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Meet a real Nurse, Registered, Keisha Potter
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Keisha Potter, M.S., Clinical Research Nurse, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
Keisha Potter, M.S., Clinical Research Nurse, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

1. I chose this career because....

2. My typical workday involves...

3. What I like best/least about my work...

4. My career goals are...

5. When I'm not working, I like to...

6. Nursing is a wonderful profession...


1. I chose this career because....

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Keisha Potter prepares to monitor a patient using a blood pressure cuff.
Keisha Potter prepares to monitor a patient using a blood pressure cuff.

I chose to become a registered nurse, in part, because of the influences from my parents and friends. My parents always encouraged me to make a difference in all that I chose in life, especially through my career. My friends often referred to me as the caring, nurturing and sensitive one who would fit perfectly in the nursing role. I enjoy working with people and assisting others when possible. I believe that my “gift” is helping others and providing support when I can.

I began my quest to become a nurse during middle school. My parents strongly encouraged me and my four siblings to select a career that had a positive growth potential and room for economic growth. My sister and mother are nurses, in the operating room and for the elderly population, respectively. During the tenth grade, my father required each child to go to the library, locate the Department of Labor career book and identify top career choices based on interest, educational qualifications and job growth outlook. Nursing was my top choice.

I attended the Howard University College of Nursing and graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in Nursing. During my undergraduate work, I also interned at the Georgetown University Medical Center as a nurse technician.

I have been a registered nurse for 6 years. I spent my first two years as a clinical nurse, on an intensive care step-down unit at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. For the last four years, I have worked as a clinical research nurse on a solid organ transplant unit at the NIH Clinical Center.

Education
  • Bachelor of Science, Nursing, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • Master of Science, Nursing Informatics, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland

2. My typical workday involves...

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Keisha Potter updates patient status reports.
Keisha Potter updates patient status reports.

My typical workday takes place at the clinical center on a huge government campus. The patient care unit where I work is well lit and clean, but small in comparison to other units. I report to work each day by 7:00 a.m.

My Major Tasks Include:
  • Obtaining patients status reports
  • Assessing and caring-for patients - includes formal introductions, vital signs, administering medications, and reviewing lab results
  • Attending and participating in multidisciplinary rounds - all health care professionals involved in patient care meet to discuss patient information including physical condition, emotional well-being, and special situations or concerns. Sometimes the meetings are used to update the group on educational issues related to health care.
  • Documenting all patient care and assessments
  • Scheduling examinations and laboratory tests

My additional roles include acting as a patient advocate and teaching them about information related to their health condition. Also, I am a preceptor to new nurses and a resource for issues related to my specific unit or patient population.

Equipment I Use on the Job
  • Stethoscope – a device used to listen to a patient’s heartbeat and breathing
  • Manual or automatic blood pressure cuff – a constrictive device used to determine a patient’s blood pressure
  • Cardiac monitor – an electronic instrument for continuous recording and observation of heart activity





3. What I like best/least about my work...

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Keisha Potter reviews patient laboratory results at her desk.
Keisha Potter reviews patient laboratory results at her desk.

What I like best about my job is working with patients and the other nurses, and health care staff. I enjoy being able to learn continuously on the job.

What I like least about my work is that it is easy to become overwhelmed and put personal needs on the bottom of your priority list.

4. My career goals are...

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Keisha Potter tracks patient information using the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS).
Keisha Potter tracks patient information using the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS).

I have several career goals all related to nursing. The first is to continue with my current assignment of assisting in the planning of the nursing perspective for the new health information system at the NIH Clinical Center. This system, the Clinical Research Information System (CRIS), will allow more efficient tracking and storage of patient information for all the health care professionals involved in their care. I am part of a multidisciplinary user group (nurses, doctors, pharmacists, lab and radiology technologists) charged with the responsibility of identifying workflow issues and changes related to the completion of the CRIS. I will be involved in testing the system, training, and ongoing communication to departments regarding new features of the information system. My second career goal is to continue working with and learning more about the solid organ transplant field.

5. When I'm not working, I like to...

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When I’m not working, I like to volunteer for health care activities outside of the work place. For example, I have participated in the National Black Family Reunion held annually on the national mall by taking blood pressures. Recently, I organized a team for the 2nd annual National Kidney Foundation walk. I am very interested in learning more about health care issues that affect minorities in particular and to assisting in minimizing the prevalence in the community. I also just began a tennis class and participating in a mini-walking group. I love to sing karaoke, watch movies, garden and spend time with my family and friends.

6. Nursing is a wonderful profession...

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Keisha Potter's 2003 11-East Outstanding Nurse of the Year award.
Keisha Potter's 2003 11-East Outstanding Nurse of the Year award.

Nursing is a wonderful profession that allows many opportunities and career paths. I am proud of what I have accomplished and how I touch the lives of others. I meet interesting people everyday and am able to leave work with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I recently received the 2003 11-East Outstanding Nurse of the Year award by nominations from my peers. My experiences have taught me to be thankful for life and cognizant of its fragility, and how we can change the perspectives of others through kindness and love.


















































     
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