Emergency nurse is always ready for worst
MUNCY-“I’m part of something scary and I can make it better,” said Janai Abergast of Clarkstown, the supervising nurse in the emergency room at Muncy Valley Hospital.
“This is a great opportunity to be part of someone’s life, to decrease their anxiety. You must want to be an emergency room nurse, not every nurse can work in an emergency room. You realize how fragile life is.” She added, “You take that deep breath and go to work with a love for people, a respect, they are in your care, they are loved by someone. You have to do everything you can for the patient.”
The frightening trend of terrorism has emergency rooms always ready for the worst, but everyday stress is always alive. Abergast says she and her staff have celebrated with tears of joy over a newborn baby, but have cried with patients and their families when someone is dying. She recalled with deep sadness when someone her age passed away in the emergency room.
The 31-year old is the mother of three young girls ages 2, 4 and 5. “There is stress and emotion and it’s hard not to bring that home, but I try to separate it from my family.” She said, “I’m blessed that my husband, Lee, and my family have been supportive throughout my career.”
Abergast attended the Thomas Jefferson School of Nursing when it was located at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. She received her Associate Degree and after positions in trauma and emergency centers at hospitals in York and Williamsport, then joined the Muncy Valley Hospital, and at the age of 27, was promoted to Clinical Supersvisor of the Emergency Room. “This is a very rewarding career if you want to put in the long hours and hard work and do it for all the right reasons. You have to truly want to be a nurse and care for people.” Although she embraces the role of a supervisor, she is quick to respond as a front line emergency room nurse. The supervisory assignment allows her to go behind the scenes to see what makes a hospital function.
Janai says she did not succumb to the love of nursing until she was 21, married, and working in retail. Like so many 21-year olds, she said she was wondering what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Husband Lee was an EMT. That sparked her interest in the medical field. She became a nurse’s aide, found employment at several nursing homes and said it was the nurses at those homes that changed her life. “I made a decision; I wanted to be a nurse.” With patience and determination, she was accepted at the nursing school and is now working toward her Masters Degree.
Cyndy Whipple, Director of Nursing At Muncy Valley Hospital, says, “Janai is compassionate, dedicated, efficient and articulate, the perfect example of a Susquehanna Health Nurse. She loves her work.”
That work is about to be taken to a higher level. The emergency room that treated 16,500 patients last year, will undergo a major expansion starting in March including a new entrance road. This will be another challenge for Janai, a confident, young nurse who “can make it better” for patients.