Education at Work
Courtney Caton, RN, BSN, CEN, TCRN
Courtney Caton, RN, BSN, CEN, TCRN, discovered she wanted to be an emergency nurse when she was just 16. As a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) for four years at her local fire department in Stafford County, Caton saw emergency nurses in action and was deeply inspired by the way they worked together as a team.
“Going into the ERs I saw the interaction the nurses had with each other and the patients and the physicians, so that’s when I decided to go to nursing school,” she says.
A year after she graduated from Mountain View High School in Stafford, Virginia, Caton became the first person in her family to earn a nursing degree. And that was just the beginning of her education. When she joined the Emergency Department at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, she was guided by a preceptor for a 12-week orientation, then launched into a year of intensive emergency training provided by the hospital.
For Caton, being a nurse at a hospital that encourages advancement and provides degree opportunities and tuition reimbursement is rewarding and fulfilling. She recently completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Mary Washington and looks forward to obtaining her master’s degree as a nurse educator. She also has obtained her RN3, Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN) certifications and is encouraging others to earn theirs as well.
“Education is very important, especially the specialty certifications, because it defines somebody as educated in their specific area of interest,” says Caton. “Inova Fairfax Hospital is very supportive in providing education and tuition reimbursement for nurses.”
An active member of the Education Committee, Caton, who works from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., teaches classes to new graduates and experienced nurses and serves as a preceptor for new nurses joining the ER team.
Favorite part of the job
“My favorite part of being a nurse is the teamwork at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, and the thing I like most about the ER is you just don’t know what to expect so you have to be able to act on anything.”
Favorite memory from nursing in the ER
“I took care of a trauma patient who had been in a motor vehicle accident, and it was several months later that a gentleman stopped me in the hallway of the ER. He remembered my name and said I had taken care of him in the trauma bay, and that I was able to stay calm and it helped him to stay calm and that it was reassuring.”
A Day in the Life Of ER nurse Courtney Caton
7:30 a.m. – Wake and walk dogs, and feed dogs and cats
8:30 a.m. – Get ready for work
9:30 a.m. – Leave for work; grab a chai tea latte at Starbucks
10:45 a.m. – Arrive at work, prepare for work shift
11:00 a.m. – Begin work
11:30 p.m. – Finish work, drive home
12:30 a.m. – Take care of dogs and cats
1:00 a.m. – Sleep