By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, September 2019
Amy Soulliere, BSN, RN, was drawn to a career in health care because of the job security it provides. She stays in the career because it offers variety and endless opportunities for learning.
“I chose nursing as a profession because I always would have a job. I could move anywhere and find employment. I wanted a career that would be able to support myself and my family financially,” she said.
Over the years, Soulliere has worked in several nursing jobs, before becoming diabetic educator and nurse educator -simulation lab at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) in January 2018.
In her work as a diabetic educator, Soulliere assesses the needs of inpatients who have diabetes and makes sure they have the proper equipment and medications for when they return home. She also sees many of these patients again on an outpatient basis. If they are newly diagnosed, Soulliere will meet with them several times to get them the information they need to be successful in managing their disease.
Soulliere’s other role as nurse educator-simulation lab requires her to help with simulations in CCH’s simulation lab.
The 2,000-square foot simulation lab has four life-like simulators that look like humans and represent an adult, pediatric patient, a birthing mother, and a newborn. The simulators are controlled by simulation lab staff using computers. They can be programmed to breathe, blink, speak, cry and sweat, as well as display realistic symptoms and vital signs.
Hospital staff members from all disciplines receive training in the simulation lab. The life-like simulators play the part of the patient and each trainee or simulation lab participant interacts with them as though they are real. In the process, the trainees are filmed so that in debriefing, they can watch the video to see where they can improve. Training through the simulation lab allows CCH medical staff to enhance their skills in a risk-free, yet realistic-seeming environment.
Soulliere helps prepare the simulation lab for upcoming simulations, writes and reviews the scenarios, gathers supplies, facilitates the simulation, cleans up and resets for the next simulation.
Before moving into her position as diabetic educator and nurse educator – simulation lab, Soulliere worked for several years as a bedside nurse. She believes this experience prepared her for her current roles.
“That experience gave me a great foundation to expand into other roles in nursing and education,” she said.
Soulliere said she always enjoyed education, so when the role of diabetic educator and nurse educator – simulation lab opened, she knew it would be a good fit.
“I was at the right place at the right time,” she said. “I was looking for some different hours so that I would have more flexibility with family obligations. I’ve always enjoyed education so it seemed like a natural transition.”
Soulliere enjoys her position because in addition to allowing her to educate patients, it also provides plenty of variety. Some weeks she works heavily with patients with diabetes, leading classes and helping patients with their new or old devices. Other weeks, Soulliere helps with simulations every day.
“A typical day is never the same,” she said. “I enjoy the variety and appreciate that every day is not the same.”
Soulliere also appreciates the support she receives from CCH and from her supervisor and coworkers in particular.
“My director allows us a lot of flexibility between all of the hats that we wear,” she said. “I collaborate with many different professionals on a daily basis. It’s nice to have that kind of support from your coworkers.”
Though Soulliere went into nursing for the stability – she enjoys it too, and she believes others will feel the same way.
That’s why she encourages people to explore a career in health care.
“You will always have a job no matter where you live,” she said. “It’s not boring and you will never stop learning something new.”
For more information on Soulliere, CCH’s diabetes education program, or simulation lab, visit http://www.columbushosp.org.