Bridget Jorgensen has had an interest in the field of medicine ever since she can remember.
It wasn’t until her second semester of college at Newman University, though, that she determined which area of the medical field she wanted to work in.
Biology and chemistry courses weren’t her favorite, but she quickly discovered that nursing seemed like the perfect fit for all her passions.
“I didn’t want to diagnose patients like a doctor, but rather I wanted to help walk patients through their process of healing after they were given a diagnosis,” Jorgensen said. “Opportunities for nurses to work are everywhere and in whatever area you choose, and I loved that variety of choices.”
After graduating from Newman in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Jorgensen started working in the medical surgery/trauma unit at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita. She worked the night shift for two years before needing a change.
She then took a role with the medical surgery unit at Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita. Six months later, Jorgensen decided to move to Kansas City, where she found a job in another medical surgery unit at The University of Kansas Hospital. A couple years later, she transferred to the hospital’s burn ICU unit, where she’s been a nurse for the last four and a half years.
“After I had worked on medical-surgical units for a few years, I had begun to notice that I was especially drawn toward taking care of patients’ wounds and incisions,” Jorgensen said. “I often joke to people that I love the ‘blood and guts’ part of nursing and taking care of patients; it’s more interesting to me than anything else in the field.”
Jorgensen also felt she had accrued enough experience and confidence in medical-surgical units to start taking care of patients who needed even more care.
“I soon discovered that the burn ICU, for me, is the perfect combination of wound care and critically ill patients,” she explained. “By working there, not only do I get to see very interesting cases and hear a wide variety of wild stories from patients, but I also get to see that so many people have more resiliency than they could imagine. The people are in severe physical and mental pain, for sometimes months at a time, but day by day, they weather that pain and various complications, until they are finally well enough to leave the hospital. It really is inspirational to see the level of grit in these patients.”
While Jorgensen has many tough days of work in the burn ICU unit, she doesn’t see herself leaving any time soon.
“I’ve finally found my niche in the nursing world,” she said.
Jorgensen’s advice to current Newman nursing students is that while starting out in the field may be overwhelming with the amount of information nurses are expected to know, it’s important to be patient with yourself.
“At some point, you will gain that confidence in your knowledge and skills, and there will always be people around you to help you, support you and give you advice when you need it,” she said. “It just takes time.”
She added, “Expressing compassion and empathy to a patient about their experience can often go as far in helping a patient to feel better as medication.”
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The Newman University nursing program educates students to be a generalist and lays the foundation for graduate school.