‘Small Contributions’: Long path leads nurse to district award


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Tears welled up in nurse Cissy Khan’s eyes as she sat in her colorfully decorated office in the school’s clinic reminiscing about winning the district nurses award and the lessons she has learned from her nursing career. The trials, laughs, smiles and tears she has endured throughout the years only made winning the award that much more meaningful. Since the school nurse isn’t someone every student will come in contact with throughout their high school career, we compiled a Q&A to get to know our award-winning nurse a little better.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][divider line_type=”Small Line” custom_height=”20″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  • Did you always know you wanted to do nursing?

No I didn’t always know that I wanted to do nursing. I sort of had some thoughts in high school about maybe being a doctor but I just couldn’t really get it all together financially or academically. So, I didn’t put a lot of thought into my first career and I majored in business and I got a master’s degree and went to work but I never really had much fun. I was never excited or happy or anything like that. I did quite well, but I just wasn’t very passionate about it. And then when I had had one of my children and I was pregnant with my other child, I thought about how I just wanted to do something a little more meaningful to me. If I had to spend time away from my kids, I wanted it to be worth it. I started taking courses that I didn’t get the first time around that I would need for nursing school.

  • Where did you go to college?

For nursing school I went to Brookhaven. We are so lucky to have the community college system that we have. I took courses at Northlake and Brookhaven to get all the prerequisites that I needed. Then, I was accepted into Texas Women’s University and so I got my nursing degree from there.

  • What did you enjoy most about college?

I just enjoyed all the fledgling independence. You make mistakes and hopefully they aren’t monumental but hopefully they are big enough that you learn from them. Lots and lots of life lessons about managing money and creating relationship and seeking out and building support systems whether that be in your dorm or in your classes. You want a support system, you want an information system, you want a group of friends.

  • What was the hardest lesson you learned?

In nursing school, it was that it is not always a happy ending. When you decide to take part in this world, you accept certain responsibilities. Some of those may involve really, really heartbreaking decisions. When you watch that in the hospital with people losing their kids or their parents or just people going through stuff like that, it’s a responsibility and it’s not something we have control over.

  •  What is the most interesting job you’ve ever had?

One summer, I was a flagger for the highway department and I also drove dump trucks. You’re typically waiting on someone and it’s very, very hot. And people don’t like stopping for you and I was about 19 years old stopping 18 wheelers and trucks and cars. It’s a wonder I didn’t get killed, but it was a fun, fun group of people. You can learn something everywhere and I learned how to drive a dump truck, which is pretty cool.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_animation image_url=”5229″ animation=”Fade In” img_link_target=”_self”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

  •  When did you start at the school?

I knew I wanted to work in a non-profit place and I knew that I wanted to work with kids. I interviewed with Children’s Medical Center and did their graduate nurse internship which is four or six months long. After that, I was there for close to five years in the ICU. Then, I left the ICU to spend a little more time with my kids so that my husband could concentrate on his job, finally. I did some home health with the geriatric population and looked for holes and time to fill. I started doing some substitute nursing for LISD and after about two years of that, which would have been four years ago, I got a full time position with LISD. Hebron was the second school because I actually helped opened the new career center.

  • Were you surprised to be nominated for the district nurses award?

Oh my gosh, I was. To tell you the truth, as far as being nominated, I think it’s something that this school does every year and I really, really appreciate that. I also know the field and I know there are 65 or 70 other nurses so I was really surprised to even be a finalist. When I looked at the other two finalists, I just can’t explain it. I can’t fathom it so yes, very surprised.

  •  What was it like to win the award?

It was such a surprise. It’s easy to play it down but I wish I knew how many people were in the room, at least a couple hundred; you walk across the stage…almost like beauty pageant. You stand there with the three finalists and Dr. Waddell is calling out all the finalist as you walk across the stage and then he calls out the winner.

  •  Are you married and do you have any children?

My husband and I have been married for more than 20 years. We met when I was in grad school, so he’s my college sweetheart. We have a 16 year old and I’m so lucky to be able to see him once or twice a day. We also have a daughter who will be at the ninth grade center next year so it’s a great place to get to come to every morning and know that my kids are safe and so involved and have the opportunities that they have. So I just think we are really, really lucky.

  • What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned through your nursing career?

I’m still learning, honestly. We’re just all part of this universe and we’re all responsible for each other to a certain extent and that comes in a lot of different forms. To just kind of do what you can and contribute what you can to the health and wellness of everyone around you. It may not seem like much but it’s so much better than doing nothing. And it’s so much better than doing something that doesn’t contribute at all. Little things mean a lot to other people. You may not realize it at the time, but we’re all just floating around here together and were all responsible for each other in some way. And so, sometimes when I look at a kid that may come into the clinic or something, and if I’m not on my best game for whatever reason, it shouldn’t be that person’s problem or issue. I just hope that our interaction contributes something positive. I think that if we could all just do that a bit more, we’d be in a different place than we are now. Just small things, small contributions.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]