Pueblo chief nursing officer trades suit for scrubs to work on front lines

Chief nursing officer shadows nurse / Christina Dawidowicz FOX21
Chief nursing officer shadows nurse / Christina Dawidowicz FOX21

PUEBLO, Colo. — St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center is working to keep its nursing staff.

“We’ve seen effects of having staffing reduced. We also worry about, again, our patients are number one and so, with having patient to nurse ratios, even care technicians and support staff,” said Elaine Engell, a registered nurse at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center.

It’s why their chief nursing officer trades her suit for scrubs once a month and works a 12-hour shift on the medical and surgical floor.

“I know when I was staff nurse I never saw my CNO, maybe once or twice at year at some big meeting, but I didn’t see my CNO in my environment, my working environment,” said Constance Schmidt, CNO and vice president of clinical services.

This gives hospital staff the opportunity to have their voices heard and speak on any concerns they may have.

“Doors are broken or whatever and they won’t call them in because they’re so busy doing patient care, so a lot of low hanging fruit pops up to me quickly,” Schmidt said.

It’s also a chance for the CNO to connect with staff and improve employee satisfaction.

“I’m their advocate to remove barriers for them,” Schmidt said.

Experts say by the year 2027, the U.S. will see a nursing shortage of 1.6 million people.

“What’s driving the nursing shortage is sort of two or three-fold if you will. 10,000 people a day are turning 65, so the baby boomers are starting to retire. And we have a lot of nurses that are baby boomers, and so that is about 600,000 of that 1.6 million. And the other price of that is they’re retiring, but as they age they’re driving demand,” Schmidt said.

Hospital officials say it’s also due to a lack of nursing instructors, something hospitals hope will change in the coming years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s