Your Name: Sandy Prochaska, MSN, RN
Year that you graduated from Chesapeake College: 2009
Degree or Certification that you received from Chesapeake College: Associate of Science
Current Position/Employer: ER/Inpatient Nurse Manager at Shore Medical Center at Chestertown
What impact did your experience at Chesapeake College have on your life? I had a great experience at Chesapeake College. I was prepared to enter the nursing workforce with all the required clinical skills. The instructors were truly invested in our success and went above and beyond to ensure we were prepared. They enforced accountability and were firm but fair. There was zero tolerance for behaviors outside what was expected. I was an adult student pursuing a second career so I had no problem with that, but I think that is what's missing in some of today's programs. I see tolerance for tardiness, unprofessional behaviors, not making good use of your time, cell phones, dress code, etc., so they enter into workforce with an entitlement and expectation that those behaviors will be tolerated. All those behaviors were enforced during my time at Chesapeake, which I believe has contributed to my success in nursing.
How are you serving your community in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic? I am serving my community by reporting to work every day ready and willing to care for the patients in my community that may have been affected by this horrible virus. I am supporting my nursing staff and providing the necessary resources in order for them to safely care for the patients in the community as well. I have enforced the rules of UMMS that prevent the community from entering the hospital and ensuring transmission is at minimum by social distancing and mask wearing at all times. I am providing families with as many resources as possible to talk or see their loved ones by electronic devices, phones, etc. I want them to have a peace of mind that their loved ones are not alone during their stay and we are giving them the comfort and support they need.
How did your experience at Chesapeake College prepare you for your current career? Chesapeake College gave me the foundation of nursing. Never forget the basics and what matters most to a patient…bath, emotional support, etc. It gave me the confidence and the discipline to reach higher and be the best nurse I can be. I had great role models for instructors that were inspiring and held us accountable for what was expected.
What has been your most rewarding professional achievement/experience since graduating from Chesapeake College? My most rewarding professional achievement since graduating from Chesapeake was completing my MSN in 2018. It was a difficult journey in that the MSN program had to be incorporated into an already busy schedule. Financially, it was a challenge with all the other responsibilities that come with raising college age children, home, pets, etc. I’m so thankful for the financial assistance awarded from my employer and the Chester River Foundation. Their faith in me also contributed to my motivation to succeed in the program.
What advice would you like to give to current or prospective Chesapeake College students? Never give up, no matter how long it takes you. Utilize all your resources in order to succeed. When it feels like no one has it worse than you, talk to a fellow student or co-worker, and inevitably their journey is full of challenges that are often times worse than yours. Make your education the priority and realize the sacrifices you make now will pay off in the end. The pain is worth the gain. Nursing is the most rewarding and gratifying career you could choose and you will be so proud of what you do if you are doing it right.