Paper names Nicole Porter one of Wyoming's Top Nurses

By Kristy Bleizeffer May 6, 2020

The Casper Star-Tribune selected Nicole Porter, R.N., as one of Wyoming's Top Nurses for 2020. She is one of eight Wyoming Medical Center nurses chosen for the honor.
"We had a long time patient that was on the floor for a long time, who was passing away. She sat with this patient all day so they didn’t have to be alone." — Kristin Podjun

Congratulations to Nicole Porter, R.N., for being named one of Wyoming's Top Nurses by the Casper Star-Tribune.

In celebration of National Nurses Week, the Casper Star-Tribune selected 10 Wyoming nurses for the honor, and eight of them work at Wyoming Medical Center.

Nicole is a registered nurse on our Neuro Unit, and she was nominated by her co-worker Kristin Podjun.

"Nicole more then once has called and stuck up for her patients to get them what they need to make them comfortable," Kristin wrote in her nomination letter. "I don’t have a specific example, as it’s something she does daily!" 

Read more about Nicole and her career in the interview below.

How long have you been a nurse? 

I graduated from Casper College in May of 2014, I can't believe it's been 6 years this year. I have only worked on the Neurology Unit here at WMC, and I have been here almost 3 and a half years.

What type of nursing do you practice? 

I work on the Neuro Unit, we specialize in strokes, brain and spinal surgeries, and we are one of the only epilepsy centers for the state Wyoming.

I honestly had no idea what I was getting into when I applied. I was working as a nurse at an assistant living facility here in Casper, and I needed a change in life. I wasn't expecting to get hired to be honest. There is so much to learn when going from long-term care to acute care, and I was absolutely terrified!! I am so happy I took that leap of faith and applied, I wouldn't be the nurse I am today if I didn't.

When did you first become interested in medicine, and why did you decide to become a nurse?

When I was younger I honestly wanted to be a veterinarian. I was working retail and decided to become a CNA after the store I was working at closed. I worked as. CNA for about 5 years and then I knew that being a nurse was my calling in life.

So,  I applied for the nursing program and to my surprise got accepted. I haven't looked back since! My mom was very sick my first year of nursing school, she was in the hospital for seven  and a half months all together, most of the time out of state. I drove back and forth every weekend to see her. She had some of the most incredible nurses looking after her, they definitely helped me on my journey to becoming a nurse!

Do other members in your family work in health care?

My mom was a RN for a few years but she stepped away from it when my sister and I were little.

What is your favorite part of the job, and what are some challenges you face?

My absolute favorite part of my job is learning something new every day. I also love having students, I love being able to teach the furture of nursing. And I pray that I make an impact on their future.

I think some of the challenges that I face is learning something new every day. I know it sounds funny for my favorite part and a challenging part to be the same thing, but it is. With nursing things are constantly changing. Sometimes a routine that usually works for a couple days gets derailed because of a sicker patient. Patients can take a turn for the worse in a matter of minutes. You have to be diligent at all times.

What does it take to be a good nurse, in your opinion?

In my opinion, being a good nurse involves a lot of things. One of the biggest things is being a good team member. You depend on a lot of people to help you take care of patients; doctors, your fellow nurses, amazing CNAs, PT, OT, ST, RT, case management and housekeeping, just to name a few. You have to be willing to help everyone. It also takes a kind heart and as sharp mind, you have to be on alert. A good strong bladder is also a must! There will be days when you can't make it to the bathroom for several hours. 

What advice would you give new nurses or those considering a career in nursing? 

I have so much advice to give, haha. My biggest thing would be keep an open mind. Things are going to constantly change. You have to be willing to change with it. Another thing would be not to act like they know it all. You can't be that way, especially as a new nurse! Always ask questions and be egar to learn.

Do you still like being a nurse? 

I absolutely love being a nurse, even on days when I question my sanity. I don't want to do anything else in life.

As a regional referral center, Wyoming Medical Center covers about 250,000 Wyoming lives. We protect the health of our friends, neighbors, community and state. How does this make you feel?  

Being a part of Wyoming Medical Center makes me proud. Knowing that we are the number one stroke center in the state, it truly is an amazing feeling to be a part of such an incredible team!

How does it make you feel to know that a colleague or patient nominated you for this honor?

I don't know if there is a way to describe it to be honest. It makes my heart so happy to know that I have made such an impact on some one that they would want to recognize me. I try every day I work to help just one person in a positive way, and this definitely lets me know that at least one time, I did just that. So thank you, to whoever you are. You have no idea how much this means to me!

Anything else you'd like to add or would like your colleagues to know?

I cannot say enough about my colleagues! We are a family on Neuro, we always have each other's backs and are always looking out for each other. Our leader Tamara Thomson is the glue that holds us all together!! I know with my whole heart that I would not be receiving this recognition without every member of our family. Each of them helps me be the nurse that I am today, I love you all and I am so proud of all of us!

I also want my friends and family to know how much their love and support means to me. I have the best support system for every aspect in life, and they cheer me on no matter what. 

I thank God every day for this amazing life I live, and for the incredible people and opportunities that He has given me.

Wyoming Medical Center's Top Nurses

Eight of the 10 Top Nurses honored by the Casper Star-Tribune in 2020 are from Wyoming Medical Center. Read their interviews in the links below.