“I Always Felt Like I Was Born to Help People”

“I Always Felt Like I Was Born to Help People”

Allison Kunjappy RN, BSN, SANE-A AICU nurse at Woman’s

“I always felt like I was born to help people.” That is usually my go-to response when someone asks why I chose to be a nurse. Sure, I could use the cliche answer that my mom is a nurse, and since she is my real life superhero, why wouldn’t I want to follow in her footsteps? In reality, it’s just in my blood.

My cousin was in a bad car accident when I first got into nursing school. I believe he is alive today because of the amazing nurses in the trauma ICU where he lived for a month. As soon as I could, I got a job as a nurse tech in that very same unit because they were the angels who saved my cousin. That is when I really saw how powerful a nurse could be.

When I graduated, I became a RN there and learned from the best of the best. I also spend time working for the local coroner as a sexual assault nurse helping victims of sexual assault in the community. Working in an ICU, I got to hold a patient’s hands and watch them wake up and survive, but I also held the hands of the mom who’s teenager who will never wake up. It was a challenge I gladly accepted.

You become the face they remember in their best moment and in their worst.

As I have grown and had kids, I moved to Woman’s Hospital to continue working in an Adult Intensive Care Unit (AICU) because I needed to take a step back from the constant tragedy. I needed something new to work towards and Woman’s AICU cares for a wide variety of care levels ranging from pregnancy related medical emergencies to oncology or end of life care.

That is the glory of nursing; you can pretty much do anything because it is so versatile.

Woman’s Hospital has become home to me in a very short period of time. The Adult Intensive Care Unit here is small and runs on a limited list of employees. We are family, we always have each other’s backs to do what is best for our patients. We grew really close during COVID because our ICU was shut off from the rest of the hospital into our own little “island”.  We saw some scary outcomes but also had some amazing success stories together with our patients.

Going through a pandemic as a nurse was definitely not something for the weak.

The disease and research behind it was so new and changing hour by hour, but with the help of our two amazing critical care physicians I feel like we accomplished a lot of good for our community.

There are so many reasons I chose to become a nurse, but so many more reasons why I choose to stay a nurse: the people you meet, the places you work, the coworkers who become your family.

You never have to stop growing or learning because there really is no stopping point.

You can stay at bedside, work in an office or advance your degree. It is such a selfless and rewarding field. I can’t imagine anywhere else I would rather be. I believe all good things in the world have a nurse somewhere behind them, and I love being a part of someone’s story.

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