Lutheran Health Network Celebrates 2020 National Nurses Week

Whether a comforting touch, listening ear or warm smile, nurses play an important role not just as care givers, but much more. National Nurses Week provides a special opportunity to highlight the dedication and hard work nurses demonstrate on a daily basis.
Read more about National Nurses Week here!

We love our Nurses!

Julie Thompson, Chief Nursing Officer
Bluffton Regional Medical Center

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
I was inspired by my mom, who always wanted to be a nurse, but also my love for animals. I was always “fixing” up the farm animals to make them better.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
I have been with LHN 36 years on June 4, 2020.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Always put your patients first, as this is why we come to work every day. The nursing profession will entail your whole life, including your family. Your children will have the utmost respect for your dedication and loyalty to your patients, coworkers and facility.

How do you spend your free time?
I love spending time with my husband Doug, we met at BRMC, and our three children – Alyssa and her husband Daniel, Amanda and Matt. Doug and I love to go to Gatlinburg and hike. I also love to shop for antiques with my friends.

Kim Fulkerson, Chief Nursing Officer
Dupont Hospital

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
When I was in high school, I job shadowed my sister who at the time worked in the ICU. I was amazed by the compassion and care she provided to her patients and their families. I knew then that this was my passion.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
5 years

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
I have spent 20+ years of my nursing career producing many memories in my work in obstetrics. Being able to deliver the birth plan that mothers are longing for, as well as stepping in and acting fast to eliminate any fear when the unexpected happens, has been a significant highlight. It is fun to be part of memories that often get shared every year when birthdays are celebrated and that birth story gets told again.  

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
I have a passion for newer nurses and watching them grow in their skills and confidence. Nursing is hard and we tend to take care of ourselves last. My advice would be to always take find time to care for yourself and your co-workers. You should laugh often, but always allow yourself to cry. Most importantly, just be kind to each other.

How do you spend your free time?
I have four kids ages 27, 24, 19 and 16. We enjoy summers on the lake, vacations in the winter and sporting events in between.

Cindy Strautman
Dupont Hospital

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
My aunt was a nurse and she inspired my decision to pursue the profession. I felt being a nurses was my calling.

How long have you worked at LHN?
I have been an employee at Lutheran Health Network for 38 years.

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
On holidays, we had one nurse who would play guitar and wear a hand-made sache/hat for singing songs. We grouped together to sing at the patient doorways and they loved it! What a great memory as we celebrated a holiday together at work.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Treat your patients the way you want to be treated. If you love what you do, then it no longer seems like a job.

How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy traveling with my husband. We have four grandchildren (four years and younger) who are so much fun! We also enjoy being active in our church.

Kim Finch, Chief Nursing Officer
Kosciusko Community Hospital

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
As a child, I experienced severe asthma and allergies and was able to develop several positive relationships with nurses and physicians. I really wanted a career where I could give back to others and truly make a difference.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
I have been at KCH/LHN for 35 years, starting as a part-time ER nurse and expanded to various nursing management positions.

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
When I was in the ER, I was awarded for clinical excellence and that was reaffirmation that I truly made a difference in caring for patients and that was noticed by the patients I cared for as well as the nursing administration. I am a firm believer that nurses are compassionate at heart, but recognition is important in rejuvenating them to their passion for the profession.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Follow your passion and don’t lose your compassion. It is sometimes easy to be burdened with technical skills or charting, but our focus should always be patient and family focused.

How do you spend your free time?
I love to spend my time at our lake home with our family. I also enjoy teaching our grandchildren to ski or traveling with my husband of 38 years!

Sheila Johnson, Chief Nursing Officer
Lutheran Hospital

What inspired your career in nursing?
I wanted to be a nurse from a very early age. I would dress up in my mom’s hospital volunteer uniform and pretend to be a nurse when I was little. As I grew older, I truly wanted to have a career where I could impact others in a positive way. Being a nurse and helping people through what could be their worst day of their life is an incredible gift and vocation.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
I stated at Lutheran Hospital on March 23, during the pandemic. Starting this position so recently has given me the unique perspective of seeing how the teams and leaders “lean in” and rise to the challenge of the pandemic crisis. I feel blessed to be part of the Lutheran team and have been warmly welcomed by all!

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
I was able to be part of an opening team for a new pediatric emergency department several years ago where the demonstration of teamwork and camaraderie were absolutely incredible. Being part of a team of nurses that elevate each other’s practice and support each other’s development is truly an amazing experience.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Prepare for the most rewarding career you could ever possibly have! It is not for the faint of heart, but rather for those who choose to make a difference. Every day you have the opportunity to make an impact and to be the “light” for a patient who needs it during dark times. Nurses have a unique opportunity, never waste a chance to make a difference.

How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy reading, talking long walks, boating and spending time with friends and family.

Natalie Seaber, Regional Chief Nursing Officer
Lutheran Health Network

What inspired your career in nursing?
I received great care and compassion as a child and young adult from my school nurses growing up. For those who know me personally, I had a challenging childhood and as a result, I was frequently rescued and cared for by nurses and social workers. I am here today because of a nurse who spoke up when subjects such as abuse were still too taboo to discuss.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
Just over one year.

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
There are so many blessed memories I cherish. My most embarrassing memory is from my first speaking engagement at a nursing conference as a new leader years ago. I was so nervous that when I walked to the podium and began my speech, I projectile vomited in front of over a thousand nurses! It all worked out in the end, I finished my speech and received a standing ovation. Now when a new leader shares their fear of speaking in front of a crowd, I tell them my story and it provides a good laugh and they know what they are feeling happens to all of us.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Be committed, be flexible and be the voice for patients. No matter what each person’s calling in life is, you must be committed to doing it well and it should give you joy. Know the healthcare field is changing daily between new discoveries, cures and treatments and innovations.

How do you spend your free time?
Generally outside whenever possible. My husband and I love the outdoors, whether it is lounging by a fire reading a book, walking Wilbur our chocolate lab or visiting the local flea markets. We are new empty nesters, so we are trying new activities in our beautiful community parks like frisbee golf and enjoy fishing at our many lakes in the area.

Shannon Scheumann, Manager of Nursing Professional Development and Retention
Lutheran Health Network

What inspired your career in nursing?
Growing up, I had an older cousin who was born with a very rare disorder referred to as Cerebo-Costo-Mandibular Syndrome. This meant several hospital stays for her. As a child, I was frequently taken to the hospital by my parents to visit her. I watched my aunt care for my cousin, who had a tracheotomy, required tube feedings and regular nursing care, just as well as the nurses at the hospital. I always knew I wanted to provide that same level of care.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
19 years

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
I remember caring for an elderly gentleman in the ICU back in 2003. He was just made a DNR and was likely not going to survive the night, but he was still awake and somewhat responsive. I spent a great deal of my time with him that night by giving him a foot and back rubs, held his hand and talked to him. He kept looking up to his right and smiling. He died the next day. I like to think I made him as comfortable as he could have been on his last night.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Allow yourself to feel and show the emotions that you experience while caring for your patients. In the beginning, I thought I had to be strong, but one day I broke down and the family saw my compassion through my tears. I realized then that showing emotion does not show weakness, it shows how much I care.

How do you spend your free time?
I enjoy playing board and card games with my husband and two children, hiking, camping, going to the lake house in the summer, listening to music, and I honestly love to clean and organize. I also enjoy trips with friends and following my husband on whatever social adventure he has planned for us!

Allyson Hurst, Chief Nursing Officer
Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
I have worked for Lutheran Health Network at the Rehabilitation Hospital for two months.

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
My favorite memory is the teamwork and camaraderie I experienced in my first RN job at a Level I trauma center in Indianapolis. I have been lucky for the over 20 years of friendships within the profession!
What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Never be afraid to ask questions and remember if you don’t like something, be the change!

How do you spend your free time?
I recently started Pilates, which has been a great way to relieve stress.

Hope Darrow, CEO
St. Joseph Hospital

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?
Even as a child, I was always the caregiver of my family. When we were younger, my sister and I found a pregnant dog and brought her home. We hid the mamma dog until her puppies were born; we were both fascinated. We would sneak food, blankets and water out to this family of dogs. The puppies ended up getting sick and my sister and I dedicated our efforts to care for them, not losing one. Years later I found out that our parents knew my sister and I were caring for this family of dogs.

How long have you worked at Lutheran Health Network?
I started at St. Joe as the CNO in June of 2019 and assumed the Interim CEO role in March 2020. Nurses step up. Nurse leaders lean in.

Can you tell me about a favorite memory or story from your experience as a nurse?
As a leader in a large ED, we saw between 60-75 ambulances in a shift – busy was the norm and a quiet ED was something to fear. On a Friday night during high school football season, we were exceedingly busy and as the charge nurse, I took all EMS patches for inbound patients. The patient arriving in critical condition was an 18-year-old who had suffered a sudden cardiac death on the football field in the middle of the homecoming game. This young patient was the captain of the football team, student council president and homecoming king for his school. Tragedy is not a strong enough way to describe the situation. After extensive resuscitation attempts, the boy loved by many, died. While this moment touched my soul as I held a grieving mother, the events unfolding outside the ED are forever etched in my memory.

After being directed to go to the ambulance bay immediately, I ran out to find hundreds of people gathered in the EMS area – emotions were running high. People were yelling, young kids were turning over trash cans and some were attempting to destroy the property. Football players still in uniform, cheerleaders, coaches and parents were grieving, yelling and holding each other. My coaching background took over and I yelled for everyone to take a knee! They complied. As they grieved and listened to my words, I told the entire community about the death of their beloved son, teammate, mentor and friend. I concluded by leading the group in prayer.

To this day, I still relive this moment. This moment taught me about the impact nursing has had not just on the patient, or the family, but the community. A nurse directed the resuscitation team. A nurse held the grieving mother. A nurse took charge and calmed an angry, grieving crowd. A nurse shared the story of loss. A nurse started the healing process with unified strength and prayer.

What advice would you give nurses of the future?
Love what you do. Listen to your heart. Be fierce when you advocate for your patients – they need the voice of a nurse. 

How do you spend your free time?
I love nature walks. Spending time with family at the beach. Quiet evenings with my friends and puppy.

Elizabeth Noble, RN
Lutheran Hospital

On behalf of Jami Rumple, ICU Manager, Lutheran Hospital:
For several years now, Beth has attended the National Teaching Institute for Critical Care Nursing Conference (NTI). She is the person who got me interested in attending this conference for the past four years. It was at this conference where we were first able to learn about the Beacon Award. We learned that centers like the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio State University Hospital Wexner Center and Ross Heart Hospital had achieved this award on most of their ICU/stepdown units and we wanted to push our unit to strive for excellence.

Beth has, over the past several years, been the champion of our healthy work environment initiatives and she is the unit’s recruitment and retention committee chair. She is the creator of the CVIC Strong Awards that we give out quarterly for employee recognition, she is a charge nurse and an ECMO specialist. She is a true champion for excellence on our unit and was a part of our Beacon Committee, helping to gather information for our Beacon document we submitted.

Each year for National Nurses Week, Beth goes all out for the staff. She finds new creative ways to celebrate our nurses and that is extremely meaningful to them.

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