Why this firefighter became a nurse


Ever had doubts about picking up nursing late in your career? Put those doubts to rest by checking out all the amazing things this firefighter did before she became a nurse (and see photos in our gallery!):

  • Worked in a fishing canary in Alaska, where she had a close encounter with an Alaskan brown bear!
  • Worked on a trail crew in Kings Canyon National Park, Calif., and lived in a tent for about three months, 20 to 40 miles in the back country; performed blasting, bridge work, rock work and maintenance runs
  • Worked on 12,000-foot mountain passes in the beautiful Sierras, where mules or a helicopter would bring food and mail once a week
  • Decided she wanted to be a forester and went to forestry summer school at Utah State College for half the summer; the other half, she worked for the National Guard doing research about vegetation and water
  • Applied to work as a firefighter in the Teton Mountains and became a firefighter (sounds so easy in the context of this resume!)
  • Worked for a summer in Grand Teton National Park on a hazard fuels crew
  • Carried a pack of supplies that lasted about 21 days and weighed about 50 pounds
  • Ate a lot of MRE (meals ready to eat)
  • Performed a lot of dirty and sooty work, hiking up and down steep hills, sleeping by the fire, watching for hornets
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the work of prescribed burns! Walked around with a drip torch, tried to set everything on fire
  • Served a mission in Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints
  • Finally went to school for nursing

Currently, Kathryn Throolin works at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, where she has fallen in love with patient care. After all of her adventures working in the outdoors, Kathryn’s most satisfying role is being a nurse and experiencing a connection with patients and their families. Every day she works, she is more grateful for her own health and to be alive.

Kathryn’s love of the great outdoors has not been put to a permanent halt, however. Nursing affords her time off during the week to go out and play! She has discovered a new love of triathlons (which she could not do as a forester) and finds time to go on a plethora of mountaineering and climbing adventures all over the U.S. and abroad. She has competed in two Ironman races, with a third planned this spring!

Fire Line- Grand Teton National Park 1999.

See the photo gallery of this firefighter turned nurse

What crazy adventures did you have before becoming a nurse (or continue to have whilst being a nurse!)? Share your story in our comments.


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