For 30-year-old Matthew Saunders, being a nurse takes discipline and a desire to grow one’s skills. Having graduated from the Associate Degree Registered Nursing Program at Grossmont College in 2019, Matthew currently works in the medical intensive care unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. He is also attending Point Loma Nazarene University, where he plans to graduate in fall 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN).
Here, Matthew shares his thoughts about his path to patient care.
What motivated you to become a nurse?
I was born at Grossmont Hospital 30 years ago and I grew up in the local community. After high school, I joined the Marine Corps and was fortunate to be stationed in San Diego with 1st Force Reconnaissance Company in Camp Pendleton. In preparation for a deployment, I was given medical training and gained an initial interest in medicine. Through my time in the military, I traveled around the United States for various types of training, but I was always able to come back home to San Diego.
After the military, I worked as an emergency medical technician (EMT) before finding my path to nursing. As an EMT, I was afforded the opportunity to see the large role nurses play in a patient's treatment.
How have your experiences prepared you for nursing?
I believe most of my life experience was derived from the military. I learned to have a healthy balance of following strict procedures, while also being flexible and adaptable to unexpected scenarios. These traits have been a huge help while being a new grad in the intensive care unit.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I appreciate being at the crux of a patient’s illness, and being part of a team that helps the patient overcome the acute phase of their hospitalization.
What has been the most challenging thing you have encountered so far in your nursing career?
The most challenging thing for me is withdrawing care of a patient. It is tough watching a family grieve the loss of a loved one.
What do you hope to achieve in your nursing career?
My short-term goals are to finish my BSN, obtain my Critical Care Registered Nurse certification, and start an additional career of nursing in the military reserves. I have multiple ideas about my long-term goals. The most reasonable goal at the moment includes obtaining my Master of Science in nursing and working toward a managerial role.
What advice would you give to those who may be contemplating a career in nursing?
School and the process of becoming a nurse may seem daunting. But it is important to set goals, network and stay the course. It’s worth it.