“My grandfather was a general surgeon, so I grew up around a medical mind and hearing his incredible stories,” said Renee Andrews. “I was probably two years old when Poppa Doc had me try his stethoscope for the first time. I was amazed when I could hear his heart beat so clearly.” That memory stuck with her over the years and was likely the first spark for her interest in medicine.
“Before my bachelor’s degrees, I was convinced I wanted to be an MD in cognitive neuroscience,” said Andrews. For many years that was the path she was on. While obtaining her BA in Spanish and BS in Biology/Psychology, she was heavily involved in research – shadowing neurosurgeons and doctors. “It became evident it wasn’t exactly what I wanted.”
Andrews can’t stress enough the importance of working in the field that you think you want to pursue. “I would have spent years earning a medical degree only to discover that it wasn’t what I wanted. How disappointing that would be,” she said. During her time shadowing, she realized how much more of a people person she is than she thought. “I wanted more human contact,” Andrews said.
She took a step back, earned her EMT license, and began working in the emergency department. “I saw first-hand the different roles there are in health care and that nurses seem to connect more on a personal level with their patients than other professions.”
As an EMT, she supported the nurses – starting EKGs, IVs, wound care, stabilizing the patients, and triaging them to the next level. “It was interesting to see the unique roles each member of the team played and the similarities and differences of each,” she said. To Andrews, the EMT role was similar to the physician – both very task-oriented. Each would jump into a room, get a task completed, and move on quickly. “The nurses seemed to spend more time talking with the patient and the families, which appealed to me.”
Acknowledging that the distinct roles are necessary to provide quality care, Andrews said, “While doctors are amazing, nursing is just a better fit for me.”