Operating Room Nurse, Penn Transplant Institute

Robin Wesley headshot

"I can't believe I get paid for what I do. Every day I'm able to help people and be part of a team that is changing lives. We did rotations on different units during nursing school, but the Operating Room, the OR, really held my attention. I was impressed with the nurses and how the rest of the surgical team worked together. I've scrubbed into heart and lung transplants, but now my focus is on livers and kidneys.

In the OR, you care for one patient at a time, which I like. When my patients come through the doors, I want them to feel comfortable, I want them thinking happy thoughts. I have a series of questions that I am required to ask them - part of protocol - but I also talk to them about special things, like how many kids they have or their favorite music. My time with them is short, I want to make it count.

I tend to get hyped up for each transplant surgery, it will never be routine for me. Every surgery is different, every patient is different. The atmosphere in the OR is sometimes tense and other times calm. Most incredible is how well we all work together - the transplant team is a well-oiled machine – each person's role important, each of us anticipating what is needed, one hand always helping the other.

Before becoming a nurse, for seven years I was a singer with the USO, the organization that keeps members of the US Military connected to the people and things they love. I wasn't a Mariah Carey, but I got to see the world, make people smile and have a positive impact. Eventually I figured I should grow up and decide what to do with my life. I'm still making people smile and my work now definitely has a positive impact. I've never regretted my career choice: I get to help people and do something I love."

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