Fifteen years ago, husband and wife Cameron and Tara T. were fully engrossed in their careers as artists. Together, they owned a copper enamelware business where they created and sold pieces to galleries across the country.

But everything changed for them when Tara gave birth to the couple’s first child. Tara said, “I had a nurse who was so amazing that she actually inspired me to change my career.” Her labor and delivery nurse “took a scary scenario and made it more comfortable. She put me at ease, she was kind, and she was just an inspiring person.”

Tara went back to nursing school and began to pursue a career in nursing. Several years later, Cameron followed suit. Now, a decade and a half later, Cameron and Tara are both full-time nurses in the Emergency Department, serving in two separate UPMC hospitals: Cameron at UPMC Mercy and Tara at UPMC Jameson.

A Career in their Communities

Transitioning from a career in the arts to a career in health care may seem like a huge jump, but Cameron and Tara have brought the same passion to their second career as they did to their first. Cameron finds the environment of the Emergency Department exciting and challenging, and he says it’s almost impossible to get bored with the hectic pace of the ED. At Mercy, Cameron shared how teamwork is everything. “The people here are awesome. Everyone has to be at their best and look for opportunities to help each other, because you’re going to need the help later on, too.”

Tara, who recently transitioned from UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital to UPMC Jameson to work closer to the couple’s home, values the meaningful opportunity to care for her own community. Tara said, “I just filled out the emergency card for my children, who go to school locally, and they ask the question ‘Where do you want your children to be sent [in case of emergency]?’ And I underlined Jameson. Absolutely Jameson.”

Tara believes that caring for her own community makes all the difference. “You take ownership of a place when you feel connected. I want Jameson. I want to be here. I want this to be the best that it can be.”

A Couple on a Life Changing Mission

Cameron and Tara never could’ve predicted where this second career would take them, but it really has changed everything. Their work in the Emergency Department provides Cameron and Tara with an outlet to invest in their communities and have a tangible impact. Cameron said, “Maybe it seems obvious now, but it wasn’t so obvious at the time how we ended up in health care. It was a good decision.”

While their interest in the arts will always be a part of their lives, this couple is proud to call themselves nurses. In Cameron’s words, “You can make money doing just about anything, but it’s hard to find something that, at the end of the day, you can feel like you actually made a difference.”

Tara shared that nursing gave her “a life with meaning,” explaining, “Here in the Emergency Department, you’re taking a person’s worst day, and you have the opportunity to make it not as bad as it could be. You can help them and make an impact on that individual and their family. That’s huge. Where else do you get to do that?”

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