Read about some of our outstanding nurses, and learn why they choose to work at the forefront of nursing excellence.
Ed Heimberg, enjoys the challenge of working at a world-class medical center. "If you're going to work anywhere, why not the best?" says Heimberg. Since joining the University of Chicago Medicine in 1998, he has worked in several of the hospital's care centers, including hematology/oncology, adult intensive care and pediatric perioperative services. He recently achieved a certification in critical care nursing and witnessed the conversion from paper-based to electronic charting.
As a nurse in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) for adult patients, Heimberg draws on his adult and pediatric experiences to help him provide the highest level of care for his patients. "I have been given the opportunity to explore different realms of nursing," he says. "There are so many venues of nursing to explore. That's one of the great things about working in a large teaching hospital."
Heimberg works hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top physicians. "It's nice to know that many of the physicians you're working with are literally writing the medical books," he adds. Working in an environment rich with innovation and leading edge research means Heimberg is always learning new things. "We care for patients with extremely rare cancers, sometimes with incidences of one in 500,000," he notes. "The experience is very valuable."
Heimberg also enjoys the autonomy and respect he has as a nurse here. "The physicians truly value the opinions of nurses. They really appreciate our input," he says.
For as long as Richelle Howell can remember, she aspired to be a nurse. "I think I am a natural caregiver," she says, counting a kind heart and a friendly personality among her important nursing attributes. She now uses those skills -- and her 20 years of patient care experience -- in her role as Transfer Center nurse specialist.
"I help patients and physicians from outside hospitals connect with the right doctors at the University of Chicago Medicine," explains Howell. She coordinates communication with referring physicians and facilitates the entire transfer process including acceptance, bed selection, transportation arrangements and follow-up services.
Howell started at the University of Chicago Medicine in 1989 and has witnessed the organization's progress in medical innovation and technological advancement. "It doesn't get routine," says Howell, who completed her bachelor's and master's degrees with assistance from the medical center's educational benefits for nurses. "There's always something new coming down the pike." For her, this is one of the advantages of working at an academic medical center. "We have a very good group of nurses -- very skilled and very knowledgeable, because it's a teaching hospital," she says. "And, they're always keeping abreast of the latest technology. That promotes excellence."