Allyson Halvorson is a registered nurse in Altru Health System’s obstetrics department. She has been a member of the Altru family since August of 2014, caring for patients and newborns in the Family Birthing Center. Allyson shares her experience working in one of the most in-demand specialties in the nursing field as a labor and delivery nurse.
What is your educational background and career history?
I went to Saint Cloud State University for collegiate swimming and pre-nursing 2006-2008, transferred (to be closer to my family) into the NDSU Nursing Program 2008-2011 and graduated with my BSN in May 2011. While in college, I worked at Eventide Nursing Home in Moorhead as a CNA, which gave me great tools to help care for dependent patients, pass medications, manage my time, and care for patients’ families. After working as a registered nurse in both the nursing home and hospital settings (post-anesthesia care) from 2011-2014, I joined Altru’s Family Birthing Center starting August 2014.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
Growing up, my parents encouraged me to do whatever my heart wanted.
I took a healthcare careers class in high school that was influential in finding my passion for helping adults and children. I have had several life experiences, including surgeries as a child, being first on the scene of a fatal accident near my home where I lost a high school classmate of mine, as well as having a grandfather with Alzheimer’s that in his last days asked me to come and be his nurse – all which led me to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. I was led on the right path and I have been shown over and over I am doing what I was meant to do.
What’s the best thing about your job?
My favorite part about being a registered nurse in Labor and Delivery is celebrating the miracle of life every day! It is so amazing to be a part of such a meaningful experience for mothers and their family. There is pain, sadness, anxiety, joy and excitement all in one shift. It is amazing to be part of a close team of nurses, residents, surgical techs and doctors. We all work hard and depend on each other, as well as work together as a team during deliveries to make sure mom and baby are safe. I absolutely love my job and my team, which makes work enjoyable every day.
What is your dream job?
Working as a labor and delivery nurse is my dream job! I have loved it since my OB clinicals in college! All of the nursing experiences I have had up to this job have helped me become the labor and delivery nurse I have always wanted to be.
What has been the best moment of your career so far?
There are several deliveries and families that I will never forget. The experiences with their deliveries have taught me how powerful love is and in turn helped me look deeper at myself. I have met some amazing families, mothers and babies in my career that I will never forget.
How do you measure success?
Success to me is doing the best I can and reaching goals that I have set for myself. It is important to set short- and long-term goals. Some days success is having a healthy mom and a healthy baby.
How has Altru supported you throughout your career growth?
I continue to learn something new every day and have been able to grow not only as a nurse but as a person during my career here with Altru. I started as a mom/baby nurse, then trained into Labor and Delivery and cesarean sections and am now a mentor for other new nurses. Our unit gives us the chance to become very versatile. Several years ago, I became a Certified Lactation Counselor with some financial assistance from Altru and have used my skills as a CLC every day. I teach prenatal breastfeeding classes and teach my patients about breastfeeding, which fulfills my love for education. I love helping people breastfeed and providing assistance to new mothers in the first few days of their newborn’s life. I am also involved with the Professional Development Committee and the Hospital Planning Committee. There are many learning opportunities to advance and be involved at Altru.
Describe your typical workday.
Every single day is different in Labor and Delivery. Some days I am in the OR circulating for a scheduled cesarean section at 7 a.m., or I have several mom/baby couplets, and other days I am taking care of a medicated or unmedicated labor patient that may need every bit of support I can give to get to the finish line.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
When I’m not at work, I’m usually with my two boys and husband. We enjoy the outdoors, bike rides, going to the park, swimming, fishing, hunting and spending my weekends off with family and friends. I have a two-year-old son named Ole and a four-year-old son named Otto.
How does working at Altru support your lifestyle?
I enjoy shift work as I am able to be home with my boys a couple days each week. Even if I work evening shifts, I spend the whole day at home and get a lot done. I feel like I am a half stay-at-home mom, half nurse. I really enjoy my weekends off and my team is always so helpful if I need a shift off last minute.
Who is your main role model in life?
My mom is definitely my role model in life. I have always wanted to have a passion for my job as she does for hers. She is one of the nicest, most patient, loving people you will ever meet and if you meet her, don’t be surprised if you get a hug by the end of your conversation. She always works hard for the better of her students and tries to make a difference in children’s lives every day. I continue to aspire to be more like her!
If you had an extra hour every day, what would you spend it doing?
Playing with my children.
What does Altru’s bold new era mean to you? For our patients?
The new era means a new hospital that will meet the needs of future generations, have the most updated technology, encourage high-quality staff and provide world-class care to our patients and families.
The Labor and Delivery floor is going to be even better than our current floor layout. We are looking at having larger rooms, better bonding experiences and a larger NICU that will potentially have more private rooms.
Three words that describe you as a nurse?
Compassionate, caring and helpful
What advice would you give to a nurse starting their career?
Be nervous, pay attention and be a patient advocate. Our bedside care and critical thinking skills are crucial. Don’t ever forget to listen to your gut and your heart – they are what make you a great nurse. But, also remember to care for your gut (feed yourself, take breaks, ask for help) and your heart (take time off, leave work at work, spend fun time with your work friends and family, and cry if you need to) because that is what will help keep you and your patients alive.
Do what you love. Make a difference. Join our team of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff committed to caring for the region for more than 100 years. Learn about nursing career opportunities at Altru Health System.