Former archeologist really digs being a nurse
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.