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Doctorate student featured on reality show

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 17:08

When most students graduate from UCF, they seek out jobs that fit their degree, but most do not have their new job showcased on a reality TV show.

For Arden Monroe-Obermeit, reality TV has become her reality because she has become a part of Discovery's

"Dr. G: Medical Examiner" as a forensic technician.

"The show was the first time I was on stage or in front of a camera," said Obermeit, who is seeking her doctorate in nursing practice. "You don't like it at first, but you get used to it."

She insists Discovery films the show as realistically as possible and made sure to film at least one of the technicians.

"They tried to film us in the background and film us doing our job," said Obermeit. "We didn't get paid any more [money] because we were being filmed."

Obermeit was attracted to the job because it suited her personality and talents.

"I just liked how active the job was, unlike an office job," she said. "You get to be up and moving and help the families. Also, death is pretty intriguing, which is why most people are probably interested in the show."

Obermeit received her bachelor's degree in biological anthropology from the University of Florida, which led her into the field of forensics. However, she has decided to pursue a different career in the medical field and earned a second bachelor's degree this past summer from UCF in nursing.

"Arden was an outstanding student," said Patricia Weinstein, an assistant professor in the nursing program and one of Obermeit's role models. "She had work experience and it gave her insight into learning about the human body. She had a natural curiosity and drive that made it a pleasure to teach her."

Weinstein said that all nursing students come to the program with different experiences, but Obermeit's was unique.

Obermeit said she found nursing school easier than she expected because she had learned so much from autopsies. When they were teaching things about the body, she could already picture what it looked like in real life.

One of the reasons Obermeit chose to continue  her education at UCF is because she and her husband had already established a life in Orlando.

"It allowed me to make a huge career change in little time," said Obermeit. "The accelerated program makes it doable for those with a degree who want to get a degree in nursing in 15 months."

Obermeit said she couldn't imagine studying for the degree at another school.

Though she chose UCF based on location, she chose nursing based on more personal reasons.

During her time on the show, she was diagnosed with Cushing's syndrome, a disease that affects the pituitary gland and causes high levels of cortisol, high blood pressure, and weight gain.

Obermeit said she had been misdiagnosed once before, but one nurse practitioner was able to give her the right diagnosis.

"Being a patient made me realize I wanted to go into nursing," Obermeit said. "I was trained under a different medical model and I feel like nursing looks at patients more holistically instead of at symptoms on their own. I also feel like we have a lot more time with our patients. They don't feel as rushed and maybe will be more comfortable about telling us things or remember something they would have otherwise forgotten."

Her husband, Toby Obermeit, doesn't think she'll have any problems making patients feel comfortable.

"She's very friendly and easy to get along with. She makes friends with just about anybody," he said. "That's one thing that's amazing about her that I think really helps her on the job."

Toby said he knows his wife will be happier working as a nurse.

"When we met, before she moved to Orlando, in Gainesville, she got along with people there, but it wasn't quite what it could have been," he said. "[Nursing] is a little more fulfilling for her."

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