Health Careers in Alaska

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Registered Nurse

Alex Taylor


The person… 

As a freshman in high school, Alex Taylor was asked to research two careers. The exercise included participating in an on-line career assessment program, where Alex came upon the field of nursing. She compared the occupations of nursing and restaurant manager. “This is what put the idea in my head that I might want to be a nurse.”

Alex is an Inupiat Eskimo who grew up in Fairbanks, although her family is originally from Shishmaref. She is currently working on her Bachelor of Science degree at UAA’s School of Nursing to become an RN (Registered Nurse). She will complete her degree in the Spring of 2003 and hopes to gain employment at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC). During the summer of 2001, with the assistance of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Summer Internship program, Alex worked in the Med/Surg Unit of ANMC. Alex is currently assisting Dr. Kari Hamrick, a dietitian and researcher with the Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies, in literature searches and data entry.

Recently, Alex learned that she is an IHS scholarship recipient, which will help pay her tuition fees and provide her with a $1084 stipend/month. Congratulations, Alex!

The rewards of the job…

When asked what she likes best about nursing so far, Alex says, “I like helping people feel more comfortable.” During her internship last summer, Alex recalls a patient who was in the hospital for a month and never received visitors. “I felt bad for her and so I started poking my head into her room to say hello. That seemed to really cheer her up and she didn’t complain so much.”

Although Alex finds it rewarding to build relationships with patients, she says it can also be the most challenging part of her job. “Everyone is so different and you have to figure out what each patient needs.”

Advice to students…

To Alaska’s high school students, Alex says, if you want to become a nurse you need to “stick it through. If you can get through all your pre-requisite courses, the nursing classes will be really fun.” She also advises, “pay attention to deadlines! For example, you have to apply a year in advance to nursing school. And there are many scholarships out there for Alaska Natives, but you need to pay attention to those scholarship deadlines.”

And a final piece of advice: “I think that everyone needs to make time for the fun stuff, no matter how busy they are.” Alex takes time for fun by hiking and rock wall climbing. She also enjoys stamping and scrapbooking.

This page was last updated by Janice Troyer on September 09, 2002

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