2/11/19

Experience transforms patient into Orthopedics nurse

An exceptional nurse leaves a lasting impression. For Kim Grant, RN, Orthopedics, such nurses inspired her career change.

“Exceptional nurses following a personal surgery truly inspired me,” Grant said. “I won’t forget the care they gave and how they made me feel. It’s hard to put into words, but I was compelled to provide the same care to others in the same supportive environment.”

The then stay-at-home mom paused her business career while raising three children. When her youngest started school, so did she. She started her healthcare journey in Medical Surgery. A year later, she found a home at Carle Orthopedics helping patients with damage to their bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments after an injury.

“With a team approach, nurses provide leadership in managing a patient’s care plan,” said Andrea Burris, RN, supervisor, Orthopedics. “There’s constant teamwork and communication to improve quality of life for patients.”

Carle Orthopedics treats 18,000 patients annually and has open nursing positions to help meet the expanding demand for services.

“You’re helping people through a very vulnerable and stressful time in their life. Often, they can’t use their finger, hand or leg. It can be horrendous for them, life altering. Then, you see their progress, regaining strength and mobility,” Grant said.

Listening skills serve her well. So does having “thick skin.”

“You can’t take things personally. They are physically in a bad place and under stress. Sometimes, you’re listening for what they aren’t sharing,” Grant said. “For example, a healthy 27-year-old male comes in and something isn’t right and doesn’t add up, you keep digging and discover blood clots. When you make the right call, it’s a big deal – lifesaving.”

Grant said nurses assess, trust their intuition, ask the right questions, investigate, research and connect quickly. Getting the right information quickly during a patient’s phone call can uncover problems that need urgent care.

“Sometimes it’s just a phone call for help,” she said. “Connecting with them and effectively assessing their needs without the patient in front of you is a challenge I’m up to.”

Keeping patients on track with encouragement and complying with physical therapy and other improvement plans helps them get their lives back.

“We’re all on the same team – doctors, nurses, techs and patients – united by a common goal,” she said. “It all involves personal interaction – in business or healthcare – you’re learning how to help clients or patients.”

Today a nursing career doesn’t mean that’s all a person does.

“At Carle, I’ve found work-life balance. With three adult children, friends, family and church activities, I still find time to hike and travel, thanks to my team,” Grant said.

Carle nurses collaborate with a team of medical assistants (MAs), certified medical assistants (CMAs), certified cast technicians and certified athletic trainers. Carle Orthopedics is located in a 52,000-square-foot state-of-the-art orthopedics and sports medicine building providing care to over 20 local high schools, two community colleges and serves as the Official Healthcare Provider of Fighting Illini Athletics.