Saint Louis University School of Nursing – Class of 2016
My name is Matthew Crecelius and I am a newly graduated nurse in New York City. I moved to New York 5 months ago from my hometown of Farmington, Missouri after graduating nursing school at St. Louis University. My undergraduate work was in International Relations and, interestingly enough, I had no inclination to pursue a degree within healthcare after obtaining my Bachelor's degree. Instead, I wanted to become a translator for a Japanese automotive company. I spent several years studying Japanese and living abroad in Japan, working towards this goal.
My interest in nursing began a few years ago when I cared for my grandmother, who was suddenly admitted to a nursing home after a stroke and worsening confusion. She had been diagnosed with dementia, and the care that she required became more complex with each passing month. As her dementia progressed, she became increasingly anxious, confused, and scared. At that time, the only thing I knew how to do was offer my hand in comfort to her, and try to talk to her and console her; I did not know anything about the pathophysiology of her disease, what to expect, or how to alleviate symptoms. As time passed, I also began to feel anxious because I felt I did not know how to care for my grandmother, and some days I was not sure whether I was helping or making things worse. However, as I observed the staff nurses gently interact with her day by day, I saw the power that they held. They ensured that she didn’t develop avoidable complications, and patiently reoriented her time and time again to her surroundings. They became my resource for information regarding her diagnosis, and what I could expect throughout her treatment. Eventually, my grandmother was placed on hospice care, and the nurses involved gracefully explained to me what the next steps were, ensured that she was comfortable, and encouraged me to participate in her care. After a few weeks of hospice care, my grandmother passed away with her family and staff nurses by her side. Through this experience, I knew that I wanted to become a resource for patients and their families in the future, so I began working towards my new goal of becoming a nurse. I began this process by working part-time as a phlebotomist at a rural hospital in Missouri. During my time as a phlebotomist, I realized that I enjoyed interacting with people in the healthcare setting and that I wanted to get more involved in this realm. After two years, I applied and was accepted to an accelerated Masters of Science in Nursing program at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, which offered a Master’s of Science in Nursing to students who had an undergraduate degree in a field other than healthcare.
During the last semester of my MSN, I applied to New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. I had several other options in Missouri, but I knew that I wanted to push myself beyond my comfort zone and diversify my experiences. Within 3 weeks of graduation, I passed the NCLEX, packed up my car and hit the road for New York City. After about two months of intense searching, I landed my dream job at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
While I have only just begun my work here, I have already had ample opportunity to develop new skills, as well as to hone the ones that brought me here. When I’m not at work, I enjoy being in the outdoors. I love hiking and fishing, and look forward to the chance to explore more of the surrounding city and rural landscapes in the coming months.