A pandemic is probably not the best time to refer to someone’s personality as ‘infectious.’
But you don’t have to talk with Shalaine Reddic for long, even on the phone, to feel the positive energy and can-do spirit of this UC Davis Medical Center nurse.
Reddic’s desire to help patients blends perfectly with her strong drive to succeed, academic muscle and never-say-die attitude – all wrapped up in what she calls her fashion-forward style.
A single mother of three, Reddic has never stopped moving up the career ladder. She started out doing clerical work on the Davis campus years ago. Today, Reddic is on the verge of becoming a licensed nurse practitioner.
“I always like to stay busy,” said Reddic.
That’s an understatement. She was deftly juggling the phone conversation after a long work week while providing cooking instruction to her 16-year-old son. “And I’ve always believed that I could do more than people thought I could,” she said.
When she first started working, the Rancho Cordova resident didn’t consider the patient side of health care. She didn’t enjoy the thought of seeing blood or being in the clinic environment. But after becoming a clinical quality improvement coordinator at UC Davis Health, she started working with nurses and quickly gained an appreciation for the profession.
Reddic spent nearly 10 years slowly but steadily taking classes and moving from one nursing degree to the next – from an associate of art’s degree at a community college to a bachelor’s degree (cum laude, of course) from Sacramento State – all while working and almost single-handedly raising her children.
“I have seen her push through personal issues on numerous occasions,” said Darrell Desmond, nurse manager of Reddic’s hospital unit. “But she just keeps moving forward with an always positive attitude despite life’s many challenges.”
It was while volunteering at a community clinic for underserved women in Sacramento that Reddic had what she calls an epiphany. It was a moment of intense clarity for someone who already had a rewarding nursing career.
“I saw nurse practitioners working with patients, diagnosing health problems, prescribing medications,” Reddic said. “They were providers. They had the autonomy to make patient-care decisions. For me, that was it. I was in tears because I knew then and there that was what I really wanted to do.”
So, Reddic decided to add another academic achievement to her three nursing degrees and an AA degree in business administration: a graduate degree as a family nurse practitioner.
Three years and many commute miles later, she recently completed her master’s from Sonoma State and is now studying for her boards. While working full time, of course.
Reddic admits to being overwhelmed at times over the years. But she said strong faith and prayer helped her put things in perspective when she felt defeated and exhausted.
“It’s been a journey and a learning process,” Reddic said. “I’ve got a few bruises, but I’m still here and excited about each day. When I face adversity, I always step it up a notch.”
As if it wasn’t enough to become a nurse practitioner, Reddic is considering going back to school for a certificate in psychiatry and, perhaps, a doctorate at some point.
She’s also dreaming about plans for starting two independent clinics. One would be dedicated to serving underprivileged communities. The other would be an IV hydration bar, a trending intravenous therapy program for wellness, beauty and health.
“Shalaine has organized her life for success,” said Joleen Lonigan, an executive director of Patient Care Services at UC Davis Medical Center. “She’s turned her motivation into achievements and her pathway into inspiration that can benefit others.”
Her story is undoubtedly motivational for anyone who knows Reddic. Colleagues say her determination is impressive. Her attitude always stays positive, undoubtedly enhanced by that fashion-forward sensibility that can be seen, despite the required nursing apparel, in some colorful shoe choices and unique earrings.
And those academic and clinical accomplishments? They’re likely just steppingstones leading toward further personal and professional goals.
In short, Shalaine Reddic and the spirit with which she approaches life seem – even in a pandemic age – wonderfully contagious.