Not all nurses work at the bedside.
A professional career in nursing offers a diversity of roles to choose from, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.
Take Lauri Deary, RN, from Longmeadow, for example, who works as a staff educator in the Nursing Practice and Professional Development Department at Baystate Medical Center.
She began her nursing career at Baystate Wing Hospital (actually many years before it became part of Baystate Health), where she was a staff nurse working on a medical floor, later transferring to a coronary care unit. Eventually, she found her way to Baystate Medical Center where she continued to work with heart patients, first on the hospital’s coronary care unit before transferring to the coronary intensive care unit (CICU).
Caring for the patient and family
“I really enjoyed working with cardiac patients….the acuity of their illness and the intensity around caring for them….as well as caring for their worried family members. I also liked the autonomy I had as a nurse on those floors,” she said.
What made Deary pursue a career in health care?
“When I was in high school, I was hospitalized at Baystate Medical Center and had this nurse who was just so awesome, and I knew after watching her that I, too, wanted to take care of people,” said Deary, who went on to attend LaSalle Junior College in Newton, where she earned her associate’s degree in Nursing.
During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, nurses around the country like Deary, including others at Baystate Health facilities throughout the area, are being honored for the important role they play in delivering the highest level of safe, quality care to their patients. Today’s nearly 3.4 million registered nurses in the United States constitute our nation’s largest health care profession.
Deliver a higher state of caring
“During National Nurses Week, we extend a special thank you to all of our nurses as they continue to deliver a higher state of caring to their patients. These talented registered nurses deserve special recognition for their efforts in delivering compassionate care, while encompassing the principles of safety and quality so encompassed in the nursing profession,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, RN, MA, president of Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president for Hospital Operations.
Deary worked at Baystate Medical Center for about 10 years caring for patients at the bedside, before taking time off to become a full-time mom.
Deary eventually returned to Baystate Medical Center after being out of nursing for about 11 years.
“I thought that since I had been away for so long, and that there had been so many changes in nursing, that working in the education office would be a good way to get back into the nursing profession. Working in the education office gave me a bird’s eye view….an incredible perspective….of the great picture, how things work at the hospital,” said Deary.
“For example, working with the supply chain, I saw all the different considerations that come into play when ordering new or replacement products, like something as simple as disposable blood pressure cuffs,” she added.
Back to college
Deary decided to continue her education after returning to Baystate, attending Elms College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing.
“I’ve also been able to conduct some nursing research while working in the Education Office. I had trained to become a yoga instructor while away from the hospital setting. Along with another nurse, I was able to use my knowledge of yoga to explore a nursing theory about healing by a local nurse theorist. The study has led to bringing information to the patient care team about incorporating mindful hand hygiene in their practice,” said Deary.
“As a part of mindful hand hygiene, you use the opportunity while cleaning your hands to take a breath and notice where you may be holding tension in your body and thus restore your focus,” she added.
Deary has also taken on the role of coordinating hospital data for the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI), data which ultimately allows the hospital to compare its performance to the national benchmark and how other hospitals rate in those areas from avoiding patient falls to hospital acquired infections.
Sponsored by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week has as its 2016 theme, “Culture of Safety – It starts with You,” recognizing registered nurses as an indispensable component of the safety and quality of care of hospitalized patients.
Nursing's endless possibilities
Would Deary recommend nursing to someone asking her about the profession?
“The short answer would be, ‘Yes,’ but I would have to know a lot more about them to consider if it would be a good fit for them,” said Deary.
“Additionally, I would tell them that there are endless possibilities for personal and professional growth in nursing, and a variety of career options,” she added.
Baystate Medical Center’s high quality nursing care earned its third designation in a row as a Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence – one of only nine hospitals in Massachusetts – a distinction that places the hospital’s nursing staff among the finest in the nation. Nationally, only about 7% of all health care organizations carry this prestigious Magnet designation.
For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.