First Responders: Nurse Kathy Penn

Published: Apr. 18, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - In our latest First Responders, we head to Rush Health Systems to meet a registered nurse who is also working on becoming a nurse practitioner.

For nearly five years, registered nurse Kathy Penn has been working to help others through her passion in healthcare.

“I was in HOSA in high school and knew I wanted to be in the medical field one way or the other,” Penn explained. “I was in pre-vet for a while and decided it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I decided to go to nursing school and fell in love with it,”

Penn said she was originally drawn more toward the science side of the medical field, but now that mindset includes the people aspect.

“When I was in nursing school I was terrified to talk to patients. Now it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. I like getting to know people and letting them know you are there for them and understand them. I’ve decided to become a nurse practitioner. I’m learning more about the science and that’s pretty interesting,”

She’s currently at Rush Health Systems. She said Rush makes her feel at home like it’s one big family. That family feeling is important for someone that’s worked both the ER and ICU through COVID.

“The emotional impact of seeing both the ICU and ER was a little bit harder and I struggled with that at first. My mom doesn’t live here anymore and I struggle with that. She’s in Florida and if she got COVID I couldn’t help her. My sister is in Indianapolis. My support system really isn’t here, so Rush has been my support system,”

In addition to having the local support from coworkers, Penn’s family is also behind her 100 percent.

“They were super supportive. They’re happy that I’m out there making a difference and doing what I like,” Penn said. “The hospital is always open. We are always going to be there for whatever anyone needs. I want the public to know that COVID is still out there, but with the vaccines it’s getting better.”

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