Interview with nursing student Kristy Crump

by Jessica Young  |   

Kristy Crump grew up in Valdez, Alaska. She has been commercial fishing for 12 years on her father’s fishing vessel, Lady Sandra. After Kristy graduated from high school, she earned an associate degree through University of Alaska Anchorage. She said, “I didn’t know for certain what kind of degree I wanted to obtain, but I had a feeling that it would be in the medical profession.”

Kristy also took a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) course through AVTEC in Anchorage. She stated, “I would recommend a CNA program as a starting point to anyone who is considering becoming a registered nurse (RN). There’s a famous quote out there that says, ‘behind every great nurse there is a running CNA.’ Prince William Sound College (PWSC) has a CNA program which I know a lot of students really enjoy, and people may not realize this, but there are traveling positions for CNAs as well as RNs! I traveled to Wyoming as a CNa, and it was a period of great growth for me.” Kristy explained how being a CNA gave her experience with patient interactions that have strengthened her ability as a future nurse. It also gave her confidence in knowing that she has “a strong stomach” and that she never quits.

The clinical portion of the nursing program is also giving Kristy valuable patient-care experiences. She explained, “Last semester, we got the opportunity to travel to Fairbanks for clinical rotation and were able to witness surgeries and wound care. This semester, we will be traveling to Anchorage for obstetrics (OB) experience. Additionally, we are privileged to receive clinical time at the local hospital in Valdez.”

Kristy chose PWSC because of the low tuition rates, the small community, and because it’s in her hometown. Kristy stated, “I grew up here, I like small town environments, and enjoy the small campus life. Positive factors regarding the college are the small class sizes and the nice Health & Fitness Center. Currently, I live in the dorms and absolutely love living there because it is furnished, has free Wi-Fi, laundry machines within my dorm building, and it’s within walking distance to everything in town. I spend a lot of time in the computer lab and common area where I enjoy sitting in the booths for hours to study and do homework assignments.”

She also speaks highly of PWSC staff. “Staff here are always cordial and willing to help answer questions. George Keeney is one of my favorite members of the college. He is an instructor who teaches emergency medical services. He always brings donuts, bananas, apples, oranges, and makes coffee in the morning. Starving college students really appreciate him! Dan O’Connor (the director of PWSC) is always making his rounds to check on faculty and students to make sure everyone is doing all right and providing encouragement. Dawson Moore is another one of my favorites. Dawson is the assistant to the director and also coordinates the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, amongst many of his roles. He has a lot of energy and I always look forward to engaging in conversation with him. I’d like to shout out to the maintenance men as well, they are really helpful to everyone.”

Kristy said that Kelly Mitchell is one of her mentors at PWSC. “Kelly is one of my instructors for the nursing program and probably the busiest man I know. No matter how busy he seems to be he will always try to make time for me, and all of his students, if we need additional help. He’s just a great teacher. He works at Providence Valdez Hospital as the director of anesthesia. Kelly is a great dad and husband, teaches multiple courses, and even takes classes himself. He is a great role model and we are lucky to have him in this community.”

Her brother Nick Crump has also been a mentor. “He’s constantly encouraging me to do better in all facets of my life, and if I bring him a study guide, he quizzes me. It’s important to have role models in your life who provide tough love and encourage you to never stop improving and learning.”

Kristy wants to become a nurse to “help people in vulnerable moments of their life, to make them feel better when they are sick, provide comfort to them and their loved ones, and to have a job that will be flexible for my lifestyle.” She also knows that it is a reliable field of work to be in, stating, “Everywhere you go, people will always need nurses. I think the stability aspect pertaining to nursing is huge. Someday, I hope to be a traveling nurse so I can see more of the world and continue to go fishing!”