From volunteer to PCT to new grad NICU Nurse: Rachel Dziok shares her story

From volunteer to PCT to new grad NICU Nurse: Rachel Dziok shares her story

RachelIn 2008, I moved to Annapolis from Arlington, Virginia, where I had volunteered at a local hospital. I enjoyed the experience and wanted to continue that type of community service in my new home.

I settled in to life in Annapolis and went to AAMC’s website to check out the volunteer opportunities available. After working in the business world for five years, I was going back to school to get my nursing degree. Since I was in the process of completing my prerequisites, I knew I wanted to help with direct patient care.

After completing the paperwork and meeting with the auxiliary staff, I was offered the opportunity to volunteer in the Emergency Department. Once a week, I spent an exciting evening helping the patient advocates, nurses, patients and visitors. I learned about the culture of the hospital, nursing, and teamwork. I had a wonderful experience!

I started nursing school in January 2011 and obtained a CNA license after my first semester. I applied to be a Student Nurse Patient Care Technician (PCT) at AAMC and was offered a position in the Emergency Department for the summer.  

I worked as many hours as I could, learning so much from the PCTs, nurses and doctors. After the summer ended, I continued to be a PCT on a part-time basis. During the semester I worked limited hours, but would pick up more on my breaks.  

Upon graduating in December 2012, I knew that I wanted to work as a nurse at AAMC, specifically in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I had attended clinicals at other hospitals in the area and AAMC was by far my favorite. I loved the staff, the facilities, the attitude, the patients… everything. I was thrilled when I was offered the position and immediately accepted.

I officially started as a new grad nurse in the Nursing Graduate Internship this February. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I have learned so much already from the wonderful team in the NICU and am looking forward to a long career at AAMC!


  1. Posted by Kelly Anderson, at Reply

    It was always great working with you down here in the ED. As a volunteer and a tech it was great working with you. Best of luck in your nursing career.

  2. Posted by Barbara Buckley, at Reply

    Rachel, we are so excited to have you as a new member to our NICU team! Congratulations on completing your orientation.

  3. Posted by Pam Kremer, at Reply

    We are very happy to have you in the NICU!

  4. Posted by Kristyn, at Reply

    I am so glad to have you as part of the team!

  5. Posted by Chona Hamrock, at Reply

    Rachel,you makes a preceptor’s job so easy because you are such a fast learner! You have done such a great job during your orientation and you are quickly developing critical skills thinking worthy of a seasoned nurse; I am so proud of you! Not to mention you’re like an Energizer Bunny, working in the NICU full time, Fannie Mae part time, playing soccer, and running in all of your weekend races. You have a bright future ahead of you and I hope to continue to guide you as a NICU nurse.

  6. Posted by Carol Lacher, at Reply

    The NICU was blessed with an outstanding new graduate that brings so much to the bedside. Rachel has great team spirit with an amazing talent to share with us from her previous experiences. She is extremely professional and smart in all she does, I am so glad she chose AAMC’s NICU.

  7. Posted by Laura Brague, at Reply

    Great job Rachel! We’re so happy to have you as a part of our team. Congratulations on starting the first chapter of your nursing career!

  8. Posted by Chris Knight, at Reply

    Rachel, it was my pleasure to work with you during your time in the ED. I knew you were truly going to excel on your medical journey!!! Congratulations and enjoy your new path!!!!

  9. Posted by Jessica Gray, at Reply

    Rachel, I miss working with you but I know you are doing amazing in the NICU!!! You are a blessing to AAMC!

  10. Posted by Ann Marie Holland, at Reply

    It is a pleasure having you in the February 2013 New Grad Cohort!

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