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!


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