“Whether you’re a native or a transplanted Texan, you’ll be proud to work and live here.” Skeptical? Find out why Kelle Ingram, an RN at University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (and our most enthusiastic nurse interviewee to date!) is gushing about being a Texan nurse.
Scrubs: First, the stats.
Kelle: My name is Kelle Ingram and I’ve been an RN in Texas for 11 years. I live in Pearland, which is a small suburb about 10 miles south of Houston. I’m employed by the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center on an inpatient unit that mainly cares for melanoma/sarcoma patients.
Scrubs: Why do you like the specialty you’ve chosen?
Kelle: I love being an oncology nurse for many reasons. I get to develop relationships with the patients due to their numerous treatments and they really become like family. I also care for people from all over the world: American, Spanish, South and Central American, Arab, Chinese, Vietnamese, Latino, Indian, European. Even though I frequently administer the same treatments, my day is never routine.
Scrubs: What are the benefits and what is the atmosphere like?
Kelle: I’m employed by a world-renowned hospital. I feel that M. D. Anderson is at the heart of the “latest and greatest.” Working at a teaching facility gives me the advantage of being privy to the most advanced procedures and the newest treatment options.
The oncology nurses I’m privileged to work with love their jobs and really put forth a team effort. When I’m having a particularly emotional day, I can always count on someone to come through with a hug and a laugh. I’m a firm believer in “laughter is the best medicine.”
Scrubs: What kind of nurse is your hospital best suited for (new grad, particular specialty, single mom, etc.)?
Kelle: Houston has the privilege of being a medical mecca, so to speak, for whatever specialty might interest the new graduate, or someone who is looking for a new challenge. You have premier sites for cardiac, orthopedic, pediatric, cancer, labor and delivery, and emergency room nursing—and that’s just within the one-mile radius of the medical center! Look around long enough, and trust me, you’ll find your niche.
Scrubs: How competitive is the pay?
Kelle: Salaries are quite competitive compared to the rest of the country. You also have the option to teach at the undergraduate or graduate level at the many nursing programs offered all over the city and outlying communities.
Scrubs: What do you love about living in Texas?
Kelle: I’m proud to say I’m 100 percent Texan and have lived in Texas for 34 of my 37 years. Sometimes Texas can get a bad rap in the media, but the number one compliment I receive from non-Texans is how nice everyone is. Southern hospitality is alive and well here in Houston. I grew up in a small town and was very apprehensive about moving to the big city. We’ve lived here since 1996 and I’ve grown to love it more each year.
Scrubs: Be a Texas tour guide for us.
Kelle: Believe me when I tell you there is more to Texas than meets the eye. While Houston is one of the top business centers of the world, it’s also quite cultural. We have several museums to choose from: science, health, art, children’s and the awe-inspiring Holocaust museum. My children have been fortunate enough to be able to experience all different kinds of kids’ activities from the zoo to the great festivals we have. I’ve come to embrace the diversity of this city.
If you’re a sports nut, we have professional sports teams for football, baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey! The stadiums are beautiful and family-friendly. Attending a professional sporting event is too exciting to describe. And we fans are not “fair-weather” fans. We simply love to go to the games and enjoy the camaraderie.
Scrubs: You are in love with Texas!
Kelle: I am. And living in Houston is a great opportunity for any nurse at any entry level. New graduate? Choose a specialty and get the best preceptorship available. Have a family? Enjoy the low cost of living and soak up the culture while spending time with your children. Whether you’re a native or a transplanted Texan, you’ll be proud to work and live here.
Kelle Ingram is an RN at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and a native Texan.
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