Member Spotlight: Randy T. McGonigal, Sr.
The nurse-patient relationship is one of the most sacred, fundamental, and foundational aspects of nursing. Rather than rushing to respond, it is important to listen, understand, and empathize.
I would tell a new-to-practice RN to join at least one specialty nursing organization and read at least one specialty nursing journal.
Randy, tell us about yourself.
I work full-time nights on 4-South, which is a combination unit at Riddle Hospital in Media, PA. We care for orthopedic, spine, general medical, general surgical, and telemetry or cardiac patients. 4-South is one of the best—if not the best—unit to start on for new graduate nurses or nurses who are starting or restarting hospital nursing. The patient population is so diverse that we remain current on an array of nursing skills, knowledge, and protocols. There is always someone asking a question and a team of support to help us through those nights when everything seems to go wrong.
I was a patient care technician and monitor technician for 14 years before finishing my ADN at Delaware County Community College (DCCC) and passing the NCLEX. During that time, I became very interested in cardiology, electrophysiology, and critical care nursing. My current specialties are ortho with a focus on spines and telemetry nursing. I completed my BSN through Drexel University in March. The program enabled me to take one online class at a time throughout the year while simultaneously completing nursing courses and clinicals through DCCC. In September, I’ll return to school as I embark on an MSN in nursing education at Drexel.
My hobbies are work and school—just kidding! I have four kids and my fifth is due in June. I love playing guitar, singing, and song writing. I’m starting to get back into the open-mic night scene and will be performing at various pubs and coffeehouses. I will also begin volunteering at Community Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) in West Chester this summer.
How did you become a member of PSNA?
My DCCC nursing professors shared how if every nurse was automatically enrolled in their state professional nursing association and the ANA, our legislative power would be unmatched and influential. That stuck with me. ANA and PSNA were the first two organizations that I joined. These were quickly followed by the AACN. PSNA’s Young Nurse Professionals provided an amazing discount when I joined both PSNA and ANA. This discount is still available to RNs within their first five years of practice.
What is your proudest moment as a nurse?
I have far too many to pick just one. Connecting with my patients and coworkers brings me joy. I also take pride in being able to go above and beyond in a meaningful way. Picking up an error before it reaches the patient builds confidence. Overall, I’m extremely proud to be an RN … and especially proud to be a “murse.”
Do you have a mentor?
I am truly blessed to have many mentors. My first mentors were my mother and grammy. My mother was an ICU/CCU nurse for 15 years before transferring to outpatient cardiac rehab. While she was working the evening shift, I’d beg my father to take me to visit her. When I set foot in her unit, it felt like I was meant to be there someday. Watching my mother and her coworkers care for people modeled high-quality patient-centered care before it was trending.
My grammy told me that I took the best care of her and that she could see me as a nurse. When I began working in the hospital, my mother would remind me “treat each patient as if they were your grammy.” I think of this every time I head to work or walk into a patient’s room.
How are you involved with PSNA?
In 2016, I was on the YNP leadership team. Although I took a step back as I finished my BSN, I am looking forward to getting back into YNP events!
How has your volunteer firefighter experience impacted your nursing career?
Volunteering as a firefighter and ambulance driver was one of my most rewarding experiences. There was the thrill of racing to the scene with emergency lights and sirens, the energetic buzz as we worked on patients in cardiac arrest or entrapments, and the relief of a quick save or an efficient transfer of care.
Pulling into EDs and unloading patients to bring them in and report off to the nurses brought a level of professionalism and camaraderie that pulled me deeper into nursing. Every ambulance response reminded me of my dream to become a nurse.
I learned a lot of basic care skills as a firefighter and ambulance driver/attendant. The most beneficial and valuable skill I learned was that of communicating with the patient and remaining calm amid emergency situations.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Please remember to treat each patient as if they were your adored grammy!