“Nursing has been a blessing to me and my family that has allowed me to travel the globe and care for the sickest of the sick across the lifespan.” Scott DeBoer RN, MSN, CPEN, CEN, CCRN, CFRN is a nurse leader with more than 20 years of experience. Currently, he serves as a flight nurse for the University of Chicago Hospitals. He is also a founder of Peds-R-Us Medical Education, a seminar company interested in enhancing the care of children.
DeBoer wrote the Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse Review book, which is now in its third edition, as well a body piercing removal handbook, and a book on emergency care for newborns. He earned his master's degree in critical care nursing from Purdue University in 1996 and spent time there as a clinical nursing instructor.
As our next Nurse On the Move, DeBoer is eager to promote the nursing profession and offer his views on nursing education, pediatric care, and the future of nursing.
Q: Why did you choose nursing as a profession?
A: I grew up thinking I was going to be a pediatrician, however, after several orthopedic injuries in high school and way too much time spent in the ER, I learned to love the nurses and not be so enthralled with the physicians. Nursing has been an absolutely amazing career.
Q: What attracted you to the career of a flight nurse?
A: Very early in my career, the flight team picked up a 3-month old child in status epilepticus from our ER. I was freaking out to say the least, as I’d never given Valium to anyone that small in my life. The flight crew was nothing short of amazing; I knew from that point on that flight/transport nursing was what I wanted to do as a career.
Q: How important is it for nurses to continue their education?
A: I would say education is crucial, especially for nurses just entering the profession. A bachelor's degree is essential. I work with many incredibly skilled paramedics who obtained their associate's degree in nursing from local community colleges, however, they can't get nursing jobs as many hospitals won't even interview without a bachelor's degree.
Q: Why is pediatric emergency care important to you?
A: Simply, I don't really like taking care of big people. If have a choice, I prefer taking care of sick kids – kids are amazing. They tend to get really sick, really fast, which of course can be scary, but, when they get better, they get better really fast as well. They haven't had years of bad habits (Burger King, beer, etc.) to result in their illness or injuries. They're good kids who’ve bad things happen to them. I just try to help them (and their families) get better.
Q: For a nurse starting out, what would be your number one piece of advice?
A: Beyond getting your bachelor's, it's not being afraid to ask questions of experienced nurses on the unit. The idea that there is no stupid question, especially when it applies to patient care, is really true. What you learned in school is a very, very small part of what you learn on the job from everyone from housekeeping and unit secretaries (they are truly invaluable) to the chief of surgery. Everyone has something they are an expert at and most times are willing (and happy) to teach, if asked by those honestly desiring to learn.
Q: What do you see as a major obstacle/problem in the current nursing environment?
A: The electronic medical record epidemic – they aren’t going anywhere. I know this and have resigned myself to this fact, however, I truly miss the ability to sit on the patient's bed, look them in the eye, and get a quick history. In many facilities, I have to look at a computer screen bolted to the wall while trying to talk to the patient or their family in another part of the room. This is not ideal – the focus needs to be on the patient and their family, not on clicking computer keys.
Q: What do you envision for the future of nursing?
A: I envision an ongoing advancement in the roles of advanced practice nurses, especially with continued financial considerations and changes in healthcare reimbursement. On the transport medicine side, more patients will be transported by ambulance versus helicopters, and emergency departments will continue to see more patients, as access to primary care practitioners remains an issue.
*Do you know an inspiring nurse to be featured for the next Nurse On the Move? Email your submissions to ClinicalEditor@NursingCenter.com.