Chrissa Carmichael has always had a passion for learning, teaching, and helping others – especially young people. Today, she’s living out her dream by caring for our tiniest patients in the Pediatric ICU (PICU) at AdventHealth Tampa. It’s an opportunity Chrissa was able to take advantage of thanks to a new partnership and training program with AdventHealth for Children.
Chrissa’s career path initially led her to teach middle school science, and before she had a child, she didn’t mind dedicating her evenings, weekends, and summers to grading papers. But once her daughter was born, she longed for a better work-life balance and more time with her family. A few years later, her grandfather got sick, and it was then that she realized what she was made to do.
“I went to the hospital to visit him and was so moved by the care that he received,” she says. “I saw his nurse sit beside him and stroke his hair. He hadn’t showered and was so grumpy, but it didn’t matter, she was so attentive to his needs. Not only that, but she was attentive to our family and calmly addressed all of our concerns.”
At that point, Chrissa was all in. She resigned from teaching, grabbed a waitress job, and headed back to school for more science classes. A few years later, she had her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. From there, she landed a group interview at AdventHealth Tampa and added her name to a list of applicants who had an interest in working in pediatrics.
The rest is history. By her second year, she longed to learn more about the sickest of the sick children, but many of them were transferred to other places for care. It wasn’t until a recent partnership with AdventHealth for Children, that Carissa was able to train to do what she’d always wanted to – care for kids in the PICU.
Chrissa was the first AdventHealth Tampa team member to get into the PICU training program. She spent eight weeks driving back and forth to Orlando to train and says it’s an experience she’ll never forget.
“I learned so much, it was the most amazing experience. The nurses, doctors, patients, and families were amazing. I got to see a lot of procedures that I hope we’ll soon be able to do at AdventHealth Tampa like transplants, intubations, and treatments for kids with chronic conditions or developmental delays,” says Chrissa.
Chrissa recently put her skills to the test with a young girl having an asthma attack. Paramedics intubated the child in the field and once the girl arrived at the hospital, Chrissa and her team helped stabilize her and extubate her successfully.
Chrissa says, “there are no words to express how much I love my job. I look so forward to seeing the kids and their families. It’s my calling. This is exactly what I was meant to do.”
Chrissa says the best part of working in the PICU is the reward of making a difference and sending patients home better than they came.
“I’m so glad I made the move to nursing. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you’re considering a shift in career paths, don’t wait. I’m so thankful for the opportunities I had,” says Chrissa.