Entering the ICU
Real-world experience helps nursing grad land dream job
Change was constant during Malyssa Brady’s childhood. Both of her parents were in the United States Air Force, and her family moved every few years. Amid all the change, one thing was constant — her love of medicine.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve known what I wanted to do for a long, long time,” said Brady, who received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from St. Scholastica in 2018.
Ten years ago, her family settled in Cloquet, Minnesota and her parents took jobs in the medical field. Her mother works as a nurse practitioner (NP) and her father is nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
Sometimes they would share work stories around the dinner table, and Brady was enchanted. “I never wanted them to stop talking,” she said.
Nurturing an impactful career
Once she graduated from high school, Brady took steps to pursue her passion. Her path led her to another university for two years and when she decided to come home, she toured colleges around Duluth, including St. Scholastica.
During the tour, Brady met SueAnne Mattson, M.A, an assistant professor of nursing, who happily showed her around. “She ran into her office, got her keys, and she took me to all the simulation spaces, and into some classrooms to show where I would be learning and doing lab work,” said Brady. “It showed she was invested.”
Following her experience with Mattson, and after observing the College’s tight-knit community, Brady decided to begin transferring to St. Scholastica. “My transfer experience was awesome. The entire transition was smooth and everyone helped me with whatever I needed along the way,” she said.
Brady completed the transfer process and started studying nursing, fully dedicating herself to the program. She learned theory and studied in the simulation lab, where she participated in patient care scenarios with manikins as patients. She began practicing in the simulation lab as a sophomore and utilized it until she graduated.
“Our simulations focused on patient care scenarios and how to incorporate therapeutic communication, like talking to patients and how you deal with difficult situations in the workplace,” said Brady.
Preparing for her future
Through real-world experience that prepared her for advanced opportunities, Brady was able to pursue her passion and first choice in nursing — critical care. She completed an intensive ICU elective in which she cared for patients in the emergency department at St. Luke’s Health Care System, under the supervision of an RN, and enjoyed years of hands-on experience received during clinicals, especially in Essentia Health’s ICU float pool.
“Applying and practicing in clinicals is where it comes to life, and you really understand [medicine],” she said.
That in-depth experience paid off, and she landed her dream job upon graduation — a coveted 12-week ICU residency at Essentia Health, which involves classroom learning and simulation. Brady said of the five people hired for that residency, all are St. Scholastica graduates. She attributes this to the College’s critical care clinicals and focus on Benedictine values.
“Incorporating the Benedictine values into our nursing practice — that is a huge step up,” she said. “St. Scholastica nurses are very kind, very good at building patient rapport, and really in tune with the patient.”
Once Brady passes the Minnesota Board of Nursing licensure exams, she’ll start her residency.