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Cynthia Thygesen, RN, MSN, ENP, FNP-BC, nurse practitioner at Central Texas Urgent Care in Waco, Tex.

October 2013

Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing and why?

A. I decided to become a nurse after working for a number of years in ancillary positions and respiratory therapy. I felt I had an understanding of the demands of nursing, and when I became a single mom, I decided to go for it.

I completed my degrees one at a time and have worked full-time during my education. I believe that my prior job experience helped me to have a better understanding of the value of each discipline as it relates to patient care.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your profession?

A. I have found that I most enjoy meeting and interacting with my patients, and helping them to choose a plan of care that will improve their health. Each patient has a unique story to share and valuable lessons to teach providers. In the urgent care setting, you have a short amount of time to develop a relationship with your patients – it’s important to take advantage of each opportunity to teach and share information about their care.

Q. What has been the greatest moment of your career?

A. There are many moments that shape a career in nursing. One that stands out for me is when I cared for the family member of an acquaintance. He was at the end of his life, and the family so appreciated the care given, as well as the support to allow them to spend the last few days with a loved one and take away positive memories of a difficult time. There are numerous opportunities as a nurse to provide comfort, whether it is physical care or just taking the time to coax a smile from a patient having a difficult time.

Q. What advice would you offer to nurses interested in working in an urgent care clinic?

A. For the urgent care setting, I would recommend diversity in training and experience. This setting is similar to the Emergency Room (ER) in that you can never be sure what challenge is coming next. A positive attitude, willingness to work and ability to adapt to change is helpful. Our day may begin with sore throats and ear aches, but may end with having to stand by and await Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for a patient with chest pain or suspected stroke.

I think that urgent care has the best of all worlds in that we get to treat a variety of patients – that helps us stay engaged and keep learning as we go.

Q. How has nursing impacted your life?

A. Nursing has positively impacted my life as it has allowed me to support my family, continue my education and advance in a career that I love. I am very fortunate to look forward to each day I go to work and at the end of the day know that I have helped someone.

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