I sat down with Lindsay P. to discuss how she followed her career path from New Jersey to Texas and how making this leap has helped her to make strides in her career.
What was it like to move incredibly far away from everyone and everything you’ve known for a job of your dreams or for your job goals? It was really scary, I was really unsure if I was doing the right thing, but it ended up turning out well.
What made you take the leap of faith to move from New Jersey to Texas? I think it was the fact that I wasn’t doing it alone and I always knew if I didn’t like it I always had a place to go back to.
Have you always wanted to be a nurse? No, I went to my first semester going into college I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to do elementary education. But I had an education class and I just remember looking at the teacher and being like “I can’t do this, I don’t speak in front of groups of people”. I didn’t like it and my one friend was going to be a nurse and I remember hearing about it and thinking that seemed interesting. I like science, I had an anatomy class and enjoyed it and I thought let me try it.
How do you like nursing now? I love it, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life, because it kind of combines everything that I wanted to do in one. I like caring about people, helping people, and the teaching aspect. I like teaching people and I do that every day at work, teaching people all about what is going on and what to do at home. And there are so many options, if I get bored of one thing I can move to a different area.
What area are you in currently? Postpartum, so after delivery they come to me and I take care of the new mothers and teach them different things on handling their new babies.
Do you want to stay in this area or move on to something new in the future? I definitely want to move to a different area. I like it now and I never thought I would when I first started. But I actually really enjoy it, but my goal now is to move to working with the babies and eventually go to the NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) and work with the newborns that are really sick. Even in nursing school I thought of that. It was either that or the emergency room, and I don’t think I can cut it in the emergency room…maybe if I get more experience nursing, but I love the little babies.
What steps did you have to take to get to where you are professionally? Going to school I went to county college and failed out of the program by 1 point. So I started all over at another school and ended up being valedictorian in that class. I think that is my biggest accomplishment going from failing out to being #1. I was super excited!
What caused the complete turnaround? I realized my study habits, from high school, which was nothing, wasn’t going to cut it in college. I had to just give up a life for 2 years and focus because if this is what I really wanted, losing those 2 years wasn’t going to matter. I remember missing big events like 21st birthdays and little things like watching the Super Bowl where Beyonce blew the power. I was studying for a test, I missed the whole thing. I just realized I had to just do whatever it took and study my ass off to get what I really wanted. It also made me realize I really did want to become a nurse.
After completing school what steps did you have to take to get a job in the medical industry? I had to take the test to get my boards, once I passed that and got my license I could actually apply and that’s where I ran into trouble. I applied anywhere and everywhere, online and in person; anything to get my foot in the door to get some experience. I had no places hiring me. It took me 4 months to get my first interview which was a home healthcare place. I had one interview in NJ at a hospital ever and I didn’t get it. Even knowing people who were nurses couldn’t get me in because no one was hiring. I ended up doing home healthcare for a while which was a hate/love relationship. On twitter I was following nursing accounts and I saw people getting jobs right out of school in the ICU and hospitals in all these other states and I thought maybe it’s just where I am that has job shortages.
So social media helped prompt the idea to look out of state? Absolutely. These people would post things like “I passed my boards and I start my job next week!!” and here I was 6 months out and nothing. These people were out in Wisconsin and Alabama and elsewhere, I thought maybe I just need a change of scenery to find a job. I needed to do something else because what I was doing wasn’t working.
So you moved… We moved here to Texas and I started searching hospitals around where we were and going on their websites and applying. The first one to call me back was the hospital I am now. I actually had an interview the Monday after that for another job, but they offered me the job for this one almost on the spot, so I accepted it. I needed a job and I was just so nervous I wouldn’t find anything else, so I took it. But it ended up being really good. I started on the med surg floor, basically if you’re admitted to the ER they would be sent to me and I would start all the admissions and draw blood and give medications until you got a room. And then they closed that area down and they transferred me to postpartum. I ended up liking it. It’s not too crazy. There’s days where I don’t sit down for most of the day or don’t get a lunch but it’s nothing I can’t handle.
Are you happy with the career choice thus far, has it been rewarding? Definitely, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Even with those stressful days, it’ll be something little like a patient being grateful for me helping them that makes it worth it; as cheesy as it sounds.
What is the hardest part of nursing? The hardest part is trying to please everyone. It’s a hard time in people’s lives, no one wants to be in the hospital. Granted, it’s for a happy experience, but for the most part no one wants to be there and they’re just after surgery. So it’s trying to just not take it personally if they’re angry or yelling at you. And sometimes you just won’t get along with people; the personalities just don’t match and they don’t want you around. That’s the hardest, but you just have to realize that’s just what happens.
Was it hard to shake up your life to pursue your career? That was probably the hardest thing because I’m so close with my family. I would have dinner with my mom at least once a week and we’d watch Jeopardy. So that was the hardest thing; moving away and hearing my whole family gets together and not be able to be there. It sucks but I know it’ll be worth it. Even if it’s just to get the experience and then go back home or not, I don’t’ know what’s going to happen. But being in a place where you have no friends, it’s hard.
Have you made new friends? It’s hard making friends as an adult. When you’re younger you’re forced to be friends because you’re all in school together, but as an adult it’s hard, for me at least, to make a friend. I’m not a very open person. I’m nice and I’ll listen but I’m not open. So I think people write me off as closed off, but I’m just shy!
Do you regret moving halfway across the U.S.? I’m happy. It gave me a job that I enjoy and what I came out here to do is what’s happening. So it was definitely worth it. I enjoy being out here and getting the experience that I need and just breaking out of my comfort zone, which I think is important. I would do it again.
What does the future hold for Lindsay Pavlosky? I have no idea. I know I want to be here in Texas for a little bit, at least until I finish my bachelors. And continue to get experience from work and try to get into the NICU. And then either staying here or moving, I don’t know. Now that I’ve gotten over that hump of knowing I can survive moving and being away from family and friends, it’s not necessarily here or home it could be somewhere else in the U.S.
What advice do you have for anyone pursuing a career in Nursing? Stick through it. It’s going to be hard and it’s a lot of work. Nursing school is rough. You’re going to cry. It’s going to happen, and that’s okay. But in the end, if it’s your passion, all the hard work is worth it.
Get to know more about Lindsay-
Follow her on Twitter: @LindsayPav
Favorite show: Gilmore Girls, I know way too much about that show!
Female Role Model: I love Angelina Jolie; I think she’s such a good person. She does a lot of good in the world. She travels to different countries and helps people. Honestly, I would love to do that. I want to go to different countries on medical mission trips but I’m afraid to do it by myself, so I need to find someone to go with me!
Something on your bucket list: Visit all 50 states and I’ve gotten a lot of them. I have a list on my computer because I’m a nerd. I’ve still got at least 15 more to do. Alaska is going to be the hardest one. I love to travel and I’d love to see other countries, but a goal is to at least be to every state in my country.
Weird obsession: YouTube channel called Dr. Pimple Popper. I’m obsessed with it. Favorite Pod casts: Gilmore Guys, The West Wing Weekly, and How Did This Get Made First high school job: My first job was ShopRite and I worked there for a few months and then I had to do field hockey and could only work 1 day a week so they basically fired me, but in a nice way. But that led me to the movie theater. I spent 10 years of my life working there and met many of my friends there. So I would do that one again, but probably not ShopRite.