Tuesday Transformation - Hadassah Matthews
Who is Hadassah Matthews?
I am a single mom to a beautiful daughter who is my world. I love to sing, dance, travel and meet new people.
What does a typical day for Hadassah entail?
A typical day for me on my days off would be to get my daughter up and ready for school. Come home and cook or clean then pick my baby up, help with homework and relax. On the days I have to work its pretty much the same but it depends on where I am working.
If I work in the ER, I work 11am to 11pm and it's basically a surprise from day to day. My shift is the busiest shift so I am on my feet basically for 12 hours each day. Because it's the ER, my patients range from infants to the elderly. My colleagues and I work intimately with the doctors to provide care; as the Nurses here do everything that requires direct patient care. If I work at my other hospital, I work on the Progressive care/telemetry/step down ICU unit. I work 7pm to 7am there and the patient population is predominantly adult to the elderly. We have all of the stroke, cardiac catheterization cases, respiratory failures and overall really sick patients who may not qualify to be in the ICU, but aren't stable to go down to the medical surgical floors. My duties are the same basically, but they are both very intense units and great places to learn.
We're curious, was Nursing always your first choice?
No Nursing was not my first choice, I originally wanted to become an OB/GYN. However, my aunt pushed me in this direction because I had a new born and it was wayyyyyy less expensive than medical school. As time went by I never gave up on it, but I realized that doctors here don't really spend time providing hands on care unless they're a family practice Physician, and I loved taking care of others from since I was a child. So it became the obvious choice for me that Nursing afforded me time with my child, the ability to be present for her while doing what I always loved to do. Many Physicians in the Hospitals have to sacrifice time away from their kids to pursue what they love.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect of my profession would be to know I was able to help someone during the worst times of their life. In the ER it may be a matter of hours but on the unit it may be days or even weeks. However, people always remember those who took time to place their needs first even if they aren't always kind. Knowing that I made a positive impact on my patients or being able to save a life makes what I do worth it, every time I step into a Hospital for those 12 hours each shift.
How would you describe the transition from Barbados to the United States of America?
At first it was hard for me because where I live in Texas is not very diverse. Culturally, it was very different and people were not as friendly and warm as they are at home. However with time you learn the culture, you become more comfortable with the way of life and so it is a lot more bearable than before. I have been here over 8 years and I am still adjusting, but I have learned to make it my new home, but you can never replace your true home.
Any tips for individuals who may be interested in migrating to further their career?
I would say that it isn't easy but it is definitely worth it. Take the time to do the research on where you plan to attend and seek out any resources where you can benefit whether it be scholarships, work study jobs etc. Every opportunity will be a lesson on your journey to success and you never know who you may meet that can later help you on your journey.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?
Make sure it is your calling. Nursing is a difficult and stressful job but it is also rewarding. It is the most trusted profession in the USA because of how closely we work with the patients and their families. It is also a customer service field and we are required to be at our best to ensure our patients feel safe to come back to us and their family members and friends. If you have no compassion or empathy for others, don't do it because when people are sick they need a comforting smile, a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on, not a cold aggressive rude and callous human being.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family, friends and the beach. My daughter always says she wished she lived in Barbados because she loves the weather and ocean lol.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I am a single mom who works hard to take care of her child. I graduated from college with honors and I worked hard as hell to do so. I tell other single moms or people who want to start over it's never too late even if others say it is so. Pursue what you love and even if it is hard, you will stick with it because you know there is nothing else you would rather do. Never say you can't and keep God in your prayers.