My Occ Health Story: Walter Suita
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“ I had spent my first three years working in a big name, big city hospital. There were a lot of bright people, along with experienced nurses, and truly brilliant physician ‘s to work with. However, progression was slow and I wanted to move ahead. I sent resumes to every ad I saw, some resulted in good prospects, some didn’t. One day, a recruiter called and was interested in my background ( I was also an EMT, and had been an ER nurse). She had asked me if I had ever worked in Occupational Health. Truly, I didn’t even know what it was. The next day, I had a three hour interview. It was the start of a 19 year career in occupational health. My first position was like the wild west, working on a constructions site with 1200 contractors from all over the country.
My first two mentors, RNP’s, Jeanne Bartel and Ann Zaia gave me the guidance and confidence to work on my own . Along with Tom Winters MD, I learned from these people how to best ply my skills in occupational health. Several years later, a position came along where Nancy Clover, had the faith in me that I had the capacity to become a manager. She recruited me for a position where Cathy Huot, my manager, put that challenge to the test. I learned there that with authority comes responsibility and any major decision should be thought over on at least a three mile hike and a good night’s sleep.
I have never looked back in question on my career decision in occupational health. I feel it has truly enriched my life. When I worked in the ER, we had the saying “treat ‘em and street ‘em”, pretty much meaning that we never had the opportunity to know our patients. Working on the floor in the hospital, we might be assigned to someone for a few days, but you never really had the opportunity to get to know them. In occupational health, you’re with people who have worked there for years and in the time you spend with them, you get to know about them personally, their long-term health, their families. You are a care provider, health educator, and medical confidant. You become a part of the thread of the fabric that contains their work and health life. You truly are there to make their lives better every day.”
That’s all I have to say ‘bout that
Walter E. Suita RN, BSN, COHN-S, EMT/B