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Adult inpatient nurse balances school and work on her mission to provide compassionate care

05/14/18 06:36:pm

Going into nursing was a natural choice for Courtney Pflughoeft, who essentially grew up in a hospital.

Both of Courtney’s parents are physicians; her mom was a psychiatrist at Rogers, and she spent a lot of time with her dad as he made hospital rounds as an OB/GYN. As he would check in on patients, Courtney, then a preschooler, found herself hanging around the nurses’ station. She says that being so comfortable in a hospital was a big influence on her decision to go into nursing and she “liked knowing that people working in the hospital were all there to help others.”

Given Courtney’s personality and compassionate nature, psychiatric nursing then became a good fit. She says she always seemed to be the “advice giver” for her friends.

“My dad would often comment on how my friends would call our house phone, and he could overhear me reassuring others and giving suggestions,” Courtney says. “I knew I wanted to be a nurse, and I knew specifically in behavioral health that I’d have the opportunity to support others during some of the darkest points of their lives.”

Not sure which population she would like to work with, Courtney decided to explorer her career options and gain experience by working as a pool psychiatric technician in Rogers–West Allis while attending nursing school at Alverno College, more than five years ago.

Now, she’s working full time as a registered nurse in the adult inpatient unit and attending school full-time in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program at Alverno to earn her Master’s in nursing.

Through her time at Rogers, she has one particular memory that sticks out more than the rest. A code gray—inclement weather warning—went off during visiting hours for the adult inpatient unit. Patients, family, friends, and staff had to all gather in the hallway outside the unit as part of the safety protocol.

“Everyone went around the room and shared how their day was and how they were currently feeling,” she says. “Everyone participated —it was a time of unity. There was no patient versus mother, father, significant other. It was simply a hallway of people passing time and sharing feelings. It was a very unique experience.”

Between a full-time job and attending school, there isn’t much for free time. However, when she has it, she says that “I love spending time with my husband and playing with our puppy.”

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