Mohawk Valley In Good Health newspaper senior staff correspondent Barbara Pierce spoke with licensed practical nurse Brianna Schneider, office nurse for the Falcon Clinic for Health, Wellness & Recovery in New Hartford. The Falcon Clinic is a primary care clinic.
Q.: How did you become involved in a nursing career?
A.: I wanted to become a nurse since I was a young girl, because both of my parents struggled with medical conditions. My mother had breast cancer and my father has Type 2 diabetes. From a very young age, I wanted to help people.
At the age of 16, I started out as a certified nurse assistant. When I was in my senior year of high school, I decided to apply for the LPN program through Oneida County BOCES and was accepted. I worked as a CNA until I became a nurse at age 19.
Q.: What training did it take to become an LPN?
A.: The program through Oneida County BOCES is an 11-month program with 1,260 hours of schooling and training. It started with 11 weeks of classroom work, learning about anatomy, physiology, different systems of the body, and lab skills. Then the focus was on hands-on work and learning clinical skills. My clinical experience took place at area skilled nursing facilities and hospitals.
Q.: Is this position what you expected it would be when you were in nursing school?
A.: No, it’s not what I expected. I’ve learned so much more on the job since I completed the nursing program.
At the Falcon Clinic in New Hartford, we offer osteopathic treatment for various musculoskeletal disorders, primary care, acupuncture, addiction treatment, and hepatitis C treatment.
I didn’t know anything about osteopathy at all before I took this position. Now, I have a good understanding about the philosophy of this branch of alternative medicine.
When I completed school three years ago, I first worked at a nursing home. That job just wasn’t for me. This job is a good fit for me.
Q.: What is a typical day like for you?
A.: A typical day for me starts at 7:40 a.m. I go into the office to get the rooms ready for patients with a thorough cleaning. Next, I get charts ready for patients that are scheduled for that day. The patients start coming in at 8 a.m. Office staff sees anywhere from 25 to 50 patients per day.
A lot of people think office nurses don’t really do much, but we do. I’m busy all day working with patients, doing telephone triage and making phone calls. I also do injections; there are days when I do 10 to 15 injections. I also assist with minor procedures like cyst extraction and skin tag removals.
Q.: What do you like best about your career?
A.: What I love about my job is that every day is different. I wouldn’t like a job where I did the same thing over and over, day after day.
The best days for me are when I see patients who come in for osteopathic manipulative medicine and they tell me their pain is getting better or it’s completely gone.
And I like that I’ve learned a lot about the job.
(Editor’s note: The philosophy of osteopathic medicine is to promote the body’s natural tendency toward self-healing and health.)
Q.: What are the challenges of this career?
A.: There are some challenges. It can be difficult to help people. It can be especially difficult trying to help people with addiction diseases. Occasionally, individuals do succumb to their disease, and that makes it tough. But it makes me want to help more.
Q.: What characteristics should one have to succeed in this career?
A.: To succeed as an LPN, you need to be a caring person, warm hearted, and a person who cares about other people. And you can’t be doing it just for the money; there are a lot of other things you can do and earn more money.
Q.: Is there anything you wish to add?
A.: Being a nurse doesn’t make you just a nurse. It makes you a counselor, a teacher, a patient advocate, and a leader. Nursing is my greatest skill, but caring is forever my passion.
For more information on the Falcon Clinic, visit http://www.falconclinic.com or call 315-507-4751.