Hospital Week Profile: Brittany Knudsen, RN

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Hospital Week Profile: Brittany Knudsen, RN

From the very beginning, Brittany Knudsen wanted to take care of people. She did not necessarily recognize that as a career goal at the time, but over the years it became clear to her—she was meant to be a nurse.

Brittany recalls being just five years old and a friend of hers was sick, missing school and fun due to headaches. Unfortunately, her friend had much more than just headaches—she had brain cancer. Throughout her treatments over the next year or so, Brittany watched her friend become more sedentary, unable to run and play with the other girls. Even at that young age, Brittany tried to care for her friend. “I felt that it was important to her that I was there, even if it was just staying inside reading and resting with her rather than playing outside with the other kids. I had an innate desire to care for her.” Sadly, the cancer took her friend before they could go to second grade together.

Brittany’s caring nature extended to others around her, particularly her grandparents. As a child, she had several grandparents, great grandparents and a great-great grandmother who she saw in health, illness and death. “I learned at an early age how to take care of people as I watched my parents and Grandparents take care of their elders.”

Brittany’s call to nursing was also heavily influenced by her mother, Becky Thompson. Growing up in Exira, Brittany saw what an impact her mother had on the people she cared for as a home health nurse. She remembers the thank you notes and flowers sent by patients and their family members for the heartfelt care they had received. Perhaps even more impactful, she remembers her mother’s reaction to those expressions of gratitude. “Her expression when she would read those notes told me just how much it meant to her that she had the opportunity to help those in need,” Brittany explained. “I realized how rewarding her career was and I was incredibly inspired. My goal is to be the kind of nurse my mom is.”

And she is off to a great start! After graduating from Exira High School Brittany earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Her first job after college was at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines, working on a Medical/Surgical/Orthopedic floor, where many of her patients were recovering from surgery. It turned out to be a great start that would help her work toward her favorite area, surgery. “Our surgery rotation was definitely my favorite in nursing school. I was thrilled when an opportunity came up for me to work in the Surgery Department at CCHS!”
Brittany joined the surgery team at CCHS in 2012. As a surgery nurse, she has worked in Same Day
Surgery taking care of patients before and after surgery, circulating in the operating room during surgical cases and caring for patients as they recover from surgery. “I love getting the opportunity to help people with their surgical needs. It can be a very scary experience for people and our goal is to address their questions and concerns, and ease their minds while providing the individualized care our department strives to provide. I truly enjoy the opportunity to work with different surgeons and specialties--there’s something different every day!”

In May 2016, Brittany was promoted to the surgery lead nurse position, which adds some management duties to her day. “I can’t say enough about my job, it’s fabulous! I work with exceptional surgeons and anesthetists, and have a boss and coworkers who are a second family to me.”

Brittany and her husband, Nick, live in Atlantic and enjoy being close to both of their families. They love spending time outdoors and just relaxing with friends and family. “It is truly a blessing that I was able to come back to my roots in Southwest Iowa, marry my best friend and have a job I love!”

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