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Building hope and aiding patients in recovery

Posted on 10.01.19 by Caylee Larkin in School of Nursing

Katelyn Prendergast

Katelyn Prendergast '18

Registered Nurse
Telecare Corporation
Major: Nursing
Newberg, OR

Tell us more about your job. What do you do and what do you like about it?

I am a registered nurse for a 15-bed facility that houses individuals who are under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, better known as the PSRB. My patients have all been deemed Guilty Except for Insanity, which means that it was due to their mental illness that their crime occurred. All patients under the PSRB are convicted of felonies. Instead of going to jail for their crime, they are placed under the jurisdiction of the PSRB to receive help with their illness. Our goal is to aid them in recovery, build hope and integrate these individuals back out into the community as they move through a step-down process. I enjoy the variety of individuals that I encounter while being with Telecare. When I travel to other locations, I hardly see the same patient twice, but at my home base, I am able to create rapport with my patients, get to know their individual mental illness symptoms and help them move forward in their recovery as they are with us long term.

What are you engaged with outside of work? What should we know about you that is not on your LinkedIn profile?

I was accepted into Telecare Corporation's 10-month training program, Emerging Leaders. My Nursing Coordinator recommended the program to me. I applied hesitantly as I did not meet the minimum requirements that the program required. I anticipated a rejection once the cohort announcement date came closer. To my surprise, I was accepted. It is to start in January 2020, and I am bursting with joy.

How did Linfield help prepare you for your career?

Linfield prepared me for my career by teaching me to never give up. I struggled through my Linfield career, having to retake courses, be set back in my nursing program, and make tough decisions. The faculty that I befriended, the fellow students that supported me and the encouragement of those outside of my Linfield community aided in me making it through. Having struggled through Linfield, it has taught me to speak up when I notice a change that can occur in my workplace, where improvement can be implemented, and applying for a training that I did not qualify for because I have taught myself, "it does not hurt to try." Identifying the pros and cons of any decision that is at the forefront, is important to identify before making a decision. If following through does not hinder your current position, disrupt any (potential) future plans, or cause unnecessary chaos, it does not hurt to try. Linfield taught me to never give up, to keep trying, and if you fail, stand up and try again. Especially if it is something that you strongly desire.  

What is your most vivid Linfield memory?  

Freshman year, I took chemistry with one of the toughest chemistry professors. I did not take any introduction courses in high school and was in way over my head. After failing two exams, my professor told me to drop the class and take an incomplete instead of a failing grade. I denied and continued through. Barely passing the course, I decided to take a semester break and put my second semester of chemistry on hold. Having come back a whole year later, not having any classes with this professor in between, he remembered me. I went up to him after our first class and asked him to sign my tutor request. He obliged and continued to support me through the semester. We had weekly meetings to make sure I was understanding concepts, he gave me his personal phone number to text him with questions as I was studying, and by the end of the term, with our third to last exam, I got the highest score of the class. Without my perseverance, my professor’s dedication to me, and believing that if I try hard enough, I will succeed, I wouldn't have made it. The same professor that told me I was going to fail, supported me into success.

 What advice would you give today’s students?
The advice that I would give students is never be afraid to ask for help. Be vulnerable. Professors, faculty, staff, fellow students, they're all there for you. Everyone wants to see you succeed. I fought so hard my freshman year, wanting to be independent, not wanting to accept help, refusing to admit that I was struggling. Being an advocate to yourself is the most important quality that ANY student can hold. Advocate for yourself.