Career Awareness

Real Life Nurse Practitioner


CLAUDIA--If you like caring for people and you have an interest in math and science, I think you should look at a career in the medical field. That goes for men and women; even though nursing is a female-dominated field, there are a growing number of males in nursing positions.

I start my day at 7:00 a.m. I see about 8 patients in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, ranging from full exams that take a 1 hour to shorter visits of 15 - 30 minutes. I see patients until about 4:30 p.m., and then follow up on tasks pending from the day before, such as test results and patient phone calls. Typically, I leave the office at around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.

For a patient exam, the first thing I do is review the patient's history file, and assess the chief complaint. I then meet with the patient and and verbally discuss the history, asking questions about when the problem started, how it happened, what the patient has been taking for it, what makes it better and what makes it worse. After performing a physical exam, I can put together some thoughts for a primary diagnosis and a differential diagnosis. From there, I sit down with the patient and discuss my diagnosis and treatment plan based on their needs.

I truly enjoy the contact with patients. If you don't like the thought of being with patients for much of the day, you would not last long in this career. The majority of my time is spent interacting with patients - talking, listening and examining. I enjoy the challenge of trying to understand the patients' symptoms and the underlying illness or condition. I know that I have to figure this out in order to provide relief; this makes it very challenging yet rewarding. You also have to be organized and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment to do well in this profession. People skills and communications is a must; I have to make my patients feel better, solve their problems and let them know that I truly care.

I am very proud to work for Mayo Clinic. When we go to conferences and people ask me where I work, I get to tell them Mayo. It's kind of like, "Wow!" We have a national and international reputation; it is definitely something to be proud of.