Kiristie Hogue

Submitted 2022-11-02

Emergency medical care. Those words in of themselves can be enough to scare most people. To take responsibility of someone else’s life, their care, their survival, who wants that responsibility right? As scary as that prospect may be to some, it is a need to be fulfilled from others. The drive to help with something greater than you are as individual. I suppose in a sense that is what calls me. There have been steps I have taken along my career which sets the stage for this moment.

My path down this road took root a lot further back than I had initially thought. When I was in middle school, I used to watch brain surgery on the Discovery channel. Now I will date myself a bit I suppose, I was in middle school in the 90’s. I am not even sure if the Discovery channel still shows surgeries, but I am guess probably not. I was fascinated by the fact you could see the brain moving in time with the heart beating. However, my initial grandiose idea of being a surgeon ebbed away like so many changes we have in our youth. In the back of my head, I felt I wasn’t smart enough to become a doctor, so, I settled for someone who was responsible for teaching the future doctors and the future everyone else for that matter. I knew I wanted to help people, do something to make the lives better of others. So I thought teaching was the perfect path to take to accomplish that.

Fast forward about eight years from when I first became a teacher, and I was still chasing something, I was reaching for more. After some thought I decided to get my Master’s degree in School Guidance Counseling. I wanted to be able to help people on another, deeper level than what I could reach in the classroom. So that became my new focus, to learn about the brain and what makes people react and respond in the way they do. I enjoyed learning about all of this a great deal, and I can see the value of this knowledge in many areas.

Take another fly through time about six years from when I graduated with my Master’s, and I still find myself searching for something more. I know I am a forever learning, but I still feel like my internal ambitions are not being met. I have learned I am a person who thrives on challenges and I need variety in my day. I have also learned my mind is like a sponge and that I am a lot smarter than what I gave myself credit for a long time ago.

So what does this all have to do with how I am mentally and physically preparing to use critical, lifesaving skills? Well, I have actually prepared for this my whole adult life in a sense. This is not just something that has been developed through my time as a teacher, but also through my own health experiences and those that come with being a mom. There are lessons that can be gained from every aspect of our lives if we are willing to see them and learn from them.

As a teacher, you go through many stressful events that can be of a benefit in applying lifesaving skills. One of the main things I have gone through is extensive intruder training and drills. I have been put through ultimate stressful situations, enough to know that I am capable of thinking under pressure and making calm, rational decisions. This is at the heart of what you have to be able to do in the healthcare field. Additionally, I have essentially been a triage nurse for the last 16 years. Teachers are left to decide what is important to send on and what is not. I also have been in a position to deal with other medical issues and needs. From students having seizures, asthma attacks, injuries and mental health needs, I have faced it all.

I have faced a lot of challenges in my own life in terms of my healthcare needs. I have always been good a looking at symptoms and determining if the need was significant or not. When I was twenty-five years old, I gave blood at school and I just couldn’t get over it. I decided to take myself to the emergency room to which I was diagnosed with strep throat that hadn’t expressed itself with symptoms yet. Additionally though, there was an issue with my heart rate between sitting, standing and lying down. I was eventually diagnosed with a genetic heart condition that has plagued my family. When I learned of this possibility, I went into the cardiologist appointment prepared, I came with a pedigree that documented the gender and known heart condition cases of my family. I was never willing to accept something without being fully informed. Through my own experiences, I learned my particular heart condition is vastly controlled with diet and exercise. Since I knew what I needed to focus on, I did, and my ejection fraction has improved from being at the lowest of 40% to being safely in the low-normal range for the last 5+ years.

Lastly, I’m a mom. Moms are the ultimate triage nurses, while staying calm and bandaging up wounds all while making dinner and cleaning house. Now this may seem a bit far-fetched, however, my kids have put me through some experiences. From near third degree burns to a toddler’s hand, a couple ruptured ear drums, some broken bones, a dislocated shoulder with surgery twice–one year apart, and tympanoplasty surgery, just to name a few things. They may have prepared me the most for a career where you have to be able to think on your feet while under pressure.

So as I reflect over my life, I can see how so many moments have been leading me down this path. I am ready!

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