By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, December 2019
Lisa Backman, LPN, was always drawn to a career in nursing – and after a brief detour – that’s exactly where she ended up.
Her original career plan in high school was to get a job at the Columbus Manor and while there, get her education to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Unfortunately, when Backman applied for a job there, no positions were available and she had to take a different career track.
Backman needed a job and computers were really starting to evolve, so she turned to computer programming, and from there, changed course to desktop publishing. She went on to receive a diploma in desktop publishing and started working for a local manufacturer in their advertising department. Then she moved to a secretary position at Scotus Central Catholic High School because the position would allow her to use her desktop publishing degree to create a newsletter.
Though Backman was using her degree, she wanted more.
“I wanted to help people. I wanted to take on a different challenge,” she said. “Nursing was something I wanted to do in high school and there were some barriers and I kind of went down a different path, but then I came back to it.”
While she was working at Scotus, Backman got the opportunity to get into a nursing program. Her in-laws had created a scholarship to honor their daughter who was an RN and had passed away and rather than giving the scholarship to the school, they decided to give it to Backman instead.
She used the scholarship to attend Central Community College- Columbus to work toward her nursing degree.
While she was going through nursing school, Backman was hired by Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) in June 2000 as a CNA. She has stayed at CCH ever since, working in a variety of different roles in nursing and the quality department.
“I’ve worn a lot of hats,” she said.
In September 2001, when she passed her boards, Backman became a staff nurse in acute care. In 2008, Backman started working part time in the quality department and part time as a staff nurse. Three years later, she took on the medical staff coordinator position and four months ago, she moved into her current position as accreditation and hospital safety coordinator.
In this position, Backman is responsible for planning, coordinating and organizing accreditation activities to ensure CCH meets the readiness status of regulatory agencies like The Joint Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other environment of care and life safety standards.
Though Backman is new to the position, she’s excited for the challenges it provides.
“It’s definitely a new challenge for me and it’s something I’m ready to hit head on. It will definitely take me some time to get to know all the standards and requirements and I’m willing to take on that challenge to make our hospital as safe as it can be,” she said.
As she embarks on this new challenge, Backman said she has been very supported by her director, her department and the hospital’s senior leaders.
“They want me to succeed as much as I want to succeed and they’re going to support me,” she said.
Having served in many different roles in health care, Backman encourages other people to explore the field too.
“Health care is a big area and there’s always going to be a job. There’s advancement if you want it and there’s just different levels of nursing care or health care in general,” she said.
No matter what role people serve in health care, Backman believes they will find value in their work.
“It doesn’t matter what level of health care you are in, nursing, lab, therapy, radiology, you get to be with a patient. You get to experience their hospital visit with them, taking care of them and giving them the comfort they need,” she said. “It’s very rewarding.”
For more information on Backman and CCH’s commitment to hospital safety, visit http://www.columbushosp.org.