In addition to sports, shows, art, food and entertainment, there’s another big draw that brings people to the city of Pittsburgh. We have some of the best healthcare in the area, as well as the country. Pittsburgh is home to dozens of hospitals. These provide a place for life-saving treatment, as well as educational opportunities for students and residents.
At MadeinPGH, we have a real appreciation for the professionals who are on the front lines of healthcare. We celebrate nurses and recognize their contributions to the local community. We wanted to highlight a few nurses who contribute to the excellent care that is available in this city.
Here’s what we love about Pittsburgh nurses.
Making Patients Comfortable Before, After and During Surgery
Malinda Miller has been a registered nurse since 2008 and has worked as a nurse anesthetist since 2013. Nursing wasn’t her original plan, but as she says, it’s the best decision she could have made.
“I decided on nursing because it seemed like a good balance of science and caring for people. I liked that every day would be different and that I would be responsible for helping people during some of the most difficult times in their lives,” Malinda says.
She started her nursing education at CCAC. When she was in her first semester, she was sent to the operating room to shadow a nurse anesthetist.
“I was able to observe the nurse anesthetist as she administered anesthesia for an open heart surgery. It was love at first sight.”
After graduating from CCAC, Malinda worked full time, went to school full time for a bachelor’s degree, and took masters classes. Malinda applied to one school and feels lucky to have gotten into the University of Pittsburgh’s Nurse Anesthesia program. She worked as a Registered Nurse at Allegheny General Hospital in the Neuro ICU. Since graduating from Pitt, Malinda has worked as a CRNA at UPMC Shadyside. She left for about 6 months but quickly returned. She considers her co-workers to be her second family.
Malinda loves nursing for two big reasons. “First, I love taking care of people on what many would consider one of the worst days of their lives. I have such an amazing responsibility to my patients. I have a limited amount of time to make them comfortable, and then I am responsible for their well-being during surgery,” she says.
“Second, my job is fun and creative. Every day is different and fast-paced. I work with some of the most incredible people, which also helps. The creative part is that I am able to tailor each anesthetic to each patient. So if I have a patient that has a history of nausea with anesthesia, I have the opportunity to make an anesthetic plan to help them. It is always amazing to talk to a patient after surgery and hear them say that they feel great.
“The best experience would be when my patients wake up and ask when they are going back to the operating room. It just means that they had a successful anesthetic and a successful surgery,” Malinda said.
Creating Change With Patient Outcomes and Working Together With a Sense of Camaraderie
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University in 2009, and her work background is intensive/critical care, specifically cardiothoracic and surgical intensive care. She wanted to be a nurse because she always had a strong interest and leaning toward science and healthcare.
“To be completely honest, I kind of arbitrarily picked nursing hoping that I liked it, and I did. Once I finished my critical care rotations and a critical care internship in school I was impressed with the level of learning the nurses had and the amount of trust and autonomy they were given. It was then when I knew I made the right choice. It was the perfect blend of caring and science,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer has done many different things over the years, including working in NYC for 6 years and travel nursing in San Francisco, before she started working for UPMC Presbyterian in the Surgical ICU in 2016. Since January, she has been a part of a unique job share between UPMC Presbyterian in the SICU and STAT Medevac (UPMC’s critical care air transport service) as a flight nurse. As of July 21, Jennifer transitioned over to STAT Medevac full-time and moonlights at Presby. She is currently based out of MedEvac 16 in Kittanning in Armstrong County.
“I love as a critical care nurse you can truly create and see change with patient outcomes,” Jennifer remarked. “I think we have a tendency to downplay it amongst each other because it is just another day on the job, but we are with the patients at their worst and we can and do save lives. That in itself is incredibly rewarding.
“I also love that nursing is kind of like a team sport. At the patient bedside, I work on a daily basis with amazing patient care technicians, paramedics and nurses. Working together under stressful situations and long hours lends itself to strong friendships and a huge sense of camaraderie.”
Helping Multiple People During Every Shift
Kelsey Ishman has been a Pediatric Nurse for about 5 years. She graduated from Robert Morris School of Nursing in 2014. She accepted her first career at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on their Cardiac Stepdown unit. Kelsey transitioned to their Outpatient GI Clinic in January of 2019.
“I knew I wanted to help people as a career in early high school when I volunteered at the preschool near my high school. I chose nursing because I knew I wanted to do more than volunteer with kids, I wanted to help them. I never wanted to be anything else but a pediatric nurse,” Kelsey describes. She is currently employed at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in their outpatient GI Clinic.
“What I love most about nursing is the fact that I get to go home knowing I helped someone and made a difference in someone’s life every day. It is not always the easiest job and you do not always get a lot of praise or thank-you’s, but just knowing you really helped multiple people after every shift makes the job that much more rewarding.” Kelsey says.
Thank you to all the Pittsburgh nurses who contribute to our community!