When you get to know Amy Richardson, RN, CEN, you quickly learn that her motivation and perseverance is what has enabled her to demonstrate such an exemplary level of nursing skill. Amy is the recipient of one of four Mosby Superheroes of Nursing Awards announced at the 2011 ANCC National Magnet Conference®. Her award was as “The Achiever,” the nurse whose seemingly endless knowledge and skill let her deftly tackle task after task.
Amy is a charge nurse at Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia, Tennessee. She was nominated by her department director who says that Amy is the best juggler of emergency department chaos ever. Whether she is getting reports from EMS, directing room placement traffic, creating an electronic record to hold a room for an ambulance patient who’s on his way, or being chased down by a doctor who is asking her questions, Amy seems to do it all with ease.
An Early Calling
Even as a young girl, Amy knew she wanted to be a nurse. She was raised by her grandmother, a labor and delivery nurse. Amy remembers being dropped off at the hospital by the school bus and waiting for her grandmother to finish her shift.
“My grandmother is my biggest hero,” Amy says. “I spent many days at the hospital waiting for her after school,” she remembers. “It gave me an opportunity to talk with family members of patients. I believe that helped me develop communications skills and compassion.”
But it wasn’t an easy road for Amy. As a young adult, she made some choices that seemed to move a career in healthcare beyond her reach. Then one day, she saw an ad for a phlebotomy class at Maury Regional Hospital. She was accepted and excelled in the clinical and practical portions of the class. She eagerly accepted a job there. The lab employees took her under their wing. “I quickly learned that these people we’re more than coworkers; they were family,” she explains.
Amy was fascinated with the Emergency Department and eventually began working there. She found the atmosphere exciting where “everybody depends on each other and works for a common goal” as she describes it. Her coworkers in the ED were a major influence in Amy’s decision to eventually enroll in nursing school. “I wanted to make a difference like them,” she says.
Amy began taking classes at a community college with the help of educational grants, but the financial aid ran out before she made it into the nursing program. While on a waiting list, Amy heard that Maury Regional was accepting applicants for their RN program. Her department manager encouraged her to apply. It was a breakthrough moment. She was accepted and Maury Regional was going to pay her tuition. Six months after she graduated, she made her way back to the ED and she’s been in emergency medicine ever since.
Amy credits her hospital’s shared governance structure with supplying a decision-making environment that allows nurses there to make a difference. About a year ago, the ED’s unit-based council identified a need to revamp their triage system. Because of their work, they were able to successfully restructure the way that patients move through check-in. The new process has cut wait times and boosted patient satisfaction scores significantly. In another effort, they began the “Fast Process” where patients who meet the criteria for sepsis go directly to ICU. “It’s actually saving lives,” Amy says. “It’s great to be here and watch it work.”
Being a Super Nurse
What does it mean to Amy to be super? She was recently promoted to clinical educator ED/outpatient cardiac services, but education has always been a priority for her. Maury Regional’s education department offers continuing education to the nursing staff, and Amy takes advantage of it to keep her skills sharp. She also attends professional development classes and recently completed a core trauma nursing class sponsored by the ENA.
“My management allows me to be super,” she says. “I am able to offer my ideas knowing that they won’t be shunned away. They trust me and I trust them.”
Join us over the next few months as we celebrate those nurses who go above and beyond every day to move their organizations forward. Learn more at confidenceconnected.com/mosbysheroes.