Tyler C. has always known that he belongs in health care.

“My whole life, whenever people asked me, ‘What do you want to do?’ it was always health care. I wanted a job where I could make a difference, where I could impact people’s lives. I wanted to have a job that I could be proud of, and that I felt impacted people very directly,” Tyler explained.

Tyler’s Journey into Nursing

As he progressed through college, Tyler explored a variety of options for careers in health care. He considered becoming a doctor, a physician assistant, or even a nurse, but when it was time for him to graduate he still wasn’t sure where he wanted to be. Looking to take the first step into the medical field, Tyler pursued his emergency medical technician (EMT) license and began working in emergency medical services (EMS).

While he enjoyed his work, Tyler felt drawn to pursue a career where the care he provided patients could extend out of the ambulance and into the hospital. “I wanted that longer relationship with the patient, where I could see their progress,” Tyler said. “That’s one of the things that was hard for me in EMS. You have 15 minutes of a really intense relationship with [the patient], and then they’re gone, and you don’t know what happened to them.”

Tyler didn’t shy away from the pressures of caring for trauma patients, but he was driven to see them through to the other side.

Step Inside the Trauma Neuro ICU

In the Trauma Neuro ICU at UPMC Hamot, Tyler has found his place. Many patients are in critical condition and unable to communicate, so the care that the ICU nurses provide is crucial. In his unit, he and his team have a greater impact than he could’ve ever expected. Amid the high-pressure environment of the ICU, Tyler’s impact extends beyond the patients, to their families and loved ones. “Emotions are really high in the ICU especially,” Tyler said. “These people are going through a lot, and they’re the ones that are watching their loved one go through something.”

The intensity of the ICU also contributes to creating a community of nurses that Tyler feels is unparalleled. He said, “What cemented my decision [to pursue nursing] was the coworkers. The bond that the nurses have here is different than anything else that I’ve seen. They come and ask you what you need, without hesitation. Anything you need, you’ve got more than the amount of help you need.”

A Job That Gives Back

When Tyler was choosing his career path, he looked for a job that he could be proud of. As a nurse, Tyler has found that – and so much more. His career has rewarded him with the supportive community of his nursing unit, the chance to meet patients with incredible strength and perseverance, and the fulfillment of caring for people in their time of greatest need.

At the end of the day, what’s most rewarding to Tyler is not just the impact that he has on his patients in the ICU, but also the opportunity to see them return to their normal lives in good health. Tyler said, “Sometimes people come back in and thank us. We’re able to show them the room that they spent two months in that they don’t even remember.”

When patients in the Trauma Neuro ICU are most in need, Tyler and his team are there. In return, they receive the satisfaction and pride of knowing that they have truly changed lives.