FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State RN-BSN student Katie Marcum, a Madison native, comes from a long line of nurses; her grandmother, mother, aunts and sister all found their callings within the profession.
“I watched in awe of my family of strong, successful women relive their adventures working as nurses,” Marcum said. “Every family dinner was always colorful and fun as the nurses would relive their war stories, and I knew I wanted to be able to tell my own story one day.”
It came as no surprise to Marcum, then, when she decided to follow suit.
“I always knew from a young age that I aspired to help and care for others,” she said. “I was meant to be a caregiver and give back to people.”
Her patients on the labor and delivery unit at United Hospital Center in Bridgeport would agree; earlier this month, Marcum was named the Best Nurse in Harrison County by the Exponent Telegram’s 2021 Best of Harrison County Community Choice Awards. For Marcum, the award is affirmation that she was truly made for her chosen career path.
“I did not go into nursing needing someone to thank me for my work, but it was so refreshing to feel like I made a difference in someone’s life,” Marcum said. “I feel very honored. I am personally grateful for each of my patients and dearly enjoy taking care of them.”
Growing up in the small town of Madison, West Virginia, Marcum said she saw first-hand how a nurse’s care and compassion could comfort members of a community.
“My mom was probably my biggest inspiration to become a nurse. I saw what an impact a nurse can make on someone from watching her in public and seeing people recognizing her and thanking her,” she said.
After graduating high school, Marcum found her way north to Fairmont by way of GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a nation-wide program that helps students and their families prepare for and evaluate postsecondary options.
“Throughout my high school experience, I was able to tour and visit multiple colleges around the state. I knew I wanted to go into nursing and researched the best nursing programs in the state and decided Fairmont was the right choice for me,” she said. “The nursing program has a high NCLEX success pass rate, the classroom size was small and most of all, the campus just felt like home to me.”
It was after a stint as a nursing assistant that Marcum began her journey as part of the Falcon Family, working as a licensed practical nurse while putting herself through Fairmont State’s LPN-RN program.
“At Fairmont State, we don’t just ‘teach a trade,’” said Mirta M. Martin, Fairmont State University President. “We transform lives and educate the citizen leaders of tomorrow. And Katie Marcum is a perfect example of the type of Falcons we’re sending into the world — highly skilled, professional and compassionate. We couldn’t be prouder of her.”
Marcum graduated from the LPN-RN program in 2018 and has been practicing as a registered nurse ever since.
“I gained the nursing knowledge I needed to prepare for real-world nursing at Fairmont State,” she said. “I felt the clinical experience gave me hands-on experience so when I graduated, I was not afraid to talk to a patient, start an IV or complete other simple tasks that can be scary for a brand-new nurse. I learned interprofessional communication skills that helped shape me into the nurse I am today.”
Now, Marcum is enrolled part-time in Fairmont State’s RN-BSN program which allows her to balance her responsibilities as a student, nurse and mother.
“The amount of support I receive from the professors here at Fairmont State is unreal. I feel they are very understanding of life, work and school,” she said.
That support is invaluable to Marcum, whose passion and purpose lie in providing the very best patient care she can to the expectant mothers who walk through the doors of UHC.
“After the birth of my own daughter, I believe that the most important day of someone’s life is the day they bring their baby or babies into this world,” Marcum said. “I strive to make every woman’s experience exceptional as women work hard to carry and birth children. Not all days are glorious on labor and delivery, but even on the darkest days, I am still able to support and guide women and make a difference.”