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ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Making a Difference in the Windy City

Caitlin Golota

Even at an early age, Caitlin Golota knew that nursing was the profession she wanted to pursue. And from the moment she visited the University of Iowa, she understood where she needed to enroll to make this professional ambition a reality.

Golota knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she was bound and determined to put in the necessary work that would eventually lead to her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014. She recently took time to reflect on her days at the college, discuss her new position at a Chicago-area hospital, and offer some great advice for current of future nursing students.

Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a nurse? 
During my childhood, I had a friend who dealt with some chronic health issues. Watching her struggle through those tough times with such strength and resolve made me realize how much I would love to help people with their own health issues.

Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your education?
After I visited the College of Nursing I knew it would be the perfect fit for me. The CON has so many opportunities to offer their students and I knew I would be getting a top-quality education. In addition, I loved the Big Ten school atmosphere in Iowa City!   

What do you remember most about your time as a UI College of Nursing student?
I vividly remember my orientation for the BSN program. I looked around and saw about 60 strangers. Fast forward two years and I was sitting in the Iowa Memorial Union graduating with lifelong friends. Additionally, I had several faculty mentors throughout my years in the nursing program who helped guide me in my journey to becoming a nurse. 

My senior internship on the Pediatric: General, Cardiology, and Medical-Surgical Unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) is another memory that stands out. My preceptor on the unit helped guide and prepare me for life after graduation. She continues to be a one of my biggest mentors today. During the 225 hours of this clinical training, I met some extremely tough kiddos. The special patients on this unit reminded me of why I first chose to become a nurse.

Was there a particular class or instructor that stood out?
My time as a member of the Young Pediatric Nurse Clinician (YPNC) program definitely stands out. Vanessa Kimm, the faculty mentor for YPNC is a great mentor and someone I look up to. This program provided many opportunities to explore the endless opportunities in pediatric nursing.   

Describe how you’re now involved in the profession.
I’m currently a Clinical Nurse at Prentice Women’s Hospital, which is a part of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I accepted a flex nursing position and therefore work on the Postpartum Unit and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Prentice has been an outstanding place to learn as it has the capacity to accommodate more than 13,000 births every year.        

Do you believe your educational experience at UI enhanced your preparation for this role?
Absolutely! UI’s College of Nursing definitely prepared me for life as an RN. The classes taught coincided with simulations and practical experiences, all of which prepared me for this position. Having clinicals at UIHC was a huge asset that helped prepare me for a nursing position, especially at another educational institution. 

What words of advice would you offer to current or future nursing students?
Work hard, seek out opportunities, and never forget why you entered this profession! Nursing school is challenging, but when you have the drive and work ethic to be successful, you will succeed. On the tough days just remember what’s at the finish line: a nursing degree from one of the best nursing programs in the country!   

The opportunities that are available at Iowa are unique. Take advantage of them! Seek out these opportunities to explore all aspects of nursing and this will provide you with a well-rounded education.

Sometimes it is easy to get caught up, stressed out, and just plain tired in this profession.  That’s the time to take a step back and think about why you chose to be a nurse. Nursing is more than a job, it’s a passion, and that should not be forgotten. 

What’s next for Caitlin Golota?
I just finished my first month at Prentice, so for now I am trying to take everything in as part of the transition from being a student to becoming a registered nurse. I am learning a lot every day and I am seeking out mentors at Northwestern. I plan to return to school to pursue an advanced nursing degree after working for a couple years.      

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Posted On: 
Nov 7th, 2014