Surgical Technology Graduate Furthers her Education and Attends Carrington College’s Registered Nursing Program
When Kayleigh Peterson was 19, a four-year college program simply wasn’t what she wanted. She looked to her mom, a Surgical Technologist, and was inspired to choose a career caring for people in the medical field, too.
Kayleigh completed the Surgical Technology certificate program at Carrington College in Citrus Heights in 2015. Soon after, she began her job as a scrub tech at Northern California Advanced Surgery Center in Sacramento, CA, where she worked for two years. While there, her passion for nursing grew, and she decided to apply for the the Registered Nursing (RN) program at Carrington College in Reno—bringing with her the skills and experience she had as a Surgical Tech.
Kayleigh graduated with her RN degree in 2019 and quickly found a position as a Telemetry Nurse at Renown Regional Hospital in Reno, Nevada—the same hospital where she had done her clinical externship.
“At Renown, they treat trauma, they treat everything—so I had the opportunity to care for many different patients—and encounter many different medical issues,” she says. “I feel like every nurse isn’t fully prepared until they are on the job. I learned the basics of the job at Carrington, but clinical is where you really learn hands-on. The amount of clinical I got from Carrington did the most for me. You have four to six clinicals and caring for patients. In the end that helped with me getting hired to the floor I had been doing clinicals on, because I already knew their flow.”
In April of 2020, Kayleigh began a new position as a float nurse at Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, Idaho—a location that had appealed to her for many years. She’s excited about her job there—and about soon becoming a mother. After the initial fatigue of early pregnancy, she’s now feeling good and has energy throughout her shift.
“I work in a float pool,” she explains. “It’s mainly medical oncology (cancer), but we get a lot of different things. Many other units are shut down due to COVID, so we get GI bleeds, we get people who fell and hurt their back—along with cancer patients.”
Kayleigh covers for nurses on different floors if they are short that day.
“Once I’m done with training, I can go to other floors (excluding ICU and ER, which are more specialized),” she says. “Right now, I have night shift. I really like nights—I have three consecutive days of twelve-hour shifts, and then four days off.”
Although they don’t treat COVID patients on her floor, they still have rigorous health screening at every shift before she is cleared to work, masks, and lots of hand washing.
What’s the thing Kayleigh likes most about nursing? Meeting people.
“I love meeting different people and hearing life stories, we get to hear about so many different aspects of life. It’s so rewarding to talk to older people; we get the chance to get to know them quite a bit,” she says. “People are so appreciative of us, too…and when they bring us free food,” she adds, “that’s great, too!”
Her work is different every night—because her patients and their conditions are, too.
“Because I work three nights in a row right now,” she explains, “I might have the same patients each night, or I might have one stable patient Monday but be sending them to the ICU by Tuesday. It just varies.”
What has been the most challenging aspect of Kayleigh’s work?
“At one point, everything was challenging,” she says. “But at this point it’s adapting to the different things we see. And really, you see everything. The most challenging thing right now is handling codes and rapid responses (responses to patients who are declining quickly) and we try to solve the problem before they code.”
Along with so many other new things in her life—a new degree, career, job, home, and new motherhood just around the corner, Kayleigh is continuing to build her career. She is studying for her bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Chamberlin University, where she will graduate in February of 2021—afterward, she plans to pursue her Master’s degree as a Nurse Practitioner.
We thank Kayleigh for all she does for her patients and wish her all the best.
Learn More About Surgical Technology
This career guide will teach you how to become a surgical technologist, what surgical technologist pay looks like, job outlook, surgical technologist certifications that may be useful and how to look for a surgical technologist school.