Find out how Kathleen Clayton's background as a massage therapist has helped shape her career as a hospice nurse.
What drew you to the profession?
I was originally looking for a profession where I could be independent and my own boss, so I became a massage therapist in 1980. In 1982, I became an AMTA member. Joe Ferguson and Pat Donahue were two of my mentors. As I progressed through my career, AMTA had a profound effect on me and my maturity.
Where do you find education?
Before there was an Associate's program, I took most of my classes through AMTA. Attending AMTA's National Conventions allowed me to engage in hands-on and other learning opportunities, as well as giving me a place to discuss the issues facing our profession. When I was young, AMTA kept me on the right course, and as I developed and gained experience as a massage therapist, AMTA's continuing education opportunities kept me up-to-date and current in the profession.
What is your current work setting like?
I am currently a hospice nurse at Casa de la Luz in Tucson, Arizona. I enjoy being able to teach family members that it is okay to touch and hold their loved ones, as well as providing that care to the patient myself. I continue to keep in touch with my massage colleagues and stay informed by remaining an AMTA member so I can perform massage if I need to. This week, I am working with the VA hospital to provide massage for a client with post-traumatic stress disorder.
One sentence of advice?
Get as much overall experience and education as you can to develop your skill level and technique.
For more information on working in a health care environment, please visit the career guidance section of our website.