PHS alumna spends summer shadowing in Andalusia Health ER.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Pleasant Home High School alumna Ashley Waldhour decided to participate in the Andalusia Health shadowing program to further her experience as a nursing student.

Waldhour is going into her second semester of nursing school at Auburn University in Montgomery.

She said that she wanted to go into nursing because she has always been around it.

“My mom is an OBGYN nurse,” Waldhour said. “So I was definitely surrounded by that type of lifestyle my entire life. I just enjoy helping people. Which, I guess you have to if you want to go into this profession. I really do find joy in knowing that we are who other people turn to get the best care that they can get. Just knowing that I can be a person to give that care helps me know that I am doing what I’m supposed to.”

Waldhour knew that she wanted to spend her summer shadowing. So, she emailed the education coordinator at Andalusia Health, Brooke Greathouse.

“We have a break during our first semester and our second semester,” Waldhour said. “So I knew that I needed to do something productive. I did a hospital experience with Andalusia Health three years ago. So, I knew that they had shadowing opportunities. I just emailed Brooke and she told me to turn in an application.”

The one thing that Waldhour figured out along the way is how much they actually teach during the shadowing program.

“I went in just thinking that I would see a bunch of weird, gross stuff,” Waldhour said. “But they really take you in and make sure that you understand the ins and outs of what it really takes to do your job well.”

Waldhour spent her shadowing experience under emergency room nurse Melissa Collins.

“Melissa did a good job showing me how to work in a fast paced environment,” Waldhour said. “She showed me how to do things in a timely manner because the ER is a place where you definitely have to do things fast and quick and you always have to be on your toes. Melissa did above and beyond what she could do just to make sure that I understood not only how you do things, but why you do it.”

When Waldhour goes back to school, she believes that this program will help her in her studies.

“I honestly believe that I will be above and beyond everybody else when I go back to school because of this program,” Waldhour said. “I think it will also help in clinical labs as well, because I got so much hands-on experience. I mean, I had my first clinical experience last semester and I did well because I am a people person, but I feel like I will do better now that I have experience with the grosser aspects of nursing.”

Looking forward, the overall goal for Waldhour is to become an emergency room nurse.

“First, I want to finish school and pass, of course,” Waldhour said. “I started out wanting to be a psychiatric nurse, but through the ER, I saw that I will get plenty of psychiatric patients. I just love the fast pace mentality and variety of the ER. So, hopefully, I will find an ER that fits me and make this a lifestyle. This is more than just a degree to me.”

Greathouse said that one of the main reasons they provide the program is because of their vision for leadership.

“We want to be able to open doors for opportunities,” Greathouse said. “We want anybody in the community who is interested to be able to see first hand what goes on in the hospital, what it takes and if it is something they are truly interested in. If a student really wants to go into healthcare, we want to be able to give them a chance to see if they truly like it, because we don’t want them to be four years down the road with a degree that they don’t want to use.”