Kloey Merck Class of 2019
Registered Nurse, Antepartum/Postpartum Unit, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center/Brenners Childrens Hospital, Winston-Salem, NC

Nursing is one of the noblest professions. Everyone needs the care of a nurse at some time, and young mothers and babies are especially vulnerable. Kloey Merck is one of those dedicated nurses who specializes in the care of mothers and babies.

I am currently a registered nurse at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center/ Brenners Childrens Hospital, explains Kloey. I work on the antepartum/postpartum unit. The antepartum unit is for high-risk moms and pregnant women who need to be hospitalized for observation and close management of the pregnancy prior to delivery. Some moms are there for weeks and even months before delivery of their baby. I love the long-term care aspect of this unit and the relationships I am able to build with my patients. It is very rewarding to be able to be there to support these patients through an exciting, yet stressful and scary time in their lives.

The postpartum unit provides care for the mom and newborn after delivery until the parents are sent home with their precious new baby! Our unit has a wide variety of responsibilities from helping with feedings to doing hearing tests for the newborn. We ensure the health and safety of mom and baby after delivery and babys transition to the world. My favorite part of my job is being able to support the entire family in this exciting time in their lives. The love a baby brings is so sweet!

There are definitely difficult parts of the job, and it is not always as one would think. There are scary times, sad times, and a lot of responsibility that comes with being a nurse; the days can be extremely long and exhausting. Being a new nurse straight out of school, this job has come with a lot of learning, patience, and growing. But it is worth it as I will be a better nurse and be able to care for my patients better! Nursing and healthcare are constantly changing, and nurses are constantly learning new things; being a nurse is never boring!

Most nurses grew up knowing that they always wanted to be nurses. However, that was not the case for me. I had so many different interests growing up and throughout high school music, sports, healthcare that I wasnt sure which direction I wanted to take for a career path. I always enjoyed participating in community service activities with the different clubs I was a part of and my youth group at church. I enjoyed helping others. I saw my grandmother battle with her health growing up and have countless surgeries. I saw how my mother cared for her, and I knew I wanted to be that person for others. Through all of my major changes in college, it seemed that nursing would best allow me to care for people. I started nursing school and didnt look back; I knew I was exactly where the Lord wanted me and where I was supposed to be!

Throughout high school and during a few summers while home from college, I worked as a lifeguard at the Valdese Recreation Department. I was employed here for 7 years and did all kinds of things from lifeguarding to teaching swim lessons, coaching the swim team, and working at the customer service desk. I started this job as a 15-year-old at the end of my freshman year of high school. I enjoyed having responsibility, and this job taught me that quality starting at a young age. It allowed me to be at the pool almost every day, which was one of my biggest passions. Most importantly, this job taught me the value of hard work. It taught me that being passionate at what you do goes a long way. Being passionate about the career path you are on makes the job a lot more fulfilling and rewarding.

I also worked as a CNA all three summers of college in home health. I was able to take the nursing fundamentals class at East Burke my senior year and obtain my nursing assistant certification. Doing so allowed me to gain great experience in healthcare and help prepare me for my future career as a nurse.

KIoey graduated from Western Carolina University in May of 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Shortly thereafter, she passed the NCLEX to become a Registered Nurse. She also has a minor in music from WCU and took part in the concurrent enrollment program at Western Piedmont Community College as a high school student. In addition, she took some classes at WPCC during a few summers while in college, taking classes to work towards her 4-year degree, It was a rewarding experience. Being able to take college-level courses in high school is a great opportunity to get ahead on your college degree!

But before those experiences, there were many experiences at East Burke that were rewarding and inspiring. During my time at East Burke, I participated in many sports and clubs. I was a four-year member of the swim team, volleyball team, and track team. I was captain of the womens swim team my junior and senior year! I was a part of the HOSA club where I was the vice president my junior year and president my senior year. I was inducted into NHS my sophomore year and held the position of Parliamentarian my junior and senior years. I was a part of Anchor Club my junior and senior years as well as the News and views club my senior year! I was in chorus all four years of high school and was in chamber singers both years as an upperclassman.

I kept myself busy in high school, and I enjoyed being a part of a lot of different things. It allowed me to make friends across the student body. I had several teachers and coaches who have inspired me and helped me get to where I am today! David Andersen and TR Robinson were my swim coaches who pushed me to be my best and helped me achieve my goals as a swimmer. Their passion for the sport of swimming was evident and made being a part of this team my absolute favorite thing and an experience like no other. Swimming taught me the value of dedication and how people have to work hard for the things they want in life. Jackie Welch was in charge of News and Views and made the group feel like a family. She truly cared about her students and made my senior year memorable and a joy! Carla Keaton, Connie Thompson, Tina Lowman, and Kayla Cable were other teachers/counselors that made an impact on my life and my career path. They always cheered their students on and showed kindness to everyone.

As a young nurse, Kloey naturally has more career goals in mind. It is a goal of mine to attend graduate school at some point in the near future. I am not sure yet what path I will take, but there are countless opportunities as a nurse. Whether it be becoming an advanced practitioner or getting my masters in administration or education, I hope to show the love of Jesus in whatever I do! I want to be the best nurse that I can be!

Some encouragement to high school students: Dont stress about the future too much! You will find what you are passionate about and the career path you are meant to take. I started college as a music and health science double major and ended up graduating in 4 years with a nursing degree. It will all work out, Enjoy high school and take it all in; theres nothing like your time as an East Burke Cavalier!

Published October 2023

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