. What are your suggestions for someone considering this field? Do some work in a health care environment prior to making a decision. Some ideas would be working as a nurses aide, doing volunteer work in a hospital, or finding out if local hospitals offer anything to local high school students in the way of "buddying" with a professional so as to experience what the work is like.