Christy Adams, R.N. M.P.H. PhD – November 15th, 2019
Who is Dr. Adams?
Dr. Adams is a registered nurse who also has a master’s in public health and a PhD in Nurse and Science and Healthcare Leadership. Dr. Adams is currently working in injury treatment development. Dr. Adams stopped doing clinical work in 2007, but still works at a trauma center and is specifically there to help injured patients. For a time, she also worked as a flight nurse.
Dr. Adams’ Story
As a child, Dr. Adams, wanted to be a marine biologist, but discovered that she would like to pursue nursing when she was in high school. As a high school student in Washington, Dr. Adams volunteered as a candy striper and believes that this position helped her learn what a hospital setting was like. After high school, Dr. Adams attended the University of Arizona-Tuscon in which she graduated in 1990.
She was initially drawn to the ICU because of its fast pace and need for critical thinking. She obtained a critical care internship in which she got to assist in the surgical ICU. During this time, she recalled seeing a flight pad outside of the ICU and concluded that she wanted to be a flight nurse. She looked up what would be required of her in this profession and talked to professionals already in the field.
While in the medical ICU, Dr. Adams obtained experience in liver failure and sepsis which gave her overall experience with how the lungs work in the body.
Eventually, Dr. Adams decided that she wanted to be a traveling nurse. In order to become a traveling nurse, a person needs to sign up with a travelling agency and get sent to a hospital in need of a flight nurse. Prior nurse experience is essentially required. As a traveling nurse, she, at times, gets stuck with the crummy jobs, because of her brief time at the hospitals she helps with. She has one job with UC Davis and decided to stay in Sacramento after that.
How many ICUs does UC Davis have and which one is the busiest?
UC Davis has a couple of ICUs. Each one is busier than the other dependent on the time of the year. For example, the trauma ICU is typically busiest in the summers while the ones more related to disease are busier in the winter.
Which ICU is the most emotionally challenging to work in?
Dr. Adams stated that the neo-natal ICU is emotionally challenging. It takes the ability to compartmentalize one’s emotion (emotionally detach from a patient to a degree) while still having enough care for the patient to not take their treatment lightly. The neo-natal ICU is also a lot more challenging in general than other ICUs. A major cause of this is that the margin of error for infant treatment is a lot lower than with adults. In addition, a nurse in the neo-natal ICU may work shifts up to 12 hours long.
How high quality is UC Davis’s trauma center? What does it take to work there?
UC Davis is a level-one trauma center and is the only in the state to have dual-certification in different types of trauma.
Being able to work at the UC Davis trauma center requires prior research experience and work experience in one position of injury prevention.
In her position, does Dr. Adams need to report to a boss of some kind?
On paper, Dr. Adams has a formal boss, but beyond sending a paper report now and again, she acts as her own boss.
What is Dr. Adam’s typical day like?
Her days always vary. She could be doing a webinar one day or meeting with a committee the next.
What advice did Dr. Adams leave to the AMSA club members?
Dr. Adams told the club members that everything they do, work, volunteer, and educational-wise, should be related to their ultimate educational plan. This is to help build up their resumes. Dr. Adams also advised the club attendees that they should be willing to build their skill set to reach their occupational goals. Getting whatever certifications possible and collecting whatever training they can get will help them become competitive in the fields of medicine they wish to pursue; it will also be beneficial to them and their patients in the future.
Dr. Adams also urged the club members to produce good relationships with the nurses; some have been working for a long time in their profession and may know more than the doctor about certain procedures. Some also work long and tough schedules (such as neo-natal ICU nurses.
If anything, Dr. Adams told the club attendees to trust their gut and be humble during their time becoming and working as medical professionals. They should “do their homework” and do whatever is necessary to reach their goals.
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