After raising himself and going through medical treatments early on in life, our January 2016 Nurse of the Month, Kortrez King, tells us his story on why he chose to become a nurse.

january NOM

My name is Kortrez King. I am an African American male nursing student who was born and raised in Detroit Michigan. I grew up in harsh conditions which gave birth to my ambitions to make other lives better and which made my life a lot better.  I had no parents growing up and supported myself upward through working odd jobs before landing a spot as a patient care tech in the local hospital. I have a deep passion to care for others which led me to the path to become a nurse.  I hope to give my all while advocating for patients and allowing them to reach their healthcare goals. While giving other black males a second look at life and giving them a new outlook on what can be done. Complications in my birth led me to being put on ECMO for months after my birth. My end goal is to one day get certified in the use of ECMO and provide care for those patients on ECMO and make a difference in others lives as well.  On my journey I hope to help others and provide ideal care daily to ensure professional and positive healthcare. My mission can be summed up into seeing a better world built through the hard work. 

 Name: (and age)

Kortrez King and I’m 23 years old.

Years working as a nurse:

I’m currently a nursing student graduating December 2015, but I’ve worked as a patient care technician for 4 years now.

Current Position:

I work as a float pool patient care technician, which gave me amazing experience in a lot of areas.

What brought you into the nursing profession?

I started working at my local hospital in hopes of finding a job to support me while in school. At the time my major was biochemistry. I wanted to help people as a biologist. After witnessing nurses daily making a difference and changing lives I grew this great amount of respect for the profession. There was a particular nurse in the SICU who was comforting not just the patient, but the entire family. Every body system was being accounted for under high stress and yet he was still so empathic. So many nurses were just so empathic and knowledgeable. I hoped to one day be that nurse helping people the same way and do the same for families.

Where did you get your nursing degree?

Eastern Michigan University.

First RN/LPN position (and how you got it… we’ve all been there!):

I hope to start in the MICU step down at the hospital I work as a tech at. I currently have a contract scholarship through that hospital in which I must commit to working there after I graduate.

Random fact /hobby:

  1. I’m an avid comic book fan and love books on philosophy, mystery, and old literature. Besides a ton of nursing books my library is full of classic editions of Spider-man to Superman/Batman and all in between. Mint condition issues that I only touched with gloves. As well as books from Sun tzu, Edgar Allan Poe, etc.
  2. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and can’t wait for the new series of films to be released.

 Biggest career challenge and how you’ve overcome it (or how you are currently working to overcome!):

The biggest challenge I faced was being an emotionally sensitive leader and it made me have poor delegation skills. I always worried I would overwhelm someone with a task and felt it best to do it my self. Over time I realized it’s all a team effort and learned to smoothly implement those skills.

Any projects on your desk right now?

Besides the pile of papers for classes, I’ve been looking into affordable grad school options. I’m looking into family nurse practioner programs.

Do you have a blog or website you would like us to feature?

This is my campus’s student nurse’s association page. I served as the president for the 2014-2015 school year and stepped down this past September. Please check out what these guys are up to:  https://www.facebook.com/Student-Nurses-Association-at-EMU-253454594708084/

What item is most useful to you as a nurse? (What piece of equipment or clothing could you NOT do your job without?)

My stethoscope hands down. Mine is always attached at the hip on a special made clip holder. Beyond it’s use for assessments, I clutch it whenever I’m nervous and remember first receiving it and my letter of acceptance into nursing school. That feeling makes me feel heroic and I stand more firmly. I can then focus a lot more clearly and competently.

 Do you have a fondest memory or favorite nursing experience?

The fondest memory I had was when I had a confused older patient on the oncology floor. I was floated up there for the last four hours of my shift. She had trouble with the male staff at the hospital, so I was asked not to get her vitals at the standard time. She was getting combative with staff and it was to the point where restraints were going to be used. She reminded me so much of my fiancée’s grandmother and I didn’t want to see her in restraints. I asked the charge if I could have some time with her and try something more therapeutic. I made eye contact, offered my hand to her, and asked her a couple questions. Before I knew it she was back in her bed and I was rubbing her back while singing Paul Simon’s 50 ways to leave your lover. She was out in minutes and stayed sleep for the remainder of my shift. At that moment I knew nursing was my calling and I had my first on the job crying moment. The best part was no restraints were needed.

What piece of advice would you give to a person considering becoming a nurse, a student nurse or a seasoned nurse that has helped you a long the way.

My biggest advice that I can give and wished someone sat me down and told me is not to compare yourself to everyone else. We all have different lives, homes, and backgrounds. It’s not fair to yourself to do that. Give it time and patience and you’ll be where you need. Never stop believing in yourself and know that we all have tough days, happy days, and silly days. Enjoy the experience of the moment. 

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