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Nurses make immeasurable impact for patients, colleagues

Nurses make immeasurable impact for patients, colleagues
When Linda Cifuentes, RN, was considering becoming a teacher in junior high, her father suggested she pursue a career in nursing instead. After 45 years at the bedside, she had no idea this suggestion would lead to a lifetime passion for the profession.

“The man did not steer me wrong,” Cifuentes said. “I love being a nurse. I love helping patients, their families and my providers. I love a good challenge.” 
The challenge of nursing is a remarkable responsibility more than 3,000 colleagues in the Carle Health system take on every day. This week is National Nurses Week and we recognize their dedication to improving the lives of those we serve through expert technical skills and compassionate support. Nurses play a critical role in the ecosystem of healthcare and are an invaluable piece of the care team that allows Carle to provide world-class care for community members across the region.
As the only nurse supporting Physical Medicine-Rehab and Bone Health at Carle, Cifuentes lends incredible specialty perspective to supporting patients diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia and those recovering from traumatic brain injuries, strokes and accidents. She is one of the many Carle nurses who hold specific training and certifications that elevate their ability to provide customized and exemplary care for our unique and complex patient base. 
As the most technologically advanced and skilled healthcare system in the region, community members often depend on Carle to support their most serious health needs. That’s why encouraging team members and offering opportunities for continuing education and specialization is a main priority for nursing leadership. Danna Williamson, RN, MSN, NPD-BC, Clinical Education specialist, knows how important increasing access to a growing knowledge base is for Carle nurses as the system continues to evolve.
“As we continue to expand our continuing education offerings, the positive impact to patient care grows,” Williamson said. “Our nurses have opportunities for continuing education in many areas of nursing in a variety of platforms from lunch and learns to Bio Ethics seminars to full or half day conferences. Our nurses are provided with education in evidence-based practice areas that improve patient outcomes.”
Williamson experienced firsthand how more exposure to different areas can open opportunities within the organization and offer ways to make a greater impact. She started nursing at the bedside and soon discovered she liked the teaching aspect as she spent time as a preceptor and guiding nursing students. After gaining more experience as a unit educator and completing her MSN, the Clinical Education team had an opening she happily accepted.
“We have the awesome opportunity to educate new and experienced clinical support staff across the organization. Through this education, nurses continue to be an integral part of the quality care we provide at Carle,” Williamson said.
Celebrating National Nurses Week, which takes place every May 6 – 12, is a time to recognize just how much the expertise of nurses empower the ability to give quality care. While not every care area requires a certification or specialization, many do. And many team members opt to work toward a certification even if it’s not required. Right now there are more than 1,000 certified nurses supporting more than 35 care areas in the health system. There are also scores of nurses using the foundation built at the bedside to support patients, members and colleagues in different roles and areas throughout the system.
After 25 years in a variety of roles at Carle, Cifuentes feels blessed that it’s with this team she’ll share her final nursing years – next March she plans to retire. But until then she hopes to continue sharing her passion for improving the health and experience of her patients and supporting her team.
“Every day I come to work I give it my all for my patients and their families. My passion is ignited when my 101-year-old osteoporosis patient comes for her Prolia® shot, takes my hand and thanks me. My passion is ignited when my young patient who is paraplegic walks down the hall for the first time past my office and waves. Where else do you get to see these treasures?” she said.
Thank you to all Carle Health nurses serving patients and improving the lives of community members across the region.

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: hospital, nurses