Spotlight on Alex Turner, St. Joseph’s Hospital PCU nurse

Alex Turner, BSN, RN

Progressive Care Unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital

Education: Bachelor’s of Nursing Degree from Georgia Southern University

SJ/C: Why did you decide to become a nurse?

Alex: When I was 10, my Nana got diagnosed with cancer. I started going with her to all her chemo visits, to all her surgeries, and spending all that time with her in the hospital, all the nurses there made that a lot better for me and her too. That period of being around them made me want to be a nurse.

Alex Turner, St. Joseph's Hospital PCU nurse

SJ/C: Why did you choose St. Joseph’s/Candler?

Alex: I had most of my clinicals here. I did my preceptorship here, and while I was going through that Matthew (Jaskowak, the nurse manager of PCU at St. Joseph’s Hospital) actually asked me to do an interview and offered me a job. I enjoy this hospital. Everyone is so nice. I figured I would want to be in a place where I enjoy the people I work with.

SJ/C: What do you love about nursing?

Alex: I like meeting all the people. A lot of the patients we care for remind me of my grandma. It’s fun to interact with all of them. Each one of them has their own lives they’ve lived, and when you take care of them for three or four days, you learn a lot about them. It’s also nice to see you are making a difference in someone’s life.  

SJ/C: What kind of patients, conditions do you typically see on the Progressive Care Unit (PCU)?

Alex: Most of the time, it’s cardiac related, but with COVID, we’ve seen other patients shift to us because of the number of COVID patients we have now. Most of the time, though, we get post-surgical patients who had, for example, AFib ablations or open-heart CABGs (coronary artery bypass grafting); heart caths are a large majority of our patients. We get respiratory patients too but mostly heart stuff. We are not med-surg, not CCU (Coronary Care Unit), but an in-between unit.

SJ/C: You’ve been officially here with us for six months now. What’s it been like starting your nurse career in the middle of a pandemic?

Alex: It’s been interesting. When I was doing my clinicals here, we weren’t allowing visitors so I didn’t get that face-to-face interaction with family members. When I started my preceptorship, we were allowing some visitors so I got to slowly get introduced to a few family members, but now we are back to no visitors. It was nice dealing with all the families in person as opposed to talking to them on the phone, but we do everything we can to keep the communication lines open between us and family members.

SJ/C: Especially during this time, why is it important that nurses and other SJ/C co-workers support each other, lean on each other as we care for our patients?

Alex: It’s really important. Especially when I first started out, you have a lot of questions, and it really helps when you have a lot of people that are super helpful. If you have any kind of question, they will help you. If you get behind or something crazy happens, they will jump in and help. I work with a lot of great people and made friends too.  

SJ/C: What would you say to those considering a career in nursing?

Alex: I would say get in it for the right reasons. Do it to help people or see people get better and because you like interacting with people. Don’t go into nursing if you don’t like talking to people because you are going to have to talk to patients, families, doctors. You need to be courteous and helpful. I was shy, especially when I first started my preceptorship, but it actually helped me a lot to be around so many different people. I like people, but I wasn’t always comfortable talking to lots of people. But you start talking to doctors, nurse practitioners, other nurses, you develop your skills.

Family: Grandma
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