Shriners Children's Texas Nurse Finds a Rewarding Career Providing Compassionate Care
For Justin Koehler, being a nurse is about providing compassionate and innovative care that improves the quality of life for his patients and their families. It’s also about connecting with his patients and helping them feel as comfortable as possible during their hospital stay.
Justin didn’t originally plan to become a nurse, but has now worked for Shriners Children's his entire career, starting over 17 years ago. “I started school for engineering, and then decided to go into pre-med. Then I eventually realized that I didn’t want to wait that long to start working and making money, so I went into nursing,” Koehler said. “I finished nursing school and went to look for a job, and this just fell into my lap. I worked at Shriners for a summer in the tub room as a student professional assistant (SPA), which was kind of like a tech. The SPA program was designed to bring in potential new nurses and give them some training before they officially became hired on.”
After graduation, Justin applied to Shriners Children’s Texas, and started as a bedside nurse. He now manages the tub room, where burn patients’ wounds are cleaned and debrided (removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue). Day to day, like most nurses, Justin faces a physically and emotionally challenging job. But overall, he finds his work at Shriners Children's to be very rewarding.
“Starting in the tub room was pretty rough, but it was interesting because you were able to see children who you know wouldn’t be getting the care they need elsewhere. Shriners is able to give that care to these children, and that’s the amazing thing about what Shriners does,” he said.
Justin finds being a nurse at Shriners Children's deeply meaningful. He prides himself on working for a healthcare system that emphasizes providing quality and personal care to each patient. Justin was recently nominated for a DAISY Award, which honors the best and brightest in nursing. It is awarded to nurses who go above and beyond in providing their patients care. To even be nominated speaks to a nurse’s dedication and compassion for their job.
“I love helping the children. I love that you’re actually making a difference in their lives. I feel like if you had nurses here who didn’t actually want to be here, and they were just here as a job, the children wouldn’t get the quality of care they receive,” he said.
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