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Most children look to their parents as role models and often want to be just like their mom or dad. For Nancy Domenick, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Nancy’s mom was a nurse, and her daughter, Anna Domenick, is a nurse as well! This week, we honor our nurses for all the things they do. Meet the dynamic mother-daughter duo as they share their passion for nursing.
When did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Was there a particular moment or experience that led you to this area of the medical field?
Anna: I didn’t actually decide to become a nurse until my mid-20s. I was enrolled at Oakton Community College aimlessly taking classes until I discovered they had a two-year nursing program. The idea of walking away from community college with a valued skill set and the independence to work almost anywhere appealed to me. One of the best things about nursing is that you can do so many different things with a nursing degree, with the added benefit of having financial independence. Plus, I always had great admiration for my mother and her profession. I had a real sense of pride that my mom was a nurse, and I felt I could help people and give back to the community. Also, if she could do it, I knew I could, too. You know how they say you become your parents? Well, I always knew it was true for me. My mother and I are very similar, even though I tried to deny it for many years. She actually tried to talk me out of becoming a nurse because if you’re a nurse, you understand it can be a very challenging, thankless profession at times. But again, that’s what I love about it; nursing challenges you, tests your limits and helps you develop personal growth.
Nancy: I watched my mother Helen (who was a nurse) enjoy her profession. As a nurse, she was able to transition from working in a hospital to becoming a school nurse, and later, working at bedside in a hospital again. I liked the idea of being able to switch areas of practice like that and have different patient care experiences. I, myself, have also worked in hospitals and as a school nurse when my kids were young. As a school nurse and parent, the hours were convenient. I worked when my kids were in school and then could be home with them in the evening.
What area of nursing are you in? Why did you choose this specialty over others?
Anna: When I did my surgical rotation in nursing school, I loved orthopaedics! I enjoyed all the surgical tools/techniques and the mechanics behind repairing the human body. It was all very fascinating to me. I saw a Whipple procedure being performed in the operating room. It was scary but at the same time quite amazing. When I applied to [NorthShore] Skokie Hospital, the most similar position was on a postsurgical unit, and the rest is history. I am now an orthopaedic certified nurse. I enjoy helping the patients recover and realize they’re still themselves, that they’re capable, and that they can heal, overcome and persevere. The best thing about being a nurse on a postsurgical unit is that you see results; you help the patients get back to their lives (Activities of Daily Living, also known as ADLs).
Nancy: My pediatric rotation in college was difficult, and I disliked the instructor. So, when the opportunity arose to apply for a nurse internship at Wyler Children’s Hospital (now Comer Children’s Hospital—I’m old or, as they say, “experienced”) to prove to myself I could excel in pediatrics, I seized it. I have now been a pediatric nurse for 42 years!
What do you find most rewarding about your job? What do you find most challenging about your job?
Anna: I enjoy problem solving, and every day my job challenges me. I love helping my peers—my colleagues are my home away from home; we all depend on each other. And of course, connecting with patients is fulfilling. My job is rewarding because I develop and maintain skills such as placing IVs, urinary catheters, performing dressing changes, etc. What can be challenging is that you sometimes see patients and families at their worst. They’re stressed and scared—so reassurance and support are so important.
Nancy: The most rewarding part of my job is the contact I have with parents and patients and the work I do with peers whom I enjoy so much! My challenges are—and always have been—organizational skills.
When did you start working at NorthShore? What was it like to be working with someone who would be more than a colleague?
Anna: I’ve been with NorthShore for over 10 years, since 2007, and since I’ve joined, it has been very rewarding to work alongside my mother as a nurse. We can share experiences, and encourage and support one another.
Nancy: I’ve been with NorthShore since 2001, and I echo Anna!
What are some benefits to working together?
Anna: I love working with Mom. I appreciate hearing her opinion on policies and procedures. She’s an experienced RN, so I appreciate the perspective!
Nancy: We enjoy sharing experiences and discussing updates at NorthShore with each other.
Why is the Nursing STARs (Say Thanks And Recognize) Program so important?
Anna: Nurses need nurses—we need each other for education and training, for support and for reassurance. I was fortunate enough to put myself through school; I earned my bachelor’s degree while working. The Nursing STARs Program gives you the opportunity to continue your education and gain invaluable experience.
Nancy: It’s important because it supports young adults who are entering the nursing profession as well as provides them with scholarship opportunities. When I donate to the STARs Program, it’s in remembrance of my mother Helen Peters, the first nurse I ever knew and the woman who shaped the lives of both me and my daughter.