Straight TalkA weekly update from management on the issues that matter most. Sep 1, 2016 What exactly do we mean when we talk about NCH being on a constant “journey” to improve? As we approach the nice long Labor Day weekend, it’s fitting to consider all of our NCH colleagues who have chosen the noble course of healthcare for their daily pursuits. Let me share three representative stories of colleagues; Chief Experience Officer Gary Tomcik and I spoke with them recently as we made our rounds. Queenie Nazien, RN, has been with NCH for a decade, starting as a transporter under the tutelage of then head of transport Joe DeBellis, who had a world of business experience before sharing his mentoring talents with NCH. As Queenie’s career evolved, she helped Central supply then became an EKG technician. She then served as a Human Resources Assistant and switched to a night Unit Secretary for the Intensive Care Unit, when she entered nursing school. Thereupon, she commenced to drive to Ft. Myers daily for school and then back to her night job, persevering, as she put it, through “discipline and commitment.” She is now in a new NCH Fellowship program to start as an ICU nurse. Previously, we required two years of Medical/Surgical nursing experience before being admitted to a specialty unit, such as the ICU, ER or Labor & Delivery. So Queenie keeps moving ahead. Karen Mitchell, RN, also started 10 years ago as a Customer Service Representative in a sports rehab clinic managed by NCH. After two years, Karen became Admissions Coordinator for the Brookdale Center for Aging and Rehabilitation. For three-and-a half years, she simultaneously attended nursing school at Florida Southwestern in Naples. Karen continued to work full-time at Brookdale and admitted she had “no life;” but it was all worth it. NCH paid tuition for both her Associates and Bachelor’s degrees. These days, Karen is “resting”—only working her full-time job as she contemplates going for a Master’s degree. The day we met Karen on 6 South, she was proctoring new nurse Javier Rodriguez, with his own inspirational story. Javier Rodriguez, RN, was a lab assistant and phlebotomist at North Naples Hospital five years ago, moving to Baker Tower at North Naples for three years as a Care Technician, before starting his RN training in Puerto Rico during the summers and completing it through on-line didactic education. Javier is now gaining experience under Karen’s tutelage and aspires to become an ER nurse. He is perfect for the ER with his experience, language skills and warm and welcoming personality. There are so many Horatio Alger stories like these at NCH, where people embrace the noble passion of caring for others, having purpose, performing worthwhile work and making a difference. These wonderful stories of talented colleagues literally write themselves. Given the history of hard work in our nation and what all of our parents went through so we all would be better off, it is heart-warming and reassuring to hear and be able to share extraordinary stories like these of what is great about America on this Labor Day holiday.