National Nurses Week Alumni Spotlight: Kaitlin Laws ’16

Trocaire alum Kaitlin Laws, a PICU nurse, was recently featured in an ad for her employer.

In honor of National Nurses Week 2018, we caught up with one of our many inspiring, compassionate and hard-working Catherine McAuley School of Nursing alumni: Kaitlin Laws ’16, RN.

After trying out a few different paths following her graduation from Wilson High School, Kaitlin found her calling and a home at Trocaire.

She graduated from Trocaire’s AAS Nursing program in May 2016 and now works at Egleston Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. In fact, we reconnected with Kaitlin when she was featured in an ad by her employer and she tagged us on Instagram to share the good news!

Whenever I tell someone where I work they always say, “Oh my gosh, that has to be so heartbreaking!” I do see a ton of horrible stuff that should never happen to children, but I also get to see a lot of amazing outcomes. It’s such a hard and rewarding job that I love doing.

 Why Nursing?

Nursing was always something I had grown up around. My mom was and still is an Emergency Department nurse and we would always go visit her while she was working, so it felt normal being in a hospital. Since it was something I had been around, I decided to venture out and get a degree in fashion merchandising. I loved it, but it didn’t feel right. After fashion, I got a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and from there, nursing drew me back in and I knew it was what I was meant to do.

What drew you to Trocaire’s program?

I had gone to another local program but had a stressful year personally; with my father going into cardiac arrest and having to have surgery, my focus was not on school. When I went back to reapply to the program, a nursing instructor there told me “maybe nursing is not for you.” She was the reason I started looking at other nursing school and stumbled upon Trocaire. From the start everyone was so nice, so I knew it was a perfect fit.

Kaitlin’s study buddy back in her Trocaire days!

Describe your nursing school experience.

Nursing school was tough! I took night classes after working all day as a Critical Care Tech at Erie County Medical Center and remember so many hours studying and contemplating if it was going to be worth it in the end. Thankfully I made an amazing group of friends while in the program who made me remember why I chose nursing. I also don’t think I would have gotten through the program without the instructors. I have attended multiple colleges, and the nursing instructors at Trocaire have been the most caring–they truly want to see you succeed.

What brought you to Atlanta?

My husband’s job brought us to Atlanta. This is not our first move with his company–right after my first year at Trocaire, he was transferred to Virginia. When I graduated I moved down there and ended up taking my boards in Virginia since I had been offered my first RN job in Cardiothoracic Surgery. I am so happy he was transferred again, Atlanta has been my favorite move so far.

Describe the PICU and what it’s like to work there as a nurse.

Being a PICU nurse is like nothing I’ve ever done before. I currently work in the only Level 1 Trauma center for pediatrics for the entire state of Georgia– We have 36 bed ICU, with a new 100 bed ICU being built soon. We see everything from car accidents to transplants to flu cases, and the age range varies so much compared to the adult world. We can see tiny newborns to 25-year-old adults which makes it a huge learning curve when vitals and dosage normals can be so different.

What do you miss most about Buffalo?

I miss my family and friends the most since moving away from Buffalo, but the pizza and Wegman’s are definitely high on the list! We may move back later on, but for now we are enjoying our new city.

 

Proud Pinning Ceremony moments
Kaitlin and her nursing class friends