Nursing Career Allows ICU Employee to Travel and Pursue Exciting Adventures
Alexander Salai enrolled at Seton Hill University as an Exercise Science major, with the goal of pursuing a health-based profession. Seton Hill’s new Nursing Program began in his junior year. He changed his major to nursing after consulting with his mother (a former nurse) and Diane Kondas, DNP, RN, CNNP, assistant professor and program director of nursing at Seton Hill.
“I loved the relationships I got to build with the faculty. My mother passed away in 2020, and I can’t tell you how many times I went to my professors’ offices just to talk and keep me going,” Alex said. “Many of the professors offered so much advice, counseling, and a listening ear.”
In his senior year at Seton Hill, Westmoreland Hospital hired Alex for their Step Down Unit (SDU). SDUs offer an intermediate or transitional level of care between an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a general medical ward. His final 1-on-1 clinical rotation was with McKendra Walker, a preceptor of his unit director’s choice. Alex credits Walker for her help and educational guidance in the nursing field.
“[The Nursing Program] really helped me see what I loved and what I didn’t like at all. This has helped me pick the right department to work in and every day feels like a dream now!”
After Alex graduated from Seton Hill in May 2023, he started his career in Westmoreland Hospital’s SDU and ICU. “I get to help in the healing, strengthening, and restoring and see people get back to their loved ones,” he said.
Seton Hill’s Nursing Program helped expose Alex to a variety of clinical settings such as pediatric care, ICU, medical surgery, and OB GYN practices. A pharmacology course he took at Seton Hill has been valuable in his job by helping him to be mindful of what medications he administers to his patients.
As part of his duties in the SDU and ICU, Alex has cared for open-heart surgery patients by monitoring their rhythm, helping to relieve their pain, and transporting them through the hospital. Alex has also provided oral, skin, and neurological care to intubated patients to prevent pneumonia, skin sores, and monitor their sedation.
“[The Nursing Program] really helped me see what I loved and what I didn’t like at all,” Alex said. “This has helped me pick the right department to work in and every day feels like a dream now!”
A nursing career has allowed Alex to work 36-40 hour weeks while being able to pursue his interests. Alex loves to travel, and participates in biking and marathons. In July, he completed a 525-mile bike ride across the state of Iowa. This fall, he took a trip to Athens, Greece to run a marathon. Alex looks forward to participating in a 15-mile run in Colorado next summer.
“If you thrive in an environment with 1-on-1 interaction with professors,” Alex says, “then this is the program for you.”