West Windsor, N.J. – Barbara Flood '06 (A.S., Nursing) thanks Mercer County Community College (MCCC) for two careers – her first in data processing (A.A.S., 1983), and more recently, in nursing at Capital Health, where she was recently promoted to inpatient cardiology nurse manager of the Telemetry Floor at Capital Health Medical Center—Hopewell. Her 36-bed specialty unit monitors patients with cardiac arrhythmias and other heart problems.
It’s a second career that has incorporated Flood’s strongest skills, especially in management. “When I embark on new projects, I go all-in. It’s in my nature. I have a hard time saying ‘no’ when I see a need for leadership,” she said.
In her managerial role, Flood oversees a staff of 84 nurses, secretaries and patient care assistants. Each day presents new challenges and no two days are the same. With all the balls she is juggling, Flood says, “It’s a great day when everything goes well. When the staff is happy and the patients are happy, I feel really good. It’s knowing that you are making a difference in people’s lives – both the patients and the staff.”
Flood’s decision to study nursing at Mercer in her 40s was an offshoot of yet a third career she had as an aerobics instructor and manager at the YMCA Hamilton while her children were young. “I knew there were jobs in the nursing field and I saw a direct connection between fitness and healthcare,” she explained.
And, having been away from an office environment for so long, Flood just could not imagine returning to that setting. Nursing appeared to offer a perfect fit.
When Flood returned to Mercer, she dove right in. She completed her degree with highest honors in 2006 and was the valedictorian of her nursing class. She even taught aerobics classes for staff and students.
She recalls her MCCC nursing professors as top notch. “Professor Barb Kunkel taught me the discipline, Donna Penn, my very first nursing instructor, instilled a sense of pride and excitement about the nursing profession, while Sue Minkel taught me about the heart of a nurse,” she said.
Flood was hired at Capital Health directly after graduation, where she worked part-time as a floor nurse and then concentrated in telemetry, “floating” between the hospital’s two campuses and learning how to work independently. “I could be on any unit and I had to be able to handle myself. I grew a lot as a nurse that year,” she said.