Clinical Nurse Educator, Michelle McKoy, Foothill Regional Medical Center
Educating the staff while mentoring nursing students
Please tell us about the trajectory of your nursing career.
I’ve always known that I wanted to become a nurse, but the initial arc of my career was impacted by certain setbacks. I migrated to this country from Belize in the second year of my nursing studies. I had to restart my entire education because the community college I enrolled in would not accept any of my previous nursing school credits.
At the beginning of my nursing career, I chose not to advance my education further so that I could spend quality time with my two children and focus on developing my clinical skills.
However, I’ve always felt very strongly that I had to define who I am within the context of my nursing career, so I went back to school to earn my BSN. After finishing that degree, I took a three-year break from my studies, working on a medical/surgical telemetry unit. I was also a preceptor for nursing students on their eight-week senior rotation.
Around that time, my director of nursing informed me that there was an opening in the ICU and urged me to take a course in critical care. I was apprehensive, but was ultimately successful and very much enjoyed working as a critical care nurse.
What led you to become a CNE?
As I mentioned earlier, I was a preceptor for senior nursing students. I enjoyed that process so much that I decided I wanted to nurture future nurses and strengthen the quality of care they provide to patients, patients’ families and our community. I have both personal and professional knowledge from my career to share with future nursing generations. Learning the theory aspects was quite strenuous. Having a strong support system helped, but being a single mom and paying my way for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees was honestly tough.