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Continuing education leads to continual fulfillment

Continuing education leads to continual fulfillment
Ten years ago, Kelci Steeples, RN, started her nursing career at Carle. She remembers wishing for opportunities like the inaugural Central Illinois Medical Surgical Nursing Conference coming up here on February 21.

Now, she’ll not only attend the conference, but she helped plan it.

Medical Surgical nurses interested can register here, although the event will have information applicable to all nurses. Topics will include sessions on self-care, drug diversion by healthcare personnel, empathy, nursing documentation, and more.

Steeples believes the nursing conference is indicative of Carle’s overall dedication to nurse growth and development. The event achieves this in a couple different ways.

This conference not only provides nurses with a new opportunity in continuing medical education, it also supplies a higher level of professional comfort that comes through knowledge sharing and networking with colleagues.

“The biggest thing for me with this conference is growing our ability to ensure new nurses at Carle grow into their confidence,” Steeples said. “We want to make sure they have everything they need for challenges ahead.

“The focus here is the real and growing challenges we face in healthcare, which will be beneficial for all medical and surgical nurses.”

The reason Steeples feels this is so important is because of the challenges all nurses have to overcome.

The industry isn’t the same as it was ten years ago. In response, Carle continues to search for innovative ways to prepare nursing staff for the ever-changing healthcare environment. This conference is a resource not only for Carle nurses but also for the region.

One of the most important aspects of healthcare Steeples picked up over the years is the personal side of treating a patient. The medical/surgical floor where she works sees many types of patients.

One room might include a patient recently diagnosis with cancer. The next patient could be a stroke patient. And another could be a patient who needs their gallbladder out. All these diagnoses come with different courses of treatment, which nurses must be prepared for on any given day.

“Across the spectrum, we see a huge range of patients on the medical-surgical floors,” Steeples said. “That is why it’s so important for us to keep education at the forefront of what we do. This is about connecting us to the right resources, so we can approach each conversation with patients the right way.

“For certain patients, it can be a difficult conversation, and there’s an art to treating those patients.”

By dedicating herself to growth in her profession, Steeples learned how to handle the variance in patients at Carle.

As a unit nursing leader and practice chair, she also earned her master’s five years ago. Steeples leads practice council, which helps shape policy based on current evidence-based practice and assists with implementing change on the nursing units

In total, the nursing dedication to best practice at Carle means everyone has to remain aware of and willing to change current practice. That’s not always easy, considering how quickly health information comes across during the digital era.

But it’s a challenge Steeples sees Carle nurses embrace.

“When you know the resources to turn to as a nurse, it’s a great feeling because you can figure out solutions to difficult problems,” she said. “While we challenge ourselves to meet best practice, we also remain involved through the pursuit of new information.

“We never want our nurses to encounter a feeling of uncertainty when searching for an answer.”

By pursuing CME events like the upcoming Central Illinois Medical Surgical Nursing Conference, nurses can learn about the resources available from the mentors they will lean on.

What’s clear to Steeples is that Carle dedicated itself to providing the educational opportunities necessary for nursing staff to provide a high level of care. The upcoming nursing conference is one more example of how they’ve done so.

“Having opportunities like this provides one more path for nurses choosing to stay at the bedside for a good portion of their career,” Steeples said. “Carle is emphasizing opportunities that keep us engaged and fulfilled in our positions. After being here from the age of 17 until now, I can honestly say nurses have more of a voice now than we ever have before.”

Categories: Culture of Quality

Tags: Central Illinois Medical Surgical Conference, continuing medical education, nursing