Madison Morgan, BSN, RN, graduated from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, in May 2021. Culver-Stockton College offers their BSN program through partnership with Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing. Madison was able to complete her nursing requirements from Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and received her pin in May 2021. 

“I did have a little hiccup where I had to take a semester off. I picked up a psychology minor, and I think it was the best thing for me, honestly. I went for five years. I graduated in May, and I applied for a job in OB at Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Illinois.

“I was really blessed that there was an opening on the floor because there’s not normally. My best friend got hired at the same time as a labor nurse. It’s been nice because her and I have been like a little duo. She’s the labor nurse, and I’m the receiving nurse.

“To meet your best friend in nursing school and deliver babies together. It’s pretty cool.”

Finding Her People

Supportive friends and family have been an important part of Madison’s success—in school and as a young professional. 

“I had a really good group of friends. We stuck together. I don’t think that I would have graduated without them, and I don’t think they would’ve graduated without us.”

Now that she’s a young professional, she benefits from a supportive work environment as well. 

“I think the teamwork is fantastic. I don’t feel alone. I was very nervous going from day shift during orientation to night shift, and the girls have been phenomenal.

“Some of my coworkers may say, ‘Do you want to take five minutes to regroup? I can watch your people. Come back when you’re good.’ That makes me feel good. Everyone’s really helpful.

“Somebody told me to sleep when your body tells you to. That’s the best advice I’ve gotten, because when my body tells me to sleep, I sleep, and I can’t feel guilty about that. Otherwise, I try to stay up late the night before I work. It forces me to sleep better during the day, and then I get up and go.

“But I kinda like nights. It’s a younger crowd. People in the same life stage as me. I think they remember being as fresh as I am. They understand the anxiety and some of the nerves that come with being new. They’re really good to help. I have learned that experience is everything.”

Following Happiness

With all the options that nursing presents, Madison followed her heart—and her happiness—to choose her path.

“When I was in school, I loved the maternal chapter of school. I said I wanted to do labor and delivery, so I shadowed. The nurse I was shadowing that day said, ‘Ok, now, before we go in and this woman has her baby, find out who you care more about.’ When Baby came out, I found myself at the warmer caring about Baby.

“I fell in love with the way that you are the eyes and the ears for the baby and that you work with the parents. I like to take care of the moms postpartum, you know, it’s a special time to help them with breastfeeding, with taking care of the new little addition to their life.

“I worked in the ICU on a bonus contract when I was in school. Covid hit hard. I worked last winter when things were pretty rough. I took care of deathly ill people. It sucked a little part of me out as I was nearing my end of school. When I found there was an opening on this floor, that’s why I went there—not just because my heart was telling me to go there—but it was a little more of a happier time.”

Madison works on the postpartum floor or in a Level II nursery, where she may have up to four couplets (mother and baby) or one sick baby who requires oxygen or 1:1 care. Some of these infants may need to be transferred to a larger hospital in Springfield or St. Louis. 

“I worked as a patient care tech (PCT) in CV-ICU for three years while I was in school. I loved the critical care component, so I knew I needed that bite of adrenalin. I get that in the delivery room because you never know how that baby is going to come out.”

Prioritizing Wellbeing

As a student, Madison saw what low staffing and extremely stressful environments can do to nurses’ wellbeing. 

“I feel like people choose this because it’s their passion and they’re full of compassion. We want to help people by nature. It’s very quick to be burnt out when things are so high stress, and there’s no one to take care of us. Who’s there to take care of us, when there’s not enough of us to care for patients? That’s why you have to take care of you.”

Prioritizing herself was the best way to take care of others.

“I have had to ground myself in a way and take care of me before I take care of other people in my life, because if I’m not well, my patients aren’t going to be well. Furthermore, I cannot be there for my friends and family. Ultimately, I have to take care of me before I take care of anyone else.”

So how does she do it? Here are some of the lessons she learned:

“Setting boundaries for myself—making that obvious in my personal life—finding my people and finding the things that help me clear my mind and get back to it. I wish I could say I would go on a run or hit the gym or something, but I might like, file my planner a little more tediously. That’s mindless to me. Take a break. Breathe. Do something for yourself.”

Connecting with Community

In college, Madison was President of SNAI. She’s serving as Elective Executive Consultant this year. Being active in professional organizations like SNAI and ANA helped her see the big picture. 

“It helped me find my voice. It helped me realize that it’s not just clocking in and taking care of patients. There’s a whole community to it. It showed me what leadership is. It showed me what involvement is. It showed me what teamwork is. 

“We all have to come together for our patient and ourselves.”