Caregiving has been a lifelong passion for ICU nurse

Angel Parker, RN, of St. Jude Nursing–ICU

Angel Parker, RN, of St. Jude Nursing–ICU, speaks with nurses during her shift in the Intensive Care Unit. 

I learned how to care for people at an early age. When I was young, my mother had lung cancer, and my father had a stroke.

I was there for the chemotherapy treatments and took my parents to doctors’ appointments. Because I cared for them both for such a long time, I thought nursing was the career for me.

Both of my parents passed away soon after I started college. I had second thoughts on pursuing nursing because I had been a caregiver for most of my childhood. I thought it might be best to give something else a try. But every time I thought about changing my major, somebody always directed me back to nursing. People would tell me I had a caring heart, and that’s what kept me in nursing.

Before coming to St. Jude, I taught nursing. I always told my students that you can’t put a dollar amount on the care you give.

Today, I am a unit coordinator nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Jude. The most rewarding part of my work is collaborating with others.

As a unit coordinator, I serve as a liaison or helper to other nurses. It’s incredible to have the resources I need to focus on patient care and lead my team of nurses.

In addition, I know if I’m not sure how to handle a situation, I work closely with people in other disciplines with whom I can consult. 

People might wonder how ICU nurses are able to work with critically ill patients every day. From a clinical standpoint, when it looks like there is nothing else we can do, we still do everything we can.

I’ve seen patients go from a point where we thought they were not going to make it to walking out of our doors healthy. This is what keeps me coming back and why I love the work I do at St. Jude.

Angel Parker, RN, is a nursing unit coordinator in the St. Jude Intensive Care Unit.

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