November 2008
Q&A with Elizabeth Martens, who has been a Registered Nurse for two years in Cedar City, UT.

Q: Can you tell me about any previous education or training you needed for your job?

A: I attended Southern Utah University for two years in order to qualify for the nursing program. After two years in the nursing program, I entered the field of nursing and since then have raised from a certified nurse to a Registered Nurse.


Q: What do you like and dislike most about your job?

A: I like being able to help my patients and their families come to terms with mortality. It makes me feel good to help people transition through the loss of a loved one. I dislike the insurance companies and how hard they can be to deal with for the families. The last thing people who have a loved one dying need is for the insurance companies to throw up road blocks.


Q: Can you describe your typical day?

A: I really don’t have a typical day. Some days I simply make rounds on my patients – which I have two to eight at any one time – to make sure their needs are being taken care of. However, if a patient is obviously going to die within the next day or two, I then arrange for another Nurse to visit my other patients while I prepare to make my dying patient as comfortable as possible.


Q: What do you think your next career step will be?

A: I think I will explore becoming a nurse practitioner next. I have a strong interest in midwifery as well.


Q: What previous job history prepared you for this job?

A: I really didn’t have much in the way of a previous job history for this job. However, I did study to be a vet before I decided I would rather be a nurse and, while humans are different than animals, the theory behind making someone ill better is pretty much the same.


Q: What types of benefits do you receive from your job?

A: I receive health insurance for my family and myself. I also have an employer matched 401k plan though, personally, I would prefer some kind of pension system. I also get compensated for mileage and gas use when I am checking in on patients.


Q: Do you mind sharing how much you earn?

A: Well, this year I am scheduled to earn $45,000. Nursing is constantly getting more money thrown at it and it seems I get more money each year.


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