For­mer arche­ol­o­gist re­ally digs be­ing a nurse

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

Ezra Erb has made an ap­par­ently in­con­gru­ous ca­reer change, but to the arche­ol­o­gist-turned-nurse, his two pro­fes­sions have much in com­mon. Ob­vi­ously, one pro­fes­sion in­volves pre­serv­ing his­tory and the other seeks to pre­serve life. But Erb, the op­er­at­ing room ed­u­ca­tion and qual­ity co­or­di­na­tor for Rush Uni­ver­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Chicago, laid out some no­table par­al­lels in an in­ter­view with Out­liers.

Erb says sur­geons and arche­ol­o­gists both seek to be as min­i­mally in­va­sive as pos­si­ble, to pre­vent un­nec­es­sary harm or dis­rup­tion. Arche­ol­ogy, as in medicine, re­lies on imag­ing to iden­tify the best ap­proach, he says.

In his for­mer life, Erb worked on ex­ca­va­tion sites in Ger­many, Is­rael and Turkey. On his trav­els, he once un­earthed hun­dreds of gold coins; sought ev­i­dence of a Ro­man con­quest on a for­ti­fied Celtic hill­top; and turned up a life-size statue cov­ered in gold leaf.

As an arche­ol­o­gist, Erb says he found that dis­cov­er­ies il­lu­mi­nat­ing an­cient do­mes­tic life were more sig­nif­i­cant, though less flashy, than ex­ca­vat­ing a tomb. In the op­er­at­ing room, he con­sid­ers surgery to re­store daily func­tion as equally im­por­tant.

Erb says an in­ter­est in health­care and a de­sire to be ac­tive and in­volved in care prompted the change to nurs­ing. De­mand for nurses any­where in the United States is also a plus, he ex­plains, be­cause pro­fes­sional op­tions for his wife, who works as a con­ser­va­tor at Chicago’s Field Mu­seum, are more lim­ited.

He says he has been im­pressed by the amount of in­for­ma­tion nurses must syn­the­size. “It is chal­leng­ing,” Erb says, “and grat­i­fy­ing be­cause it is chal­leng­ing.”

Erb is find­ing new chal­lenges in nurs­ing.

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