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What I Know Now: Cara Darnell

I am a Registered Nurse at Jackson Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. My day-to-day job consists of assessing, monitoring, and managing the care of critically ill patients.

hometown: Daphne, AL 

career: I am a Registered Nurse at Jackson Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. My day-to-day job consists of assessing, monitoring, and managing the care of critically ill patients. As an ICU nurse, it is my responsibility to know and understand how to properly and safely care for patients, to be able to identify any acute changes in conditions, and to collaborate with according health care members. 

education: My first year of college, at Troy University, was full of fun, between moving away and gaining independence, to working full time until I began the nursing program. AUM was a much smaller campus, which allowed me to focus more on my school work and commute back and forth and work. Overall, I believe the best thing about college is learning a lot about yourself. You really learn how to balance your responsibilities with a newfound independence. 

growing up: My parents always pushed me to do my best in school and to never settle. I can recall getting a B on an assignment and feeling happy but my parents saying. “Well you could have gotten an A,” never in a rude way, but always in a manner to tell me to push myself to be the best I can be. They were always proud no matter what.  Looking back, I am thankful they instilled a strong work ethic at a young age and taught me to always work hard for what I want. I couldn’t have made it without them. 

eye opener: College professors are very different than high school teachers! The main difference is that attending class in college won’t be mandated, but if you choose not to go, the professors don’t mind choosing to fail you without a heads up. Don’t expect to skip your music appreciation class for two months straight and still be able to show up and pass the final. It doesn’t work like that…and that’s coming from someone who tried! 

secret to success: I credit the constant support and encouragement from my parents and husband. They have always supported my decisions over the years and let me know when I needed to become more focused on my goals, and they were never afraid to tell me the reality of the world and what they expected of me. They always believed in me and exemplified what a true relationship and support system looked like. 

advice for teens: Don’t let your high school drama follow you into college. Ask yourself often, “Will this matter or benefit me in five years?” Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or be afraid of rejection. Always pursue what you want most in life! 

advice for parents: Let your kids make their own career choices even if it is different from your own, and don’t push too hard to make them feel like they must immediately attend college. I think it is okay to take a little time to figure out what someone may want to do for the rest of their life, because that is a large decision to make at 17-18 years old. 

future focus: I would like to return to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. But being a nurse of only 2 years, I am still learning and enjoying my role as an RN.  

can’t live without: 

  1. My husband and family
  2. My dogs
  3. Buffalo chicken

downtime: My favorite thing to do outside of work is makeup—I spend entirely too much money on it! My husband and I are also big movie fanatics.  

 

 

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