GRADUATE NURSE RETURNS TO FLOOR SHE GREW UP ON
Diane Watson, Barnes '79
Emily Watson, Goldfarb '11
There’s a scrapbook on 10200, a medicine nursing unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. In it is a card announcing the birth of the head nurse’s daughter. The photo shows a dark-haired, red-faced newborn.
“That’s me,” says Emily Watson, BSN, to Beth Cotton, the current nurse manager and her boss.
Emily, a recent graduate of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, has come full circle - now working on the floor she visited many times as a child, and, in retrospect, where it seems she was destined to be.
Her mother, Diane Watson, now manager for patient care information systems at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, began working as a staff nurse at Barnes Hospital, after graduating from Barnes College of Nursing.
Diane was hired as the head nurse, known as the “clinical nurse manager” now, for the floor in 1986. In 1989, Emily was born.
“When she was little and I would get called in on the weekends, she'd come in with me and help the unit secretaries with clerical work,” Diane says. “Back then it was a treat to get to go to the cafeteria.”
Emily remembers helping to make copies and scans, and pulling bags of used linens up the hall for the nurses.
Though she always considered nursing as a possible career choice, she never felt particularly destined for it. Diane says she didn’t push Emily toward nursing and let her make her own career choice. In fact, through high school and into her first year of college, she considered a marketing career.
But looking back, she realizes a high school career day played an important role in her decision to choose nursing.
“At career day, I went to see the marketing guy and the nurses,” Emily says. “The marketing guy was dull and he was kind of boring. But the nurses were vibrant and a lot of fun.”
Eventually, she realized that nursing would be a better fit than marketing for her talents. After high school, she got a job at Barnes-Jewish as a unit secretary – on 10200. She was hired by Diane Cash-Warren, RN, who had worked as a staff nurse on the floor for Diane Watson.
Later, Emily became a patient care tech, on 10200, of course. The more she worked, the more convinced she became that nursing was right for her.
Helping her mom and working as a unit secretary didn’t prepare her for all aspects of nursing, however. For instance, during morning rounds of her first clinical rotation (which, coincidentally, was on 10200), the instructor and Emily and her fellow students walked into a patient room to be greeted by the patient as he sat on the commode. The patient continued his end of the entire conversation there.
“You don’t see that as the secretary,” she says. “You don’t get that physical interaction."
But she soon came to learn that was just part of the job for a nurse.
As a fresh graduate from Barnes-Jewish College who has successfully passed her nursing board exams, Emily is happy to continue on 10200.
“I’ve played a lot of roles on this floor,” she says. “I like the variety of patients we have here. We have a little bit of everything so you get to do more and see more.”
She enjoys the interaction she has with her patients.
“When you’re a tech, you have a lot of patients, so you don’t get to spend as much time with them,” she says. “As a nurse, you don’t have as many, so you get to hear their stories, you get the whole picture and get to find out what’s going on with them [clinically].”
She also likes the sense of teamwork on the floor.
“I really like being able to help my team,” she says. “We all help each other. Everyone pitches in."
She doesn’t know, yet, whether she’d like to follow her mother’s footsteps as a nurse manager, but thinks she’d like to eventually pursue a clinical specialty.
Meanwhile, Diane Watson is proud to see her daughter working on her old floor.
“As any mom, I am very proud of my kids’ accomplishments and I am very proud of Emily,” says Diane. “I am busting with pride.
“She is a very caring and compassionate young woman. I think she is where she needs to be.”
-Story by Kathryn Holleman