Meet Lauren Brewer, a 2009 School of Nursing alumna. She’s applying her medical knowledge to her job as part of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Her day job is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, but she also deploys to provide patient care to those in need during an emergency or disaster. We caught up with her to learn more about her career and how Clemson prepared her for it.
Q: What is your job? While at Clemson I discovered the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corp (USPHS) at a career fair. I have worked for them since graduating in multiple locations and agencies. The overall premise is that I work in a federal agency but I’m on call to deploy to national emergencies. Originally, I was stationed with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and worked as a staff nurse, infectious disease/quality control coordinator, and utilization review nurse. In 2015, I transferred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where I worked on the quality of death certificate data until 2019. I then took a new position within CDC with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) where I’m a program manager working with electronic health records and occupational data. I have deployed 8 times to multiple missions/locations including Hurricane Maria for case management of displaced individuals, to the U.S. Border to ensure appropriate health care, and for surveillance of COVID-19.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Working with other dedicated individuals whose goal is to protect and promote the health of the US.
Q: What are your three top memories of your job/career? 1)Individuals- There are multiple moments in my career where one person has reached out to help me or I’ve been able to help them. There are too many to list, but these are precious memories to me. 2)Promotions and new jobs- It’s exciting to move to the next step that you’ve planned for and wanted! 3)Attending conferences especially the USPHS Symposiums- It’s so invigorating being surrounded by your colleagues and motivated by amazing speakers!
Q: What is a typical day/week like at your job? Well, nothing has been typical during COVID-19, but I get to telework 100% unless I’m deployed! Typically, I have lots of meetings and collaborations with colleagues to move my project related to Electronic Health Records and occupational data forward.
Q: What inspired you to take this career path? I was able to do two internships in the summer, one at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and one with the Indian Health Service (IHS) through a program called JRCOSTEP hosted by the USPHS. It showed me that this is what I wanted to do!
Q: How did Clemson prepare you for your career? Clemson gave me the basis of knowledge, the outlet to learn and discover as well as access to opportunity! The professors were so supportive especially being part of the honors program. I also really enjoyed the Clemson Student Nursing Association and the support I received while serving as part of the National Student Nursing Association Board!
Q: What was your favorite Clemson memory? The pinning ceremony was very special to me. The nursing director was able to arrange for my mom (who is also a nurse) to give me my nursing pin on stage!
Q: Any advice for students? My advice is to take advantage of all the orientation time and mentors your organization can provide. Your safety and your patient’s safety are top priorities, but you also can’t let your fear hold you back. You’ve had great training at Clemson to be an amazing nurse and all the pieces will come together!
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