Tricia Carlton (MN APH-Ed ’13, RN-BSN ’08), MN, RN
Clinical Instructor at WSU College of Nursing
What was the best piece of advice you received during college that helped you graduate/go on to become a nurse?
Take one day at a time and to always remember that the person you are taking care of is not a ‘skill’ or a room number…they are someone’s mother, grandfather, parent, child, etc… That’s how I nurse and that’s how I teach.
Why did you choose nursing as a profession?
I chose nursing because I really love helping people. There’s something about being there for people at their most vulnerable and making a change in their day or life that brings out an inner happiness in me. I also really love the relationship and the rapport that I am able to feel with my patients that not a lot of people have the privilege of experiencing. I am still a practicing nurse, however, now I also get to apply those skills in a different manner towards my students. I believe if you have a good rapport with your student, it brings out a much greater learning environment and rewarding experience for both instructor and student.
Who or what inspired you to become a nurse?
My second daughter was very premature and was in the hospital for 3 ½ months. It really touched me watching the nurses with the babies and saw what a difference it made not only for the babies, but to the families.
Tell us a little bit about your career, what you are doing, and where you work.
I work as a full time Clinical Instructor teaching J1 and J2 nursing students for Washington State University. I also work at Sacred Heart Medical Center on a supplemental basis in the cardiac ACU. I’ve been teaching the J2 clinicals for 3 semesters now –at Sacred Heart. However, this past semester was my first semester teaching the J1 clinicals. Each group has their own unique satisfactions for me. The J1 students are so new and so eager to learn and I love when the light bulbs go off – I see it in their faces and read it in the journals. That is very satisfying for me. Then there’s my J2 students…they still have that eagerness to learn and be in the hospital setting. I get to teach at a different level and help them with a different skill set. Still doing floor nursing really helps me keep up my skills and be current with my teachings.
What do you love about WSU College of Nursing?
I had really great instructors and support from wonderful women!
How did WSU prepare you for your career?
Well, since I work at WSU – it was an easy transition from student to faculty- so I would say it prepared me perfectly.
Who has been an important mentor in your career, and why do they deserve recognition?
I knew obtaining my Master’s Degree was my goal and honestly the 2 women that really were pivotal in encouraging and supporting my pursuit of it were Mary Stucky and Linda Rohn. They have both taught me so much over the years and have been there, literally, from the beginning.
What has been challenging about your nursing career?
Truthfully, I think it is just managing all the hats: mom hat, nurse hat, student hat (when I was one), friend hat, family hat, etc.; But I think I’m doing a pretty darn good job! 🙂
What advice would you give to new nursing students just starting at the college?
Organization!!! And taking care of themselves during school. That’s what I tell my students as well.