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Matthew Kovach – Critical Care Nurse

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What is your current title and role?

I am currently a critical nurse in the surgical ICU

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Macomb, Michigan.

Tell us about your professional (medical, nursing, allied health, etc.) school?

I attended Oakland University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. It was a 15 month intense nursing program.  

Tell us about struggles and challenges in achieving your goal and how you overcame?

I had many struggles and challenges. I didn’t always want to become a nurse. Being 27 years old at the time I felt too old to go back to school and felt I needed to have a job. I struggled internally with this, but I had to look at the end goal of what I wanted for my future and for my family. I had to sacrifice a lot of time with family and friends to get through school. Once I graduated, starting in the SICU was another adventure. It was challenging in terms of workload and being a new grad nurse overcoming the “nurses eat their young.” Again, I had to look at my end goal and overcome these challenges by wanting to learn and listen along with just staying on my path. I’m the type of person that looks ahead and always thinks positively. I think that’s the main thing that has helped me get through my journey.

Please share with us about your family and your support group.

My support group is huge. I have very supporting family and siblings, a wife, and very supportive friends. No matter my plan, they were all there to support me and push me forward.

Please share a memorable experience from your training that has stayed with you till today.

I don’t have a specific memorable experience. Every day is a learning day and I truly learn something new every day. If I could give advice, it would be to ask many questions and never be afraid to ask for help.

Please share a memorable teaching moment.

A memorable teaching moment would be training a new nurse how to properly titrate sedatives to control a patient who is agitated. There is almost an instant result and it allows the ventilated patient to receive adequate oxygenation and rest appropriately.

Please share a highlight from your practice/current role.

A highlight from my current role is progressing into a charge nurse role and taking on leadership responsibilities. This shows me my manager believes I can lead a team in a short amount of time and run the unit properly all while having a patient load.

What do you like and dislike the most about working in healthcare?

I like most helping my patients and being able to advocate for them when they can’t. I dislike the lack of communication among some teams.

What are three things that you are grateful for?

I am grateful for my ability to pursue a career I love; receive the education I need and for the opportunity to work in a major city at a trauma 1 center

What excites you outside medicine?

Outside of medicine, what excites me is traveling and spending time with family. Especially if it involves the outdoors.

What advice do you have for students interested in healthcare?

My advice is to do your research and shadow. This will give you the best view of working in healthcare rather than just seeing what is on TV or by word of mouth.

What do you think the student of today needs to be successful in matriculating and graduating from professional school (medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy)?

A successful student needs to be motivated, driven, organized and focused. All of these attributes will help to overcome any obstacles and keep pushing toward your end goal.

How would you advise or guide students to develop leadership skills, community outreach experience, research opportunities and clinical shadowing?

I would advise to get involved with committees or groups at your school and to connect with any professors. These I feel are the best way to network.

How can we support and guide students to achieve good grades and be successful in standardized exams?

We can support and guide students by helping them to identify their most effective form of studying, whether its by recording and listening to lectures, watching videos, or writing notes. Helping to identify these methods will be paramount.