Interview with a nurse/career development coordinator

With the growth of emerging specialties in nursing, nurses are faced with an array of new career opportunities.  While there is still a predominant need for nurses to work in traditional settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health, and education, various health care trends have presented nurses with a new array of career opportunities.

With population changes and technological advances nurses can now work in diverse arenas such as health related research, informatics, sales, and content writing–and other settings. While nursing is a dynamic, expansive profession that changes with the needs of the population, deciding on a career path can seem like a daunting task for those considering a career in nursing,  as well as many practicing nurses.

sherry-conderIf you are interested in learning more about the unique positions nurses can hold this interview will give you a glimpse into the unique experiences of modern day nurses.

Here Sherry Conder, a professional nurse, shares how she has had an exciting and rewarding vocation outside and inside the hospital setting. With a career in nursing that spans two decades, she discusses her experience as a professional nurse, current role as a career development coordinator, and offers insight into the future of nursing.


1) Can you summarize your nursing career over the last 20 years?

“My career in nursing over the last 20 years has included OR Nursing, School Nursing, teaching in a Surgical Technology Program, and currently managing various healthcare programs at a local career technology center. I am a Certified Surgical Technologist as well as a Registered Nurse, and I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration.

I had taught in the surgical technology program for several years when my current job became open.  I talked with the campus director in length regarding this job, and we felt that many of the skills acquired throughout nursing and my years of teaching would make me a good fit for this position, in particular my organization skills I developed in the operation room.

The main focus of my current job is instructor support, customer service, curriculum management, operations and program development.  I manage programs taught by nurses, such as the Nurse Refresher program that is designed as a short term course for nurses re-entering the field who have many times taken a break from nursing to raise children.  I also manage other short term non-nursing programs such as Medical Coding, Phlebotomy and Pharmacy Tech.  This job is multi-faceted, and requires a great deal of patience and organizational ability.”

2) Why did you decide to become a nurse?

“There are several reasons I chose nursing as my profession.  I felt back then and still do, that nursing would provide what I needed in a job I would be doing for many years.

I needed to know that if I was going to work hard to be good at my job, it had to provide purpose for me, and nursing certainly does that.  Stability was another factor in choosing this field.  I have not been without a job since I passed my NCLEX many years ago.”

3) With the current need for more nurses, what do you think is the most important health care concern today?

“We are experiencing such rapid changes in the business of healthcare, which has changed dramatically since I started my first job in the hospital setting in the early 80’s.  I think the most important concern is controlling cost.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if there is a feasible solution to this monster.”

4) What types of skills (e.g. clinical, research, problem-solving etc.) do you use in your current position?

“My current position is more administrative in nature.  I use daily the skills of critical thinking learned many years ago in nursing school, problem solving, and client service.”

5) What do you like most about your current position?

“I enjoy that I am in a small way, developing and providing programs for those interested in entering the healthcare field.”

6) What do you think is the least favorable part of your job?

“Being out of the clinical setting.”

7) What advise do you have for those interesting in pursuing a career in nursing?

“I would say go into this field with passion, and eagerness to learn.  I would recommend exploring all the different areas available out there to find the suitable niche. While I think it is important to provide an employer adequate time in a job after they have trained a nurse, I would not hesitate exploring different areas of nursing if I were starting my career fresh today.”