PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Ten years ago this month, Erica Phillips helped Metamora High School win a state softball championship.
Softball has been a part of her life for a very long time. So was the desire to be a nurse.
“I always had a passion for taking care of people and putting their needs before mine,” said Phillips.
Her aunt and cousin are nurses. She’s been around the profession for a while.
Phillips was a standout player for the Redbirds then went to Illinois Central College to play college softball and begin her nursing studies. She graduated from Methodist College in Peoria was hired by UnityPoint.
She works in a pediatric clinic and says she deals with the coronavirus every day.
“The thing that’s the most challenging right now is we have to wear masks with face shields,” Phillips said. “And you can tell in a kid’s eyes if they are afraid of us because they can’t see our mouths. Especially, the little babies who we are trying to make smile with our mouths and how we talk. We can’t do that anymore.”
Making the transition from softball fields to the medical field has come naturally for Phillips, who played a couple of summers for the Pekin Lettes after she graduated from ICC in 2015. She those years as a pitcher and a captain of her teams are helping her in her nursing career.
“With nursing, it can be really fast paced and your time management and critical thinking is huge in nursing,” said Phillips. “I think I have a little edge being an athlete that can get me through those high-pressure situations.”
Adding to her pressure-filled life as a nurse is a big event in October. She’s planning a wedding during this pandemic.
Again, she’s leaning on her experience in big softball games to get through a big year.
“I have always said student-athletes are among the most mentally tough in the work field,” Phillips said.
She’s proving it.