Name: Monica Clonts.
Hometown: St. James.
Education: In 1992 I graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Memphis, Tenn. I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006 from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and then earned my Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 from the University of Phoenix.
Family: I have been married for 27 years to my husband, Terry, and we have two sons — Taylor, who is 26 and attending graduate school in Pittsburg, Pa., and Emmett, who is 17 and a junior at John F. Hodge High School in St. James.
Hobbies/other interests: When I get spare time I enjoy genealogy and scrapbooking.
How many years have you been a nurse? I have been a nurse for about 23 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse? My mom was a nurse and from a very young age I said I wanted to be like her and be a nurse. I loved her white uniforms and her starched nurse’s cap!
Were you inspired by any other nurses? Even though I had always said I wanted to be a nurse, nursing is the second career path I followed. I first worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis as a laboratory technologist. I loved my job and knowing that I was helping to find a cure for childhood cancer. Getting to know the incredible nurses that worked directly with the patients at St. Jude made me realize I wanted to do more, so I enrolled in nursing school at night and continued to work at St. Jude during the day. During my clinical rotation in public health I decided that public health was what I really wanted to do. The public health nurses seemed to really make a difference in the lives of the people in the community. I am so fortunate to have found a public health position shortly after I graduated.
What is the best part of your job? I have the opportunity to work with people of every age, from infants to the elderly. I love knowing that what I do matters and that I can be a positive influence in at least one person’s life each day.
What is something people may not know about your job? As a public health nurse I function in many roles in the course of the day. I help protect the health of the community through communicable disease investigations, STD testing/treatment and tuberculosis case management. I also promote healthier families through pregnancy testing, WIC, immunizations and education regarding health issues. No two days are ever alike.
What advice would you give people who may be considering going into nursing? I would tell anyone looking at a career in nursing that nursing can be a great career choice. If you are not quite sure nursing is for you, then volunteer or find a position in the health care field, talk to the nurses you encounter and ask lots of questions. Look carefully at your short- and long-term career goals and if you decide nursing is for you, then find a program that will take you to the degree you want. Some nurses are content as an LPN or ADN while others may want to obtain their MSN. Look at all of your options. Today’s nurses have many delivery options available to them from the traditional nursing school to on-line classes or a combination.
Q&A with Monica Clonts, a nurse with the Phelps/Maries County Health Department
Name: Monica Clonts.