Nadine Kerr

It’s something you are born with

Nadine, a labor and delivery nurse, knows that nursing was not just a career choice, but who she was meant to be.

portrait of Nadine Kerr, nurse at UC Davis Health


I started off as actually a culinary student. And I was very young. I was 17 and I wanted to be a pastry chef. And I thought that was very dreamy. And in my back burner was nursing. I didn't think that was exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to make wedding cakes. So I got injured on the job and ended up leaving culinary arts, realizing that it wasn't for me. And because I experienced an injury and had to have some medical procedures done, I veered my goals towards the medical field. And I started off as a certified nursing assistant. I did that for six years in long-term care and something in me knew that I knew that I knew that I wanted to go into obstetrics. And I didn't know why. I didn't really have like an inspiring story. I just felt it was a calling.

And I feel like nursing in general is not just an idea. It's not a good job with benefits. It's not job security. It's something that you're born with. And it takes a really special person to not only about compassion and care, but it's a way of thinking. It's a way of life. It's a way of strategy and intelligence and teamwork and communication with multiple levels of leadership. And it's in my blood. It's who I am. It's who I was meant to be. I could never be anything else. And I knew in nursing school, OB was for me and I didn't care what any instructor had to say to me. They wanted me to get all this experience in med surge and my heart just beat labor and delivery. So I kind of looked away from what mentors were telling me that I needed to get some experience first.

And I grew up in Lake Tahoe and I knew that UC Davis was the place for me. A best friend's dad was a firefighter. And he said, "If you want to learn anything, if you want to see it all, if you want to be in the best place possible for learning, you need to go to UC Davis." So I moved from Lake Tahoe, which I had never left in 25 years. I've only lived in one little town and I moved here just for UC Davis. So I've been here 15 years now as a new grad in labor and delivery, which I was told by all the naysayers, "You will never specialize as a new grad." And I was interviewed and hired immediately by Judie Boehmer and my life changed from that point. And I absolutely love my job. There's nothing else I would possibly do.

I love the emotional investment that you put into your patient. This is a sacred moment. This isn't just a medication pass. It's not a check in the box or a head to toe assessment. This is someone's moment they planned for in their life that they will remember forever. And they're going to remember you for forever. And they're going to remember that they were supported and they were educated and who was in the room. And even if it's a good story or a bad story, you give your whole heart to this person and you invest on a medical side and on an emotional side. And of course we love moms and babies, and we love newborns and breastfeeding and skin to skin. It's a beautiful thing, but even on the days where it's high risk and it's stressful and outcomes aren't as good, we, as a team, physicians and nurses, just totally invest in and devote into this person's life. And then I take it with me and I take it home and they're going to probably remember me longer than I'm going to remember them. So I love that investment.