For this week's My Job Story, I spoke with Laura Scarborough, a Registered Nurse in a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Laura has been a NICU RN for more than 25 years and at Doctor's Medical Center for over 8 years.
High Demand, Low Supply: How do you describe your job?
Laura Scarborough: I care for the tiniest and the sickest of newborns. That pretty much covers it in a nutshell.
HDLS: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Laura: I consider it a privilege to care for some of the strongest tiny humans and their parents. Sometimes I meet these families on the worst day of their lives but I also get to work alongside them as their babies grow and become healthy and strong enough to go home. Through the years I have continued to remain close to some of my favorite patients and their families.
HDLS: What was your first job?
Laura: My very first job was a summer job as a janitor at a local school. I was 13.
HDLS: How did you become a NICU nurse?
Laura: I did not continue my education directly after graduating from high school for so many reasons. I started college as a nursing major when I was 25 and the mother of an 8 month old baby girl. I won't lie, it was hard balancing school, work and parenting. I was fortunate enough to have friends and family to help work on that balance. Many times I would read to my little girl my physiology, microbiology and nursing texts as bedtime stories just to get her to bed and to get in my studies. I graduated in 1990 and was offered a position in the NICU at the hospital where I worked as a nurse's aid. Like many new grad nurses I spent probably the first 2 years really feeling like I was never going to know what I was doing. Thankfully, I was in a unit surrounded by professionals willing to help me gain confidence in the fact that yes, I knew what I was doing and I was very good at what I was doing caring for my patients and their families. In time I had the confidence, skills and knowledge to assume more responsibilities besides direct patient care. I enjoyed the challenge but after time I have come back to a place where I want to be at the bedside with my tiny humans, their families and the opportunity to nurture, train and encourage the next generation of nurses.
HDLS: What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Laura: Always, always take your breaks no matter how busy your patient assignment is.
HDLS: What career advice would you give your younger self?
Laura: Never be afraid to say "I don't know."
As a young child she always wanted to be a nurse. She took some time to "find herself" and start her family before beginning her nursing education. She worked hard to be a great nurse and eventually discovered her passion for working with the "tiniest humans" in the neonatal intensive-care unit.
Thank you to Laura for sharing her job story. There is something so very wonderful about seeing a person excel at work for which they are passionate.
Laura and her husband Bill live in Manteca, California. They are the proud parents of five children and two grandchildren. Laura also writes the popular blog, Adventures in Juggling.