Interview with Ann Barrows, RN and Cardiovascular Nursing Fellow

First Published on - September 13, 2003

About Ann Barrows | Her Career | Careers & Jobs | The Future


About Ann Barrows

Ann Barrows, RN, Cardiovascular Nurse Fellow, currently works as a day nurse on a 38-bed cardiac telemetry unit. Each day she coordinates care for 4-5 critically ill patients who suffer from a wide range of cardiac problems from congestive heart failure to atrial fibrillation.

Ms. Barrows has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Kansas School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in Life Sciences from Kansas State University. She is a member of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa, received a Level I Clinical Excellence Award for being in the top 5 percent of clinical students, served as the Association of Undergraduate Nursing Students Representative and Fundraising Chair, was a KU School of Nursing Student Senator and member of the BSN Academic Advisory Committee.


Her Career

How did you decide to go into nursing? How did you discover your talent for it?

Two of my favorite things in life are science and teaching, and those, combined with my quest for an exciting day at work, led me to nursing. It seemed as though everyone always came to me when they were not feeling well and in return I always enjoyed trying to figure out the problem they were having and educating them on ways to feel better.

What would you consider your proudest accomplishments in the field? Have you had any major setbacks along the road?

One of my proudest accomplishments was being selected for the Cardiovascular Fellowship program. This program, specific to my unit, allows us to participate in weekly education days to increase our knowledge of how to better treat cardiac problems. These education days include seminars given by the cardiologists we work with in addition to other educational programs given by pharmaceutical representatives and clinical experts in their field.

What do you enjoy most about your job, your career?

I enjoy that my job changes every day. Each morning, I am faced with new conditions, new clinical presentations, and new clients. These factors combined challenge me every day and enhance my growth and knowledge as a new nurse.

How have you defined career success for yourself? What have been your personal key(s) to success in nursing?

Career success for me is having a job that challenges me everyday and gives me the freedom to make decisions about both my patients and the unit that I work in.


Careers and Jobs

What does a typical day of work entail? What are your key responsibilities?

My typical day at work involves arriving at 6:30 to begin preparing for my day by analyzing the morning lab work as well as the patients' current EKG. Following the initial preparation, I take report from the night shift about the activities that occurred over their shift as well as the procedures scheduled for today. The rest of my day involves frequent assessment of my patients as well as medication administration in addition to accurate documentation of the shift's events and patient status.

Do you have any advice regarding how people can best get started and be successful in a nursing career?

My best advice for anyone who is interested in nursing is to spend time shadowing other nurses. This experience gives you the opportunity to see what an actual shift is like and what different nurses' responsibilities are. In addition, working on a hospital unit as a nurse's aide will also give valuable experience in seeing a variety of skills and helping you learn how to manage your day.

What do you feel employers look for when considering hiring someone?

Employers are looking for someone who will be dedicated to their position and passionate about their career.

Can you provide any advice on how students can prepare themselves for interviewing?

The best way to prepare for interviews is to do mock interviews through your institution. During your final year of the program, most schools offer mock interviews as well as resume review sessions.

How is the job market right now?

The job market right now is excellent for nurses. I, personally, decided on my position six months prior to graduation. Comparatively, most other graduates in my class had decided on their positions 2-3 months prior to graduation in May.

Do you feel your education prepared you for what you encountered on the job?

I feel that I was very well prepared for my job based on my education. But, I feel that I would have appreciated actually working true 12 hour shifts as a student as well as working weekend shifts to see the difference in the hospital environment on the weekend.


The Future

Do you plan to go back to school later? What would you go back to study? Why?

I do plan to return to graduate school within the next five years. Right now, I have not specifically decided which track I will pursue but I am currently looking into a career as a Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Specialist or a career in health care administration.

Do you plan to have a family? How do you think that would effect you nursing career?

One of the reasons that I chose nursing was that I knew I wanted to have a family some day. With a career in nursing, I know that I will have the flexibility to spend quality time raising my children as well as maintaining a career.

For more information, contact Ann Barrows

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