Erin Kelly Alumni Profile – B.S. in Nursing 2009

Name: Erin Kelly Graduation Year: 2009 Major: Nursing. What activities did you do as an undergraduate? Division 1 Rowing Team, Student Nurse Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Vice President of Chi Alpha Sigma National Student/Athlete Honor Society, Intramural Soccer.

Most unforgettable memory as an undergraduate: Senior year, Atlantic 10 Rowing Championships, Varsity 8 Final. After falling to our rivals, URI, twice that year, seeded to place second to them again in the championship final, our boat came together in that race and walked through URI before it was half over. We crossed the finish line significantly ahead of URI, to the cheers and screams from our teammates on land, collapsed into each others arms crying, hurting & with barely enough left to make it to the docks. That race was definitely the most memorable and happiest moment in my UMass career. I will never forget that feeling and those teammates, who were really more like family, who I rowed with.

What class prepared you the most? :  Hmm, I would have to say what I learned in my clinicals prepared me the most for the “real world,” more than any class I took.

Current Job, Location: Neonatal Intensive Care RN, Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC

Job duties: I am responsible for the management of care of 1-2 critically ill infants. I know how to work the intricate technologies we now have to keep these babies alive that even 10 years ago, we did not have. I handle the administration of medications, nutrition, and multiple other therapies we provide for these infants including ventilator therapy, cooling therapies, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and many other life saving devices. I act as my patients’ and families’ main advocates in the complex medical world; I ensure that doctors are aware of changes in my patients and that my families understand what the doctors told them. I provide developmentally appropriate care to my patients and a listening ear to their parents.

Best thing about your job: Having a baby that has been so unstable their parents haven’t even had the chance to hold them yet but is now headed in the right direction and helping that mom hold her baby for the first time, sometimes days or weeks after the baby was born and hearing how appreciative they are after that. When a family comes back for a follow up appointment a few months after discharge and ask for you specifically to come see how well their baby is doing and telling you how thankful they are for helping to give them the opportunity to take their baby home with them.

Interviewed by Polly Po