OHC is congratulating Emily Fredrickson on her new job. OHC will miss her but excited for her new adventure in nursing!
After graduating from BC’s Direct Entry Nursing Program last year, I heard about Occupational Health Connections from a fellow classmate and friend. Though I never pictured myself working in an occupational health nursing role, since I was on the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner track, I was intrigued and excited about the opportunities OHC had to offer.
The flexibility, the “off the beaten track” job sites, the opportunity to provide nursing care during a pandemic without being on a COVID unit (I had just lost my “Papa” before graduation to COVID so I had experienced the toll of the pandemic personally)…all seemed appealing during a stressful and uncertain time. Though I “graduated” in May, I was still working towards my 500 clinical hours to sit for the PNP boards because when the world shut down in March, I was 100 hours short. I finally finished my pediatric clinical hours via telehealth with a PNP, while I started my first assignment with OHC.
Over the course of my time with OHC, I worked at a J. Calnan & Associates construction site, helped with a few flu clinics at McLean Hospital and most recently helped the Occupational Health team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While with J. Calnan & Associates Construction, I performed COVID-19 screenings, monitored temperatures and determined if employees were cleared to work at the new Skating Club of Boston in Norwood.
At Dana Ferber Cancer Institute, I helped mostly in the COVID Call Center due to the uptick in call volume, though I was also trained to help with pre-employment screenings. My main responsibilities were to evaluate employees who were symptomatic, were experiencing side effects post COVID vaccination, or had a suspected or known COVID-19 exposure. Additionally, I coordinated COVID-19 testing for employees who fit DFCI’s testing criteria and evaluated when employees were cleared to return to work on site. I also trained several nurses who joined the team over the course of my time with DFCI. I also am forever grateful to have received my first COVID vaccine on the first day DFCI started vaccinating employees as well.
Despite waking up at 4:15 AM this past summer to get to the construction site and constantly changing COVID guidelines (and by that, I mean guidelines that change halfway through the day), OHC has provided me with both personal and professional growth. I have provided nursing care to individuals I never expected to (I guess construction workers are just big “little” boys), networked with health professionals of all backgrounds, and gained new friends. I have also been forced to think outside of the box and utilize various resources during a pandemic.
My advice to other new nurses is that you do not have to start your career on a med-surg floor. There are so many paths you can take in your nursing career and there is no “right” path, at least in my opinion! Plus, you probably end up learning the most on the path you never pictured yourself on.
Though I am sad to leave OHC, I am excited to get back into the pediatric world and start my new nursing role in the pediatric department at Acton Medical Associates.