Spotlight on St. Joseph’s/Candler Float Pool Nurse Dwan Driskill

Dwan Driskill
Registered nurse in the float pool (night shift)

Nursing for 11 years, six years with SJ/C

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

Dwan: My grandmother had cancer. I was 6-years-old at the time, and we had moved in with my grandparents. Ms. Margaret Wallace, who works on the fifth floor as a tech at St. Joseph’s Hospital, used to come to the house to help care for her. Ms. Margaret came to the house one day and my grandmother was in the bed, and Ms. Margaret let me help her. It was medicinal. I probably made her job harder, but helping her meant so much to me. My grandmother passed away when I was 7.

I told my momma and daddy then, I wanted to be like her, and I wanted to do that. It stuck with me, and that’s what I decided to do. You know as a kid you go through phases where you want to be a teacher, a nurse, this and that, but who would have thought that literally years later I still wanted to be a nurse.

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

Dwan: I came here as a tech. I was in my second year of nursing school and worked as a student nurse in the float pool. I came back years later, and it was the best choice I ever made. Actually, I don’t think I made that choice. I think the Lord brought me here.

SJ/C: What are some of your responsibilities as a nurse in the float pool?

Dwan: As a float pool nurse, we go everywhere, just about. Sometimes we are in the ER; sometimes we are on 6 North. We help bridge that gap where they need help. We are capable of being the extra hands and the things they need to facilitate the care that patients need. It does help alleviate some of the stress on the current staff. I appreciate that. I was a staff nurse at one point, and I remember being short staffed, and whenever we got someone that was floated to us, it felt really good to have those extra hands. I don’t see myself any greater than a staff nurse, but it’s the feeling of being able to do something to help another nurse or another tech, whatever the case may be. It’s team work. Everyone comes together to do whatever needs to be done for the patient.

One of the greatest things about the float pool is it’s never the same. One night you might be here and the next night somewhere totally different. You have totally different patients, but they are all in need of something and that’s the greatest thing about healthcare in general because you never know what you are going to end up with. Nobody wants to be here, but you can help them make this the best possible experience considering their situation.

SJ/C: What would you say you love about your job and working for this health system?

Dwan: One of the greatest things about St. Joseph’s/Candler is it is a Christian organization. I love the fact that we get to share that love. A preacher once told me that the closest thing to God’s love is probably a dog’s love because it is unconditional. They want you in that moment; that moment right there means the world to them. I get to share that type of love that God gives to us with patients. Many facilities don’t want you to express that love. But here, of course you tread lightly at first or if they bring it up, you can have that conversation with them. That’s a wonderful thing. That’s probably the very best thing about this place.

Coming in at a very close second is, it’s a family atmosphere. I have had the experience of being the patient’s family multiple times since I’ve started working here. As a nurse, I’ve taken care of patients dealing with all these things, but I’ve also been a family member that sat there and watched these amazing co-workers that I also consider my family do the same thing. That’s a wonderful thing to be a part of to know this is where I get to work and get to see all of these amazing people do well.

SJ/C: What does it mean to you to be a Magnet nurse?

Dwan: This is the first facility I’ve worked at that is a Magnet facility, and I think it’s awesome. I think they push and encourage growth as far as education, learning different things. We’re bringing in the most fascinating, the newest and greatest things to St. Joseph’s/Candler. As a Magnet facility, it benefits me because if I want more education, I can do that, and in return, bring it back to the patients. I think it’s fantastic for me, for our patients and anyone that works here honestly.

SJ/C: What advice would you have to new nurses or those considering a career in nursing?

Nursing is amazing. It is one of the most impactful careers that someone can choose. I don’t want to take away from any other career, but we are meeting folks at their worse time whether they are getting diagnosed with cancer or finding out they have heart problems they didn’t know they had. We can definitely make a mark on these people. The one thing that I would definitely push, and I always push when I do training, we need to remember that while they are not our family, they are somebody’s family. Somebody loves them as much as you love your momma and you love your daddy. You have to treat them like they are our somebody.

Family: Mom and proudly a daddy’s girl, husband and three children
Spending time with my family; I love horses; I barrel race when I can; I love the beach; and doing things with our church. 

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