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Josh Bickford rises from kitchen aid to registered nurse

MultiCare Auburn Medical Center registered nurse Josh Bickford in the facilities kitchen. Bickford started as a kitchen aid in 1996 while he was still a high school student.  - Courtesy Photo
MultiCare Auburn Medical Center registered nurse Josh Bickford in the facilities kitchen. Bickford started as a kitchen aid in 1996 while he was still a high school student.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

When Josh Bickford started work at Auburn Regional Medical Center in 1996, he did not have nursing in mind as a profession.

Bickford was a 16-year-old boy, working part-time in the hospital kitchen.

“It paid better than working at a pizza or fast food place,” Bickford said. “I felt like I was making big money.”

In the two years he worked in food services he became acquainted with nurses and other staff working at the hospital and learned about their careers. After graduating from Puyallup’s Rogers High School in 1998, he took a job as a transporter in the emergency department, taking patients from the ER to various places in the hospital.   That job led to his becoming a certified nursing assistant the following year and an emergency room technician the year after.

Bickford enjoyed his job as an ER tech and was content for awhile.

“I was earning a good living for a single person,” Bickford said, “and I was not anxious to return to school.”

After a few years, however, his ambitions changed.

“My friends were getting married and starting families,” Bickford said. “The ones with higher education found it easier to get jobs that could comfortably support a family. I decided to attend nursing school and become an RN.”

In 2008, Bickford started school at Pierce College while continuing to work part-time as an ER tech at Auburn Regional. He graduated with his associates degree in June, and passed the licensing exam in July. His hospital badge now has “RN” in big letters.

“The blue scrubs feel good.” he said, referring to the navy blue scrubs worn by registered nurses at Auburn Regional.

Bickford has even bigger plans now.

“I am getting married in September and taking a year off school to make sure I get off to a good start as a husband and nurse” he explained. “Then I plan to go back to school.”

Bickford plans to complete a four-year degree in nursing, and then possibly pursue an advanced degree.

Multicare Auburn Regional Medical Center is a progressive 162-bed acute-care facility and medical center with a 24/7 Level III Trauma Center. It has been serving South King and North Pierce counties since 1921. Multicare Auburn Regional Medical Center’s community clinic system, Regional Medical Clinics, provides urgent care, family medicine, occupational medicine, and specialty care in Pierce and King counties. For more information visit www.Multicare.org and click on Auburn.

 

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