Ok, I know it is April Fools Day and I'm writing about a milk bank, but I promise the two aren't related! No, today I'm featuring Lesley Cottrell, a nurse who works at the only human donor milk bank in Oklahoma. I went to high school with Lesley, but didn't know about her job until I saw a story on the local news about the organization! That's when I decided I had to see if she would share her story here. And thankfully she agreed.
As a child, I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? That dream became a reality. I am currently an RN with my Bachelor's degree in nursing. After graduating high school, I went right to college to pursue my dream. After graduating college, I moved to Oklahoma City in order to work at a larger hospital where there are more learning opportunities available. After 7 years of working as a women's and newborn nurse, I interviewed for a job at the Oklahoma Mothers' Milk Bank. My passion for breastfeeding came about after I became a mom myself. Becoming a mom completely changed my outlook on so many different things. I have been at OMMB for a year now.
What is your official job title? My official job title is Clinical Assistant. That does not even come close to capturing what I do. We are a nonprofit organization that provides safe, pasteurized, human donor milk to NICUs throughout Oklahoma. We have only been operational for a little over a year and a half now. That being said, we are very small! I am the first and only full time employee at OMMB. That means that I pretty much do everything, ranging from donor screening to working in the pasteurizing lab to attending events for community outreach. I do it all :)
What is a typical day like? Every day is different at OMMB. I really don't have a typical day with all that I have to do. Some days are spent talking to donors and working with them to get their screening completed and others are spent sending out a ton of emails to hospitals that are submitting orders for donor milk. It makes my job interesting because there are so many different things that I can do in a day.
How did you end up in this career? I started working as an RN at the OU Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City. I worked as a postpartum and newborn nurse for most of that time, but I also spent a short time working as an RN in the NICU. After I had my daughter in 2012, my world changed. Being a breastfeeding mother, my passion for breastfeeding emerged. I also wanted to be able to have more "normal" work hours and get away from working weekends and holidays. Our clinical director at the milk bank is also an IBCLC at OU, so I knew her from working over there. She put the word out about a position opening up at the milk bank.
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I completed a four year degree and obtained my Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. I, then, completed my boards, also known as NCLEX, to be able to practice as an RN.
What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? My current position is very unique, especially here in Oklahoma, due to the fact that we are a fairly new nonprofit organization and that milk banking is still growing in the United States. My advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in nursing or lactation would just be to stick with it. It can be a long road, but if it's your passion, it will be well worth it. Do what you love!
Thanks again for sharing your career with us, Lesley! Your family is gorgeous :)
Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...