Meet our latest nurse of the week: Kim Hammond!

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Read about Kim’s various jobs as a Registered Nurse!  She has worked in the MICU, as an organ donor coordinator and even for The Joint Commission.   This just goes to show, there are so many different jobs you can do as a nurse! 

I started out as a staff nurse on a medical floor at Columbia Presbyterian and after a year or so I went to work in the MICU. I lasted here for 7 years. I learned so much as a MICU nurse we had a lot of autonomy and the respect of the doctors. I left the MICU and went to work as an organ donor coordinator. This was a difficult job, how do you approach a family who is grieving and ask for their loved ones organs? I did come to realize that most families have no decisions when their loved one is sick and by asking them to make a decision it is giving them some control. Skip forward a few years when I changed to the recipient side. I became a heart transplant coordinator and eventually the Chief coordinator at Columbia Presbyterian. This is what prompted my to go back for my Nurse Practitioner degree. After obtaining my degree I switched hospitals and went to Mount Sinai Medical Center. I worked there for 7 years and decided the commute was just to much so I started the Heart Failure Program at North Shore Hospital on Long Island. Of course during all these years I continued to volunteer for medical missions. I needed more time off to pursue this passion so recently I started working with a MD and we see patients that are home bound. This job offers great flexibility and also I get to develop close bonds with the patients and their families. Of course I still work for the Joint Commission which satisfies my travel bug.

Name: (and age):  Kimmarie Hammond; 52 years young

 Years working as a nurse:  Graduated as an RN in 1985 and an NP  in 2002

 Current Position:  I work with a geriatrics MD in a private practice seeing home-bound patients.  I also work for the Joint Commission doing disease specific reviews for Left Ventricular Assist Device and Heart Failure reviews. I also work per diem at North Shore University Hospital performing nuclear stress tests

 What brought you into the nursing profession?:  I have wanted to be a nurse since grade school when I used to watch a TV show called Julia. I have never deviated from that desire

 Where did you get your nursing degree?: I graduated from Mount Saint Mary College in 1985 with a BSN and Adelphi University with an MSN  in 2002

First RN/LPN position (and how you got it… we’ve all been there!): I had an extern summer position at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center the summer before Senior year. Once I graduated I just went back to work there but now I was an RN. There was no interview just one day the supervisor came up to me and said ” SO do you want to work day shift or evenings and what day can you start”. I realize now how lucky I was to have a job right out of school and on days!

 Random fact /hobby:  I am not sure I would describe it as a hobby but… I have been going on medical missions to Haiti for the past 6 years and before that I went to Ecuador to help build a school and teach preschoolers English.  In Haiti I work in a variety of settings from a semi modern hospital where we have a echo machine and an ICU to seeing over a 100 patients in a day under a tarp sharing the space with the livestock. Its hard to hear heart sounds with a goat bleating.  I love this type of work and feel most rewarded every time I go.  I definitely get back more than I give.

My other passion is travel for pleasure.  I have been to India, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Africa and lots of places in between.

 Biggest career challenge and how you’ve overcome it (or how you are currently working to overcome!):  Transitioning away from the bedside to outpatient care. Although I have come to love outpatient care it is difficult to learn where and when to draw the line with your patients and their family.  Do you give them your cell number? Do you check on them over a weekend?  Working at the bedside the rules are set. You work your shift and turn the patients over to the next shift.  When you are an outpatient provider you are the next shift.  I struggle with this everyday and still have not quite learned how to set boundaries. But saying this I am not sure I want to 🙂

Any projects on your desk right now?:  I am currently planning several trips to Haiti. One is to teach nurses basic cardiology and nursing assessment.  We are also teaching infection control and proper hand washing.

The other trip is an annual trip to a hospital based clinic where myself  and an MD see heart failure patients. Peripartum cardiomyopathy and congenital heart defects are very prevalent in third world countries.

Pleasure trip to the Galapagos Islands in Jan

What item is most useful to you as a nurse? (What piece of equipment or clothing could you NOT do your job without?): I carry an old knapsack that holds my stethoscope, otoscope and pulse oximeter. I use this bag everyday whether I am seeing patients in Queens or in Haiti. It has lots of other stuff too like scissors, gauze, tape etc…

 Do you have a fondest memory or favorite nursing experience?: I have had the privilege to tell patients that after waiting for over a year for a new heart tonight they will get their wish. Telling their family that this is the call they have been praying for gives me ultimate joy. I have witnessed patients literally being hours away from death receiving the gift of life and waking up in ICU alive and with a strong beating heart. I truly feel blessed to have been able to share in this miracle.

 What one piece of advice would you pass on to a new nurse? (first year working): Be open to new experiences. Try be a traveling nurse. Not only will you learn from all the people you meet but you will experience all differents types of care.  Be a friend to your colleagues and work hard at being a team player.  Also work at least a year before going back to school for your NP.  It will be much easier if you have a focus and idea of what it is like to be a staff RN.