Wake Tech and the challenges they gave me there, opened my mind up to my own strengths.
Wake Tech Community College Grad
Certified Emergency Nurse at WakeMed
A few years ago, Will McPhatter had an experience at a hospital in the Marshall Islands that changed his life. He worked alongside a talented nurse and together, the two helped save a diabetic patient’s limb – and possibly her life – by treating her with dive chamber therapy.
“I said, ‘This is what I was meant to do,’” Will recalled.
He also followed the footsteps of his mother, a nurse. He didn’t want to go to a four-year university and take on debt that would follow him into his 30s. He entered Wake Tech’s nursing program, and there he blossomed as a student.
“Wake Tech, and the challenges they gave me there, opened my eyes up to my own strengths,” he said.
The faculty helped Will understand that he was a visual learner, and later on, he did the same with fellow students when he tutored them.
“I really gave it my all,” he said. “I gained pride in myself.”
While at Wake Tech, he had an internship in the Intensive Care Unit at Duke University Hospital. Later, he landed a job in the Emergency Department at WakeMed, where he had previously served as a medical technician. He likes the pace of the emergency room. “It’s hectic,” he said, “but it’s the fastest way to learn.”
Not only does he see patients on their worst day, he said, “I get to be the first person that really makes that difference, that sits down and talks with them, explains things to them. I have a lot of capacity for good at that position. I’m really happy I get to do that.”
He is now a certified emergency nurse, and he will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from UNC Charlotte this year. His goal is to become a Certified Nurse Practitioner.
When the coronavirus hit, Will was asked to be a team leader in the quarantine tents outside WakeMed, where he is screening and treating COVID-19 patients.
The pandemic has added layers of complexity to an already complex job: critical care and lots of it, as well as strict protocols for protecting himself and others from the virus. He said he is humbled by the challenge, but also ready for it.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is my calling,” Will said. “It’s a job that inspires me to bring my best every day.”