12/02/18

Convenient Care shifts fly by with rewarding work, time for family

Carle Convenient nurse Ashley Holmes and her familyWhen she made the big switch from caring for patients in serious shape at Carle Foundation Hospital to Convenient Care walk-ins, Ashley Holmes, BSN, RN, thought she might be bored. She was wrong.

“I loved working in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” she said. “But Convenient Care is still very hands-on. I use my critical thinking skills all the time. My hospital experience helps a lot because we never know who will walk through the door and what they will need.

“I certainly don’t have time to be bored.”

Convenient Care Plus – now in Danville and Mattoon, and opening soon in Urbana – offers another option for quick care. It provides services beyond Convenient Care to help avoid unnecessary Emergency Department (ED) visits.

Carle Convenient Care nurse Ashley Holmes and her familyWorking two 12-hour shifts a week works for Holmes. It gives her time with husband Derek, daughters – Quinn, 4, and Charlotte, 2 – and time to craft. She even made her family’s Halloween costumes this year.

Holmes loves spending time with her little ones.

“Quinn is quiet and calm. We tell her ‘no,’ and she’s good. Charlotte, though, she’s my adventurer. She has to keep up with big sister,” she said.

“They’re so fun and so different.”

Holmes is one of many Carle nurses whose career keeps expanding. She started delivering food trays to patients in 2005 and worked as a healthcare technician (HCT) during nursing school. She cared for neurology, heart and vascular patients – and their families – before transitioning to outpatient care in 2014.

“I really see a different side of things in Convenient Care,” said Holmes, who works one day a week in Tuscola and spends time in both the Urbana on Windsor and Champaign on Curtis locations. “I triage, give meds, start IVs. I definitely use my skills.”

Holmes never misses an opportunity to educate.

“If someone calls the office, sometimes I can offer them other ways to get relief from things like strep throat so they can save time and money,” Holmes said, touting InstaCare and other services at MyCarle.com.

Among other services, Convenient Care nurses often:

  • Perform point-of-care testing
  • Medication administration
  • Use critical thinking and assessment skills
  • Precept (teach) other staff
  • Stabilize patients heading to the ED

“With such a variety of illnesses and injuries, nurses in our area contribute and learn a great deal,” said Debbie Hill, RN, nurse coordinator. “They maintain a variety of nursing skills – IV hydration, suture removal, dressing changes, splinting and more. Because of the variety of patients, we maintain a high nursing skill level. 

“Plus, Convenient Care is a dynamic team with excellent physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) who collaborate well.”

Holmes fits right in.

“Ashley remains calm during stressful situations. She always looks for solutions and for the best ways to help patients,” said Mindy Spencer, Convenient Care director. “Her wealth of knowledge about nursing makes her a great teacher and a great resource.”

Carle Convenient Care nurse Ashley Holmes and her familyWith rewarding work and patient-focused colleagues, Holmes said her 12-hour shifts go quickly.

“Sadly, we’ve had heroin overdoses in the parking lot. People having strokes walk in. We always have to be ready. The adrenaline keeps you going,” she said.

So does the crystal-clear holiday schedule that provides true work-life balance.

“I love the flexibility,” Holmes said. “I know people worry about having to work on holidays, but we have a team rotation so I only have to work on Christmas every four years.”

Carle offers tuition assitance. Apply today at carle.org/careers.