David A. Zaworski, MSN, RN, teaches Transitions in Nursing and Fundamentals at Chamberlain’s Cleveland campus.
What is your specialty?
My specialty has been Emergency Department nursing for the past 28 years.
What drew you to that specialty? How did you get started in that area?
I was drawn to emergency nursing because it requires good observation, assessment, prioritization, interpersonal and customer service skills. The individual caring for this population needs to be a patient advocate, while maintaining a calm demeanor amidst chaos. I have (or have developed) many of these attributes. I think a good sense of humor, when appropriate, is an added bonus.
I started in emergency nursing two years after graduation. My brother had worked in the department and I was fascinated with the stories of a staff that worked almost flawlessly together.
Describe your work experience.
My experience has ranged from working in a Level I Trauma Center in Cleveland to a small community hospital in my hometown. I worked as a clinical instructor for Fundamentals in Nursing at a local community college prior to joining Chamberlain. I also have delved into correctional nursing at a county jail and worked for a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) doing utilization review in the region.
For you, what is the best part of your specialty? What is the biggest challenge?
The best part of working as an emergency nurse has been the ability to work with many different physicians, nurses and ancillary staff members throughout the years. I also have been privileged to work with the general public during some of the most difficult times in their lives.
The biggest challenge (for some the thrill!) is the chaotic nature of the department and never knowing what is coming through the door.
Throughout your career, has there been a patient or a story that has stuck with you?
There have been many experiences that I have shared with my students and fellow workers. My favorite story is the woman who I cared for as a new graduate who had a heart attack (myocardial infarction). This same woman had cared for me when I was a child.
What would you say you’ve been most proud of in your career?
I have been most proud of the positive feedback that I have received throughout my career. This includes the feedback from my previous students in the clinical area. Establishing a working relationship that helps to nurture my students’ learning in a supportive environment is important in their development as professionals. I feel great when I walk in the door and the staff or students smile rather than frown or disappear!
What is your advice to students?
My advice to students has always been to volunteer for every experience that you can in class, lab and the clinical area. Everything seems frightening the first time. Self-assurance comes with repetition and practice. I can say this from personal experience — I was there once!