At the beginning of her nurse career, Ph.D., RN, Pamela Aaltonen, one of her assignments was to provide anticipatory guidance to a pregnant woman. When he met the couple, she was so overwhelmed by their friendly attitude that she decided to dedicate herself to the area of public health so that she can bring her contribution to this field.
Her first position was as migrant health nurse at the Minnesota State Health Department. During this period, she worked with migrants who came in the northwest corner of Minnesota to work for the sugar beet fields. Later, she worked for the Tulsa City-County Health Department and only after acquiring plenty of experience was she regarded as an important public health nurse.
Pamela remembers that while she was completing her studies in West Lafayette, Helen Johnson, the head of Purdue’s nursing program, persuaded her to give teaching a try. By doing this, she discovered what she wanted to do for the rest of her life because she could follow her passion for nursing while passing her knowledge to students.
According to her, another important aspect of this career was that she had the opportunity to develop and improve a beautiful connection with every patient, thanks to the medical field studies and nursing research methods.
Even so, this research must not stop here. The public health system is in a desperate need of funding, and worse, people do not understand and appreciate the hard work done performed by public health nurses.
About her accomplishments, Pamela recalls that the she was always proud of her students and always looking forward to seeing how they improved. Her goal as an educator was for the future nurses to understand every patient and to know how to interact with him based on a realistic thinking. Besides this, she always wished her students to bring their contribution to the field.
Regarding her personal life, she is proud to have two wonderful children who have already achieved most of their dreams by now. Her daughter is a high school biology teacher in Austin, Texas and soccer coach for the high school team. She also has a son who works at New York University as an interventional radiologist.
Her advice for everyone would be to find something they are passionate about. This way they will be able to dedicate themselves and make a difference. As a nurse she believes commitment is the way to inspire others.
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