Maximizing My Summer Break as an Emergency & Critical Care Nurse at PASE: Meet Echo, PennVet '25

This summer, PASE welcomed a cohort of University of Pennsylvania veterinary students to join our team for the season. Echo Ball, class of 2025, joined PASE in May as an Emergency & Critical Care Nurse and helped to support our Emergency & Critical Care Department. PASE is always eager to teach and work alongside aspiring veterinary medicine professionals & future leaders. Continue reading to learn more about Echo and her experience at PASE this summer.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hello! My name is Echo and I have been working as an Emergency & Critical Care Nurse at PASE since May. I’m originally from the Greater Boston area, but made the move to Philadelphia last fall in order to matriculate into veterinary school at the University of Pennsylvania. I moved to the city with my cat, Ghost! When I’m not working (or studying), I enjoy hanging with my friends, trying new coffee shops, and exploring the city.
 
When and how did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine?
I knew I had an interest in working with animals from a very young age. My dreams of working in veterinary medicine truly became a reality when I started working hands-on with animals while pursuing my Bachelor’s degree. After that, I went on to work for 2 years in a general practice hospital after completing my degree. Once I laid a foundation and built my technical skills, I knew veterinary medicine was right for me. I can’t see myself doing anything else!

Why PASE? What about PASE was intriguing to you when searching for a summer/career opportunity?
As I was wrapping up my first year at PennVet, I decided I wanted to use my summer to gain experience in emergency and specialty medicine. I used the core hospital values and overall team environment to guide my decision towards which hospital I wanted to work with. After interviewing at PASE and meeting the team here, I quickly knew that this location offered more than just work experience in emergency medicine. PASE encourages professional growth and development, and the doctors here don’t shy away from creating opportunities to educate and support their nursing staff.

A day in the life: Tell us a bit more about your role here and what your day-to-day looked like.
As an Emergency & Critical Care outpatient nurse, my role primarily revolved around completing treatments to send patients home or preparing patients to be admitted for an extended hospital stay. When a patient comes into the hospital, I worked alongside the triage nurses to assess their status and communicate these important details to the doctors. We often juggle many tasks at once; while discharging one patient, I could also be running blood work or preparing to take radiographs on another. In order to admit a patient to the hospital, it was my job to start their treatments before transferring them over to the ICU nurse for further care. Beginning these treatments included placing a patient on IV fluids or giving medication. This role interacted with the whole team because it bridged the gap between the triage nurses, ICU nurses, and doctors, to facilitate the next step(s) for each patient.
 

What was the most rewarding aspect of your experience here?
The most rewarding aspect of my experience here was managing emergent cases and working alongside the doctors on critical cases that require a more extensive work-up. While my previous work experience in general practice gave me an introduction into client communication and helped me build my technical skills, here at PASE I was able to take those skills and translate them into emergency situations. In fact, just recently, I triaged an older dog that presented to PASE in critical condition for a hemoabdomen. Alongside Dr. Emily Dozeman, Co-Head of Critical Care at PASE, we were able to stabilize him and get him into surgery for an emergent splenectomy. It’s so impactful to work on these cases from start to finish, and watch these patients go home happy & healthy after all your hard work!

For fellow PennVet students who may be interested in joining the PASE team in the future, what advice would you share with them?
If you are interested in joining a dynamic team environment and building your technical skills, PASE is definitely the place for you! The doctors, specialists, and nurses here all have a wealth of knowledge to share, no matter what skill level or background you come from. The Emergency Department can be fast-paced and you never really know what is going to walk in the door. But, that’s what adds to the excitement! My best advice would be to keep a positive attitude and soak up any experience you can to learn something new!


If you are a vet student who is interested in exploring an externship opportunity with PASE, please contact Dr. Erik Zager, Co-Head of Critical Care, at: ezager@PASE.vet.

If you are interested in exploring a career with PASE, please visit: www.PASE.vet/Careers.

[Photos provided by Echo Ball]

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