The Northside Difference

Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse Tawana W. started at Northside Hospital six years ago as a Cath Lab intern – with 20 years of nursing experience.

It may sound crazy, but Northside’s Cath Lab intern training program was exactly what Tawana was looking for. After nearly two decades of nursing experience, our program offered her the chance to build a new skill set.

“In order to do what I’m doing, you need specialized training and in this day and time, hospitals usually want people who already have experience,” she said. “But Northside was looking for nurses with a critical care background that had a desire to learn Cath Lab. I thought I could get the training I needed, and I did.”

Tawana, who is often told she’s an “adrenaline junkie,” wanted to take her nursing career in a different direction.

“I started out in critical care ICU, and I’ve had numerous jobs during my nursing career,” she said. “I wanted to branch out. After doing ICU – I’ve done ICU, burns, medical ICU, a lot – I figured the best step for me would be the Cardiac Cath Lab.”

Today, Tawana believes she got everything she came for at Northside Hospital.

“I feel like I am among the best!” Tawana said. “We have a strong team, we have strong leadership, I feel like they are very supportive of their staff. The people that I work with are very family-oriented and supportive of each other. It’s the best environment and setting for me at this point in my career.”

Tawana says that anyone who wants to join the Northside family shouldn’t forget about non-traditional approaches to getting here. The willingness to do something a bit different, mixed with a dash of perseverance, can work wonders.

“See what opportunities there are for internship and training,” she said. “Northside has requirements, and you need to understand and learn what the Northside expectation is. And don’t give up! If it doesn’t happen, find out why, improve, and then reapply.”

It will be worth it! Northside, Tawana says, is a special place.

“It’s a great environment to work in! It’s a growing, progressive hospital that’s branching out into other areas. The education, the training initiatives that they have in place…it’s all around a good hospital to work for. I have no regrets!”

After six years working with us, Tawana knows what works at Northside – and also what doesn’t.

“You have to be open-minded and receptive to training when you are learning a job – you have to be able to receive direction without having your feelings hurt,” she said. “People who usually don’t succeed aren’t open-minded or receptive to change, which is especially important in today’s environment where things change so fast.”

Although she sees herself as an older, seasoned nurse, Tawana is still excited about her future at Northside and the opportunities working here could create.

“From my standpoint, I see myself either branching out into leadership or education,” she said. “I used to work on the industry side doing education, so the options are open! I just have to see which direction I want to go. Northside encourages you to get advanced degrees as well, so that’s a strong option for me as well.”

Whatever her next step, Tawana is happy to be where she is and doing what she’s doing right now.

“I like the leadership in the cardiology department, from the VP to the director all the way to my clinical coordinator,” she said. “You know what, I enjoy going to work! When you enjoy who you work with, It makes a difference, I’ve been in environments where you get up and you dread going to work – and I don’t feel like that at Northside. I work with a very excellent team.”