people inspired: from student nurse to bedside RN

Apr 24, 2024 | Team Member Spotlights

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For more than two years, Natalie Sims, RN, has been an essential part of the inpatient surgical services team at St. Francis Medical Center, where she provides compassionate care to patients during their recovery journey.

discovering St. Francis Health

From her days as a nursing student to her current role, Natalie reflects on her nursing career with our health system.

My clinical rotations during nursing school are what drew me to St. Francis,” Natalie says. She was immediately drawn to the atmosphere of teamwork and compassion exhibited by the team. “I got to see a glimpse of all the different areas at the medical center and seeing their teamwork was a big draw for me.”

Beyond the clinical experience, Natalie was also attracted to working for a faith-based organization as she began her career. “I believe faith and spirituality play a big role in healing,” she says. “It’s important to me to work in an environment where spirituality is encouraged.”

maintaining balance

Balancing her professional and personal responsibilities is also important to Natalie, which helps her prevent burnout while providing high-quality patient care. 

“My priority as a nurse so far has been to have a healthy work-life balance,” she says. “As I have continued to gain experience this priority has just been strengthened. With so much research on nursing burnout, I went into my career transparent about my passions both inside of work and outside of work.”

Her leaders understand and provide the support Natalie needs, collaborating on her schedule with the flexibility that helps with her priorities outside of work, such as time with friends and family as well as her hobbies. 

“That balance has made my patient care very strong and allowed me to provide the best care,” she says.

support to pursue higher education

Transitioning from a nursing student to a bedside RN, Natalie found unwavering support from her leaders. Starting with an associate’s degree in nursing, Natalie continued her education to obtain a bachelor’s degree while working for our health system. 

She credits her leaders and managers for their flexibility and encouragement throughout her educational journey.

“They continued to support me throughout my schooling through being flexible with my schedule, allowing me to conduct surveys and research assignments with my team members, and allowing me to precept and gain credit clinical hours under nursing management,” Natalie says.

continued growth and learning

Even after completing her formal education, Natalie has made use of our health system’s opportunities for professional growth through nursing certifications and educational courses. By offering specialized courses that allowed Natalie to obtain advanced certification, St. Francis has remained committed to supporting her development as a nurse.

I have gained so much knowledge and grown so much as a nurse through the support of my team here,” Natalie says. “If you are looking to work with great people who support you and your growth as a nurse, then come check out St. Francis!”

inspired by making a difference 

Despite the challenges of working on a post-surgical floor, Natalie finds inspiration in the resilience and strength displayed by patients and her teammates. 

“People’s strength in times of need has inspired me to be thankful for many things in my life and not take my health for granted,” Natalie says. “The resilience of my teammates as we care for really sick patients inspires me as we support each other and the patients we care for. I continue to be inspired by the impact my teammates make in our patients’ lives.”

Listening plays a vital role in Natalie’s nursing practice, enabling her to advocate effectively for her patients and provide holistic care. 

“As nurses, we are a bridge between all the different healthcare branches,” Natalie explains. “We spend the most time with our patients and because of this we are able to be advocates for our patients.” She does this by listening and creating open channels of communication so her patients are heard.

team-building memories

Natalie’s favorite memories at St. Francis revolve around the camaraderie and joy she experiences with her team. 

“Celebrating with my team members and patients has left me with lots of fond memories,” she says. One favorite memory is creating holiday decorations together. “By the time Christmas rolled around our unit was filled with handmade ornaments that had been put together by nurses, CNAs, physicians and patients.”

Natalie attributes much of her growth as a nurse to the supportive environment cultivated by her team at St. Francis. “I work with people with similar priorities. My teammates are what keep me at St. Francis,” she says, highlighting the unique bond she feels with and encouragement she receives from her colleagues.

Natalie says she feels heard as a team member. “The managers I work under do take my concerns seriously,” she says. “My needs as a team member are considered, and I have what I need to grow and be the best nurse I can be.”

a bright future with St. Francis

While Natalie currently enjoys her role at the bedside, she remains open to furthering her nursing education through an advanced practice degree. Our health system is committed to investing in her growth and development to get her to the next level, whatever that may be. Natalie’s commitment to lifelong learning and her dedication to patient care continue to drive her forward on her nursing journey.

“I’m very happy working in healthcare,” she says. “The patients are a big part of that.”

Natalie’s experience exemplifies our health system’s values of compassion, support and professional growth. Through the nurturing environment she experiences, Natalie has flourished as a bedside RN, making meaningful connections with patients and colleagues alike.

Inspired to join us? Learn more about nursing career opportunities with our health system.

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