- By Alyssa Reyes ‘18
Caring for hundreds of patients is part of the job description for nurses across the country, but establishing strong bonds with these patients is one of the reasons why Matthew Knox shines. A second degree BSN fast track student at Holy Family University, Knox anticipates to complete his degree in February 2017 and then hit the ground running.
During his clinical experience at St. Mary’s Hospital, Knox was responsible for checking on a maternity patient after aiding in the delivery of her healthy baby boy. She was so touched by his work and dedication that she called Dr. Margaret Harkins, BSN Fast Track Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor, to praise Knox’s work and described him as phenomenal and very caring.
Knox credits part of his success to the environment of Holy Family University and its staff.
“All of the teachers throughout the program have made me feel prepared for the clinical experiences,” Knox said. “There really is a family environment. As a male, it was easy to feel intimidated by my maternity clinical. My classroom teacher, Denise McFadden (RNC-MNN, MSN), and clinical instructor, Lisa Diasio (CRNP), shook away all doubts and made me feel more comfortable. I'm glad they did.”
Knox’s journey in the medical field originally did not begin at Holy Family University. With a previous undergraduate degree in Psychology from Penn State University, he began working as a residential adviser at Foundations Behavioral Health, a long-term mental health facility for adolescents.
“The job taught me that patient care is an environment that I loved,” he said. “I feel very comfortable in therapeutic relationships . There were many difficult conversations with patients and their families. Being successful in these moments always led to positive outcomes.”
To make it through the difficult moments that the profession can present, Knox finds that a sense of humor is important to stay grounded.
“I'm just lucky to have classmates that will sometimes laugh at my mostly terrible jokes,” he said. “Nursing programs and school in general can be very stressful; otherwise, they would probably laugh at more of them. In nursing, you’re often dealing with patients on the worst day of their life. If they are up for it, a good laugh can go a long way to making it slightly better.”
With February around the corner, Knox is thinking about what is next in his career. He still has his foot in the door at the residential psych facility and at Doylestown Hospital, where he currently works as a patient care technician. He knows that he still has some soul searching to do, but even with some uncertainty about what his future will bring, one thing that will follow him wherever his journey takes him is the humbling experience with his patient.
“I will never forget how lucky I was to have such a wonderful patient that would be willing to share this moment with me. It ended up being a life changing experience.”