A Nurse’s Journey Through Grief, Action, and Story Sharing

When an unexpected family tragedy occurred in the same field she’d studied for years, one nurse shifted her clinical focus to draw attention to a growing issue that’s gone largely unrecognized.

Lora Sparkman, MHA, RN, BSN, Partner, Patient Safety and Quality, Relias

Lora Sparkman, RN, BSN, MHA, has been a nurse for 37 years and a member of Relias’ team for the past five. She currently leads as a strategy and clinical expert in patient safety/risk reduction, high reliability, and quality improvement in acute care.

Most notably, she has worked to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity across the country using a transformative training software specifically designed for healthcare.

Recently, Lora was featured in a new episode of Caring With Courage: Extraordinary stories of nurses, a mini-documentary online series presented by the International Council of Nurses and produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial Productions, highlighting the scope of the nursing profession.

During a candid Q&A, Lora shared additional insights on what led her to nursing and how it has changed her life in ways she never expected.

Q: How did you begin your nursing career?

A: I went into nursing in a very pragmatic sort of way. I enjoyed taking care of people and putting knowledge to use and being present and being active, and I enjoyed being part of a team.

I began working on a medical/surgical floor, and then moved to a cardiac intensive care unit. For me, I knew going into nursing school that I was interested in eventually transitioning to the business side of the healthcare industry.

Q: Was the nursing profession what you thought it would be?

A: In nursing school, your education and training can only prepare you for the clinical aspect of your role — the symptoms, the protocols, the next steps, etc. As a practicing nurse, you quickly understand how much impact you can have on a patient’s life, especially during their most vulnerable moments. I don’t know if anything can really prepare a nurse for the gravity of that feeling — the responsibility of nursing takes on a whole new meaning.

Nursing has grown a great deal since I first became a nurse. There are so many opportunities for nurses today — from research to front-line patient care, to medical sales, and so on. There’s truly something for everyone who’s passionate about the nursing profession — that’s the beauty of how nursing has evolved.

Q: When did you become interested in moving beyond the bedside?

A: After spending almost a decade providing clinical care, I accepted an opportunity to better understand the payor side of healthcare. The role was a better fit for raising a family, with a more convenient schedule.

I learned a different aspect about how healthcare is paid for, and it really gave me that foundational business acumen to see so many facets of the industry — about what a good model looks like and what a poor model looks like.

And then I just got impassioned about standardizing evidence-based care models. On the floor, my day-to-day was focusing …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com