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Our Hospital Heroes: Emergency Nurse Annmarie’s Story

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 6:44 AM

This week, NorthShore celebrates Emergency Nurses Week. In your time of frenzied need, one of the first calming faces you meet in the Emergency Department is your nurse. NorthShore wants to recognize our nurses who compassionately care for the community and the patients who walk through our doors.

Annmarie Kaszubinski, Emergency Department Nurse at Glenbrook Hospital, shares her story.

Annmarie Kaszubinski (second from left) shares her nursing story

When did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Was there a particular moment or experience that led to you this area of the medical field?
I have always thought I was destined to be a nurse. Both of my grandmothers were nurses. One of my grandmothers was a nurse in WWII, and the other worked for the local hospital in the town where I grew up. That grandmother had the greatest influence on me. She taught me so much. I am proud to follow in her footsteps.

2 generations of nurses: Annmarie's grandmother and Annmarie

Why did you choose the Emergency Department (ED) as a specialty?
I have had the opportunity to experience many different areas of nursing. I came to NorthShore in 2013 from Tennessee, where I was an ICU nurse. I thought the ED would be a great place for me to work, as I had not had the opportunity to do so. I have found that no matter where I work, I get enjoyment, but the ED has a special place in my heart. It feels like home.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is the privilege of helping people in their weakest moments; to hold the hand of a scared or dying patient and help them find comfort or peace, and to help the family of the patient understand what is going on. There’s also the amazing teamwork with my coworkers, doctors and ancillary staff.

What do you find most challenging about your job?
The most challenging part of being an ED nurse is the pace. It is most often the busiest area in the hospital, and requires not only physical, but also mental stamina like no other part of nursing I have experienced. I have gotten my steps in on FitBit, and then some! (Best part: I even lost a bit of weight!)

Is there a memorable patient or an experience that has stuck with you the most?
One day, I got a patient from mammography who had a syncopal episode (fainting). When she came to the ED, she didn’t want anything done. I worked diligently and compassionately with her to get a complete work-up. In the end, she needed a pacemaker and to be admitted to ICU. When she was updated on the plan, she told me “I can’t do that. My dog is in the car.” I promptly spoke with her about trying to find someone to come fetch the dog. She told me her relative “would kill it”, so I offered to get her dog and take it home. The dog’s name was Pooh. I have a little dog also; thank goodness they got along. I returned the dog the next day when she went home. We have kept in touch. It was my pleasure to help her out during that scary time for her.

What advice would you give someone who is starting their career as an Emergency Department nurse?
The single most important advice I could offer is to never lose the kindness and passion that brought you to nursing. It will be the hardest job, but the most rewarding experience. A choice that I am so proud of, and am passionate about every day!