James and Phyllis Drake are inseparable. After 33 years of marriage, they still do everything together—including have heart surgery. After James, 54, traveled from Independence, Ky., to The Ohio State University Medical Center in August 2009 for an aortic valve replacement, the professionalism and service he received impressed him so much that his wife, 55, made a similar trip in October. Qualified and friendly nurses eased their concerns and made sure they were taken care of at all times, and one even called to check in the night James returned home.
“They make you feel like you’re the only person in the hospital,” he says. “Everyone has bad days, but during my whole time there, the staff was nothing but smiles. The staff made me feel like I was the only person in the hospital.”
Nurses fill many specialized roles at Ohio State’s Medical Center, providing 24-hour, behind-the-scenes care, making sure peace of mind doesn’t stop at the hospital door when a patient leaves, as in the case of the Drakes. Nurses also teach and conduct research. While working at an academic medical center ensures top-notch technical abilities, having both professional skills and a personal touch are paramount.
“We’ve established a culture of nursing excellence at OSU,” says Mary Nash, RN, PhD, chief nurse executive at OSU. “It’s a culture in which a patient should expect excellence in every encounter.”
Here are six nurses whose work helps improve and link together the educational, research, theoretical and practical sides of patient care at OSU. These nurses represent the spectrum of care provided every day by the 2,000 nurses who work at Ohio State’s Medical Center.
Learning doesn’t stop for any nurses at Ohio State, thanks to instructors like Rhodes. Responsible for professional development for the OSUCCC-James nursing staff, she brings cutting-edge techniques to the classroom. “When I was a staff nurse, it was one-on-one with patients,” she says. “When I’m teaching, I’m affecting thousands of patients. I love to see the spark in people’s eyes when they get it.”
Ambulatory Surgery Staff Nurse
An early riser, Bagent arrives every day at 3 a.m. to prepare patients for surgery. The first and last caregiver many patients see, she also makes sure they’re ready for home. “I try to make the patients and their families as comfortable as possible. Educating them is a big part of that. The more they understand what is going to happen and why, the more relaxed they seem to be,” says Bagent.
Emergency Department Staff Nurse
Comfortable in the constantly shifting ED, Meier could be tending to a patient, working with a doctor or serving as a sexual assault nurse examiner, caring for victims and helping them get their day in court. “Anything can come through those doors,” she says. “You have to be a jack of all trades.”
Staff Nurse, Adult Psychiatry
Working with people suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, Welsh brings compassion and a knack for communication to his patients. “I value when I can talk with a patient and allay their fears,” he says. “It’s wonderful when you see someone turn a corner and improve.”
Nurse Practitioner, Cardiothoracic
Consulting with patients before and after operations, Schnug answers questions and clears up doubts. Her phone calls to discharged patients help them navigate pain management issues and emergent concerns. “It’s rewarding to fill that need,” she says, “to help make them feel comfortable with their decision and make sure their needs are met.”
Staff Nurse, University Hospital East
A patient advocate who executes detailed plans of care, Lawrence educates families, bringing them up to speed on the status of their loved one. He recently won a Cameos of Caring Award, which recognizes outstanding Medical Center nurses, but like any true MVP, he’s a team player. “Everyone on staff pitches in,” he says. “I couldn’t do the job or win the award without them.”
Learn more about nursing at Ohio State.
Read about University Hospital and OSU Ross Heart Hospital’s designation as Magnet hospitals by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.