While it is not uncommon for SUNY Broome students to work in addition to attending classes, some students experience more on the job perks than others. For second year nursing student Kaitlyn Dattoria, her part-time job has a particularly incredible bonus. “I have had the privilege (so far) to witness and assist with the births of seventy-one babies. I technically have only watched sixty-seven deliveries, because four of those deliveries included sets of twins.” 

Dattoria, a Harpursville native, always knew that she wanted a career in healthcare. That desire was solidified thanks to her participation in BOCES’ New Visions Health Careers Academy. Through the New Visions program, Dattoria devoted her senior year of high school to exploring all aspects of the world of healthcare through custom academic coursework and hands-on clinical observations. It was during one of her routine clinical rotations that Dattoria experienced her “aha” moment.

“I had the opportunity to watch a c-section delivery of twins. The nurses brought out a chair for me because they assumed, based on previous experiences with student observers, that I would faint. I kept refusing to sit down. I wanted to be right there in the action and didn’t want to miss a minute of it. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to work in either labor and delivery, maternity, or NICU. I honestly couldn’t stop talking about it. For months, I told anyone and everyone about that c-section.”

Dattoria couldn’t wait to jump into working in labor and delivery and researched ways to expedite her opportunities. “I learned that you needed to be eighteen years old and a high school graduate to work at the hospital. So I applied to work at Wilson Medical Center the day after I graduated from Harpursville. During my interview, I discussed my exposure to labor and delivery in the New Visions program and I think that I was hired largely because of the hands-on experiences that I received through that program. I started working as a Nursing Assistant in the labor and delivery unit in August of 2020. This was also right around the time that I started my first semester as a nursing student at SUNY Broome,” explained Dattoria. 

The combination of receiving direct admission into SUNY Broome’s highly competitive nursing program and being selected as a Presidential Honors Scholarship recipient, made the decision to come to SUNY Broome a no-brainer. The accelerated nature of SUNY Broome’s nursing program meant that Dattoria could dive right into the nursing curriculum during her first semester, which would speed up her ability to reach her ultimate goal of becoming a labor and delivery nurse. 

Kaitlyn’s schedule during an average week in the school year is not for the faint of heart. Between nursing classes, labs, and clinical rotations, she manages to fit in time to complete her Presidential Honors Scholarship volunteer hours and work at Wilson Medical Center per diem on evenings and weekends, floating between the labor and delivery, maternity, and NICU units. 

“Time management is the biggest reason that I am able to balance so much. Unfortunately, I realized that I neglected to give myself enough free time and I started to feel the effects of not having a mental break. I recently started to incorporate 30 minutes of fun into my schedule everyday and I have really noticed a difference. Taking 30 minutes to walk our dogs, read, play on my phone, cook, or workout has really helped me to unwind and then regroup to tackle my next class, lab, clinical or shift at work,” shared Dattoria. 

Even when Kaitlyn Dattoria is not working at the hospital with the region’s newest babies, she is surrounded by birth. “My family breeds Golden Retriever puppies, so even when I am home, I am surrounded by dog labor and delivery,” Dattoria said.

Kaitlyn is on target to graduate from SUNY Broome’s nursing program in the spring of 2022 and is hoping to join Wilson Medical Center’s staff as a nurse. “I used to think that I only wanted to work in labor and delivery, but after my clinical rotations through our program, I equally fell in love with NICU and maternity. Now my decisions are a little bit tougher, but that’s a great problem to have.”

 Learn more about BCC Foundation’s scholarship program which awards students over $1,300,000.00 annually through merit based scholarships and the Financial Aid Grants-in-Aid program.