Her Nursing Advice: ‘Work Hard and be Dedicated to Your Job’ 


Colleen Hathaway’s 43 years and six months at Munson Medical Center can be defined by her love for patients and her team.

A licensed practical nurse, Colleen began her career on a medical surgical unit and cardiac care stepdown unit.

“I was first employed as a critical care LPN,” she said. “I also worked helping out in recovery and procedure room, cardiac critical care unit and the stepdown unit.”
Her Call to Nursing
Colleen’s path to nursing was born out of personal tragedy when she lost her parents at age 13 from cardiac problems.

“I had many questions. I always wondered if someone could have helped them,” she said. “I became a nurse to maybe do that for someone else.”

After receiving her nursing training at Northwestern Michigan College, she launched into a career that has witnessed big changes in technology and nursing protocols, but her internal call to care for others remains the same. Her career choice became clear while caring for a patient as the holidays approached. He was upset and thinking about an important discussion he needed to have with his family.

“I encouraged him to talk with them and help them see his side,” she said. “We held hands and he thanked me. When his wife came to pick him up, she wondered if they started him on new medication. He was very calm. I just said he made some very big decisions today. Go home enjoy the holidays and listen to him. He hugged me good-bye. I went and cried. I hope things went well for him.”

Telemetry Nurse
In recent years, Colleen has shifted from floor duties to becoming a telemetry nurse for two cardiac floors. A typical day involves watching 68 monitors to monitor heart rates, blood pressures, and heart rhythms. She communicates changes in vital signs and monitors to nurses. Her role also involves admitting, discharging, and transferring patients on and off monitors, in addition to managing the telemetry related equipment.

As her career winds down, she has advice for those considering the nursing profession.

“You have to work hard and be dedicated to your job,” she said. “What I do is important to patient care and the safety of every one of them. Teamwork is key.”

A Place for Quality Care
She recommends the hospital for anyone needing quality care.

“I have been a patient and so have many of my family members,” she said. “Every department I have been in is kind and compassionate.”

Learn more about Munson Healthcare nursing opportunities here.