Today@Sam Article

Alumni Q&A: Inspiration From The Nursing Frontlines

Feb. 26, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

Breann Emshoff received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Sam Houston State University in 2019. Upon graduation, this Tomball, Texas, native became the first in her family to pursue a career in healthcare. Today, she works full-time as a bedside nurse on a neuro/COVID medical surgical floor at the Houston Methodist-The Woodlands Hospital. According to her direct supervisor, Emshoff is a shining star in her unit and has already received multiple accolades, including being named one of the “Top 150 Nurses in Houston” by the Houston Chronicle.

“We are thrilled to recognize and highlight Breann as an outstanding nurse from our organization and alum from SHSU,” said Sarah Fleming, associate chief nursing officer at the hospital. “Breann’s enthusiasm and positivity is infectious. She is a leader on her unit. She supports, guides and drives patient outcomes with her team. She is their cheerleader and biggest fan,” Fleming said. “She brought light to 2020 and was recognized as a Good Samaritan Award winner for 2020. This is a huge honor for new nurses and is an award where the nomination comes from her peers.”

Now, as she continues to embrace her role as a nurse, Emshoff reflects on her healthcare journey with Today@Sam.

Breann Emshoff.1T@S: Current Occupation/Where do you work?

BE: RN II at Houston Methodist-The Woodlands Hospital 

T@S: What are your work hours?

BE: I work full time on my unit, which means I work a minimum of three 12-hour shifts in one week.

T@S: When did you decide you wanted to enter the medical field?

BE: I knew I wanted to join the medical field around sophomore year of high school. Nursing really peaked my interest during my senior year which allowed me to begin college directing my courses and line of study towards a Bachelor in Nursing degree.

T@S: What do you love about it? 

BE: I love that the medical field is challenging and ever changing. I enjoy medicine and what it is capable of accomplishing. I wanted a career where I could not only help people but show up to work and no two days would be the same. I wanted something where I would be able to tackle a new challenge of a different situation almost every time I’d step into work. A career where I’m always learning and adapting to situations and different trends. Nursing definitely meets all those criteria for me. 

T@S: Thoughts on being named one of the Top 150 Nurses in Houston?

BE: The moment I heard the news was absolutely unreal. A complete dream. I truly thought it was a mistake. Somehow, someone saw something in a very young and self-doubting nurse that she didn’t see in herself. My favorite part of this process is this award has made me realize that I’m doing something right and has allowed me to have confidence in myself as a nurse and in my patient care. This award proved to me that I am capable of providing excellent, compassionate care to others and for that I am so grateful.

T@S: What have been the challenges of working as a nurse during COVID-19?

BE: Working during the pandemic has branded an emotional, physical and mental fatigue on myself and my peers. The constant anxiety of what uncertainty we may face during our 12+ hour shift, being terrified of bringing something home to our loved ones, attempting to adapt to continually changing hospital policies, the lack of proper PPE, low staffing and higher acuity patients with higher expectations from patients, physicians and management are just some of the challenges that healthcare workers have faced.

T@S: How has your education at SHSU prepared you to work in a global pandemic?

BE: I don’t think that anyone could really be prepared to work, especially as a new nurse, in a global pandemic but I truly do owe many things to the SHSU School of Nursing. While my time management, prioritization, crucial conversation techniques and assessment skills have progressed as I’ve grown as a practicing registered nurse and have strengthened through this pandemic, they began while in the nursing program at Sam Houston. 

New.Be.1T@S: What advice would you give to those aspiring to go into nursing?

BE: Nursing is not for everyone. Your stomach will definitely become a little stronger and it will wear and test you and stretch your emotions to their limits but somehow you keep coming back for the next shift. So truly do some soul searching to see if you’re able to care for someone else and to place their safety, health and comfort first and advocate for them when they aren’t able to do it for themselves. If you do decide to commit your time, your money, your energy and a bit of your sanity to this profession, you will not regret it. The satisfaction and pure triumph of adding the letters RN behind my name is well worth all of the struggle and stress that led me to where I am.

T@S: In your opinion, why are nurses important in healthcare?

BE: To say that nurses are the backbone of healthcare, I feel, is an understatement. The amount of time we spend with patients; assessing them, discussing their plan of care, advocating for them, gives us the unique ability to insightfully assist in the coordination of their care, both interdependently with other care providers and independently. All of this while providing compassionately attentive care. Nurses’ assessments are the eyes and ears for physicians as we have the ability and duty to notify them of a patient’s status to ensure safe, excellent patient care.

T@S: What does SHSU’s motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service” mean to you?

BE: To me, the SHSU’s motto means that as I am capable of doing so, I should devote myself to care for and serve others and, as a nurse, I do carry that opportunity. My personal goal each shift is to make a difference, however seemingly insignificant, for at least one of my patients or their families. If I am able to do so, I feel an immense sense of pride that I have been able to fully serve that person.

T@S: Is there anything about your nursing journey that you would like elaborate on?

BE: The knowledge and experiences that this profession has taught me is priceless. I feel that nursing is a part of me, part of my identity and I feel such ecstatic pride to state and have the honor to call myself a nurse. I am so thankful for the opportunities and relationships that this profession has given to me so far. I have made the most heartfelt and sincere bonds with some of my patients and coworkers, and I’ve made lifelong friends in nursing school that I know I already owe so much to this profession. Simply put, I look forward to the years and opportunities in nursing that are to come.

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