Nurse feels thankful that coming back was the right move

Stephanie Huddleston always knew she wanted to be a nurse, but at first she wasn’t sure how to fit it into her busy life.

  For many years, she focused on her family. Huddleston (at left) went back to school when she was 40 years old to fulfil her dream of being a nurse. She then began working through the Carle Nurse Residency Program in February of 2013.

However, her first thoughts defaulted to her family, as she became unsure how to work nights while maintaining the same, stable presence at home.

So Huddleston tried her hand at clinic nursing instead. After just four weeks away from Carle, though, she wanted to return. And she immediately pinpointed two reasons why.

The first was an overwhelming sense that she had to be by the bedside with patients, which she now fulfills as a RN within Cardio-Pulmonary on Carle Tower 8.

“It’s really all about one-on-one patient interaction here,” Huddleston said. “That’s what I love. I feel as though I’m supposed to help people during a difficult time, educate them and get them back to their baseline.

“Just knowing that I can actually make a positive difference in somebody’s life is important to me.”
The other primary reason to return to Carle as a nurse had to do with support, specifically from her peers.

“On CT8, we are a 48-bed unit that is arranged in a pretty spread-out way,” Huddleston said. “We’re independent and autonomous, but there are charge nurses consistently rounding and asking if anyone needs help.

“Other nurses and also the healthcare techs find a way to lend a hand if one is needed – whether that is helping pass meds, dressing changes or any other small thing when one person is particularly busy.”

Beyond peer support, she also sees other reasons for an advanced work environment here.

She believes Carle is well ahead of the curve in working through industry issues. First, she said, leadership identifies the proper protocols to improve patient care. Then the resources supplied help nurses activate those protocols the right way.

Specifically, she believes in nursing leaders like Sarah Peoples, RN manager; Andrea Anderson, RN supervisor; and Marita Landreth, RN unit educator. They, Huddleston said, set the tone and provide a space in which others can do their job properly.

When she re-applied to Carle, Huddleston faced some tough questions. But she was ready. She was able to clearly answer why she wanted to return.

“I got into nursing because it was time for me to do something for myself,” Huddleston said. “I wanted to be a part of something positive and community-focused. I wanted to use my skills toward something that would add up to a lifelong career.

“That can be done at Carle, because the thinking here is always forward and progressive. There is a true desire to want to be better each day.”

To learn more about nursing careers at Carle, please visit carle.org/nursing