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Focusing on the Human Side: A. Wilder

For Ms. Wilder, the secret to providing great care for her patients is the same secret that’s led her to excel as a clinician using Nursa to broaden her professional connections: Focus on the human connection.

Why Choose a Career in Healthcare

Everyone has a natural skillset or talent, Ms. Wilder said, and hers is connecting with people and making a difference in their lives.

“I love talking to people,” she said. “I love being able to make a difference in people’s lives, whether we’re just passing by or it’s someone who I would see periodically. I love to be able to make an impact…. Just being able to have something to take away and be inspired in a way.”

She discovered the importance of medical care early. When Ms. Wilder was in high school, her grandmother started having health problems. 

“I was like: ‘You know what, I want to be able to take care of my family,’” she said. 

She started to study so she’d know what signs and symptoms to look for so she could be aware when her grandmother would need extra care or attention. 

“I knew that was going to be my calling for sure,” she said.

Culture Shock: A Childhood Overseas

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Ms. Wilder discovered the importance of the human connection early in life. She was born in small town Mississippi, but soon found herself living abroad as a small child. Her stepfather joined the military soon after the Sept.11 attacks in 2001. When she was 8 years old, her family moved to Germany. Growing up on a military base in Germany was a “world of difference.” 

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“I was exposed to a different culture, a different way of life,” Ms. Wilder said. “And I was forced to meet different people.” 

That set the theme for her childhood and adolescence: Moving frequently to new schools, and making new groups of friends. “I had to be comfortable talking to people, especially people from different backgrounds,” she said.

Germany also gave young Ms. Wilder a nearly magical upbringing, she said. “If I had to describe Germany in words, it’s like those fairy tale stories.” The food (especially the Schnitzel, which she still loves to this day), music, art, and culture were fascinating and alien to her, exposing her to a different way of life, especially in the pre-social media days. 

Her family came back to America when she was 12, eventually settling in the Houston, Texas area. That was a culture shock all over again. Without the Internet or streaming services, she felt behind the times in culture. In addition to reacquainting herself with American culture, she also had to get to know her family again, as it had been years since she’d seen her family and friends. 

“That’s when I learned to adapt to different environments,” she said. That ability to quickly adapt to new situations and connect with new people are skills that have continued to serve her well in her PRN days.

Starting a Career in Healthcare, Learning to Lean on Others

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She took a step to that career in high school, during her grandmother’s health problems. She did her CNA training at a Mississippi community college.

“I didn’t do anything with it for a while,” she said. “I doubted myself after the hands-on training part. I thought ‘I don’t think I’m smart enough to finish that part.’”

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But she pushed herself to overcome the self-doubt when she became interested in working with dialysis patients. She interviewed for a job and impressed the manager with her dedication. 

“I said ‘If you give me the opportunity, you’re going to see that I genuinely care… I’m going to complete that training.’ And she called me the next day,” offering Ms. W the job if she completed the training. 

Ms. Wilder learned a lot at that first job, including that “it’s ok to be nervous.” But when caring is something someone wants to do, they need to have the courage to get started. There are patients who need someone with that dedication and heart for service.

That dedication is critical these days, as the last few years have been tremendously stressful on clinicians and patients. As a CNA, Ms. Wilder said she often works with other clinicians who are also feeling the strain of working through the pandemic. On the other side of that coin, many patients are in hospitals long-term, or returning, suffering the effects of Covid. Those patients are scared, tired, and may be losing trust in the medical system.

The way through is to focus on the “human side,” she said. Provide care for the patients, let them know things are going to get better, or at least more comfortable. 

“Focus on having those human interactions with people you’re caring for more than the negative side of what you’re dealing with,” she said. “When I go into a patient’s room, the first thing I do is introduce myself.” Patients who’ve had a negative experience in the hospital might vent. She said she tries to make them feel heard and let them know she’s there to take care of them the right way. 

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As for coworkers, clinicians need to know they can lean on each other to help patients.

“We don’t have to do it all by ourselves,” she said. “We can help each other.”

Advice for Getting the Most Out of Nursa

Mindset is key to finding success when using Nursa, Ms. Wilder said. 

“Try to have an open mind, because you have control over your career,” she said. “But at the same time, these types of partnerships are important. When you go into the facility you are representing yourself, but also you want to make this company look good as well…. You’re entering a business partnership, really.”

Ms. Wilder said that even today she still meets people who still don’t know that the Nursa app exists. “I definitely let them know you have options out there,” she said. Other clinicians might hesitate to start, feeling they were in a stable position or routine, and not wanting to change.

“I told them that ultimately you have to decide what you want to do,” Ms. Wilder said. “Where are you trying to go in life?”

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