Dilts' Compassionate Nature
Makes Her a Natural in Nursing
Windsor, N.J. - Susan Dilts '01 (A.S., Nursing) has
always embraced a deep compassion for others. Today, as a
charge nurse at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, she plays a
key role in helping patients reintegrate successfully into
the community. Assessing total patient care, monitoring medication,
and problem solving on the spot are just some of the myriad
skills she has mastered over the years.
"Seeing patients overcome obstacles is so rewarding,"
Dilts said. "At times, some can become aggressive and
agitated without provocation. I believe therapeutic communication
is essential." As a restraint-free environment where
staff members try to use as few drugs as possible, Dilts relies
on her critical thinking skills and nursing care plans as
Initially considering becoming a lawyer, Dilts decided that
nursing was a more practical path. And, as one drawn to nurturing
others, she has proven a natural in the field.
attended Mercer County Vocational School during her junior and senior
years of high school. There, the honor roll student took certified
medical assistant classes and worked at an OB-GYN office. Upon graduation
in 1976, Dilts became a licensed practical nurse, caring for patients
in doctors' offices and in hospital settings for 15 years until
taking time off to become a full-time mother.
The encouraging words of a colleague motivated Dilts to further
advance her career by becoming an RN. "I knew that I needed
to support myself and my child so I enrolled at MCCC," she
said, noting that she chose Mercer for its excellent reputation,
affordability and proximity to home.
"Attending Mercer was one of the greatest decisions I made
in my life," Dilts maintains. "The lectures and labs were
very interesting. I developed critical thinking skills and learned
so much. Every professor went beyond the call of duty to help me
become a registered nurse. They changed my life."
Dilts recalls one MCCC professor in particular who played a pivotal
role in her professional development. "Professor Margaret Fink
spent many nights and days to help me understand what I was doing
and how to study for tests. She graded my care plans and showed
me where I went wrong. All of my professors thoroughly prepared
me in all aspects of taking the state boards."
Joining Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in 2001 as a staff nurse, Dilts
was promoted to charge nurse shortly after. Throughout the years,
she has also reached out to others in her role as shop steward for
her local CWA 1040 Union in Trenton, representing nurses, doctors,
social workers and clerical staff in unfair practice suits. She
is currently pursuing her B.S.N. at The College of New Jersey, which
accepted the credits she earned at Mercer. She expects to graduate
in 2011 and then plans to pursue her master's degree in nursing.
Tutoring and mentoring current nursing students and recruiting future
nurses are high on Dilts' list of priorities. "I have high
self-esteem and confidence in my daily work due to my education
and training," she said.
"The transition from student to nurse is very motivating and
rewarding. I've learned to never quit, just try again. The effort
is well worth it. I enjoy my work and look forward each morning
to care for people who really need me."
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