Neurology Central

International Nurses Day: a day in the life of Michelle VanDemark

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To mark International Nurses Day this month (12 May), we’re asking neuroscience nurses from across the field to share their typical working days, what inspired them to become a nurse and the challenges that are present in the field.
In this interview, we speak to Michelle VanDemark, a neurocritical care (NCC) Nurse Practioner at Sanford USD Medical Center (SD, USA) and current President of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN; IL, USA) – a community of neuroscience leaders that support professional development through quality education opportunities, collaboration and networking in local chapters and more.

What led you to become a neuroscience nurse? Did you always want to work in nursing?

I come from a family of healthcare professionals so healthcare debates were always held around our dining table. My brother has epilepsy and as a child when he had a seizure, the whole family would respond and help. I felt passionate about learning and making a difference in people with seizures. I was particularly drawn to nursing because I wanted to care for people at the bedside. When I first started my nursing career, I was excited to have the opportunity to work as a nurse on a neuroscience unit. The more I learned about neuroscience, the more fascinated I became; it is a challenging and complex field.  I am fortunate that neuroscience nursing chose me.

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  1. kathrynsnow on

    I first met Michelle in Nashville at the 2015 AANN conference. We remembered each other’s faces at every annual conference since and she always made a point to say hello. When we bumped into each other on the dance floor on the deck of a ship at the 2018 Gala and she told my colleagues and me, “I’m going to be the AANN President tomorrow!” She is approachable, intelligent clinically and socially, and a gifted speaker. So happy for her!

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