Employment Whim Turned into Loved Career

For Dylan Deabold, nursing requires more than a diploma: “Your heart has to be into it”

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


Buffalo resident Dylan Deabold is a registered nurse who works at Erie County Medical Center and teaches part-time at Trocaire College. His dedication to healthcare might lead one to imagine he had always wanted to work as a nurse; however, that’s not the case.

At age 18, he began his first job — not in healthcare — which lasted four years.

“I could not get interested in doing network marketing,” Deabold said. “It was not for me.”

He spotted an interesting employment ad about working with people with developmental disabilities. He had never worked in healthcare but on a lark, applied and was hired as a direct care worker. To his surprise, he warmed to helping people and “fell in love” with the job.

His enjoyment of that job prompted him to apply for nursing school. He graduated from Trocaire College in 2016 with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has since worked at Erie County Medical Center and part-time teaching at Trocaire.

Though Deabold loves his work, he feels staffing is a big issue. “Nurses are often forced to work short. There’s such a shortage of nurses now. California has mandated nursing ratios, which I think would be beneficial to nursing everywhere.”

As a nursing instructor, he likes feeling he’s part of the solution as he’s teaching new nurses. Erie County Medical Center is part of the New York Nurse’s Association, which promotes staffing ratios.

“Sometimes, it’s pretty difficult,” he said. “Nurses could have six to seven patients at a time and we can be spread only so thin. It becomes pretty difficult.”

He thinks the reason the industry lacks nurses is that affordable two-year colleges lack sufficient capacity to accept all of those interested in nursing and the larger capacity four-year schools tend to have more costly tuition.

“Different grants would be helpful to students who are pursuing nursing careers and for those in the healthcare professions,” Deabold said. “It gets super expensive. With everything going on with COVID-19, thank God they’re deferring student loans for everyone.”

He likes that at least the pandemic is giving healthcare workers some much-deserved recognition, and he hopes that it also draws more people to healthcare careers.

“But this is what happens on a daily basis,” he added. “We are always there for your family members and the patient lying there in the bed. Families are not always able to be involved.”

The patient care and interactions are what he enjoys most about nursing.

“When you’re in the hospital [as a patient], it’s one of your most difficult times,” Deabold said. “To be comforting for them —I really enjoy that.”

He hopes that anyone interested in nursing will consider why they want to pursue it as a career option.

“If you want to get into it for the money, don’t do it,” he said. “You have to have a passion for nursing. It’s a hard, thankless difficult job. Your heart has to be into it.”

Beyond the educational requirements, he believes that nurses must possess compassion, caring and understanding.

“This is the most vulnerable time for people and they’ll lash out because they’re sick and scared,” he said. “Especially with the patients in palliative care at end of life, it gets pretty tense. You have to be there for the family members and the patient.”

“I love nursing,” he added. “I got into it on a whim at first and I think if you feel in your heart you’re a compassionate person and you want to help people, it’s probably for you. It’s still a female dominated, but there’s an increase in the number of male nurses. I think patients have really started to like that. I get complimented all the time for being a male in the field. It’s a nice change-up for patients.”

He hopes to advance his career by obtaining additional education to become a nurse practitioner focusing on palliative care.

When he’s not working, Deabold enjoys spending time with friends and family, activities he’s not able to do during quarantine, but he’s looking forward to when he can.