Nursing at a Higher Level
Michelle Wall graduated from Ameritech College of Healthcare with an Associate Degree in Nursing in 2012. Early in her nursing career, she had the opportunity to become a traveling operating room (OR) nurse.
During a three and a half year stint, Michelle lived and worked in 7 states and 1 US Territory. Michelle learned how to be an effective nurse while in difficult circumstances, such as working with no power, no running water, and lack of supplies needed for patient care. Michelle leaned heavily on her skills and training to get through difficult travel assignments.
In June of 2016, Michelle took a travel assignment at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, NV, as a Charge Nurse in Nevada’s largest hospital and trauma center with 23 operating rooms.
Michelle was intimidated and humbled by her new assignment and learned quickly to rely on her previous experiences. “I was scared to death, but knew if I could do this, I could literally do anything, “says Michelle.
During her first three months, Michelle was handed every scenario imaginable – lack of staff, trauma after trauma coming in, coding patients, unhappy surgeons and argumentative staff – and the list goes on and on. She had to be quick on her feet and learn how to keep the surgeons calm, staff productive and patients comforted. Little did she know, each experience and previous assignments were preparing Michelle both professionally and mentally for the events of October 1, 2017.
Las Vegas Shooting of October 1, 2017 was the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Arriving to the operating room that night overwhelmed with countless patients being rushed in, Michelle recalls thinking, “Who am I to manage and run this casualty event?” Followed quickly by, “You can do this! You already have the tools you need. These patients and your staff are counting on you!” In that moment, she instantly knew which nurse and which surgical tech have to go where, and which patient they have to care for. Michelle ran ten rooms for twelve hours straight. They were mainly orthopedic, vascular, and general surgery cases. Several patients came and went multiple times.
The work was never ending, and it was exhausting emotionally, mentally, and physically. All hospital employees from housekeeping to physicians worked together to ensure that every patient was taken care of in a quick and efficient manner. Nurses and OR techs from other local hospitals showed up to help. Doctors called and offered their services. Community came together by offering donations to keep the out-of-town victims nourished and supported during their hospital stay.
Michelle says, “Each moment was being orchestrated on a higher level; the decisions I had to make moment-to-moment would ultimately affect the life or death of these patients. Every assignment and experience I had prior to Las Vegas prepared me for taking on that role.”
Thrown in a middle of dealing with its aftermath, Michelle will never forget that day. She believes that miracles occurred that night and in the days that followed, and that everything she had learned up to that point in her career was to get OR staff, surgeons, victims and herself through that experience.
To say Michelle loves nursing is an understatement. It’s her passion. After 10 years of living her dream out in the world, Michelle yearned to be back home with family, and returned to St George, UT where she currently enjoys spending time with her little nieces and nephews and, of course, being a Registered Nurse at the St. George Surgical Center.
We are proud to call Michelle one of our esteemed Ameritech Alumni.