By Barbara Pierce
Ashely Edwards is chief nursing officer for Rome Health. Rome Health, an extensive healthcare network serving Rome and surrounding communities, partners with institutions and individuals to provide access to a coordinated team of experts.
Q: How did you choose to be in this position?
A: It wasn’t so much that I chose this position as it was the next step for me at Rome Health. Ever since I graduated from nursing school, Rome Health has been my home. I love the opportunity to support our nurses to work to their highest potential, whether that is supporting quality outcomes at the bedside, achieving national certifications, going on for higher education or moving into leadership.
The most exciting part for me is to watch our nurses grow and achieve the goals that they set for themselves. That part of my job is the most rewarding to me.
Q: How do you balance leadership responsibilities with nursing duties?
A: Balancing leadership responsibilities with nursing duties is a challenge but one that I welcome. First and foremost, safe, quality patient care is always at the top of my list. Nothing else comes before that. Whether I’m in a meeting or working on a project, the nursing staff can reach out to me any time when there is a concern about a patient or a situation that requires some guidance.
In my heart, I will always be a nurse, and I truly believe that leading by example is the best way to inspire and earn the respect from the nursing staff. Being in this position, I refuse to just sit behind a desk and direct my staff. I believe in being there to help support the nurses who work so hard to bring our patients the best care out there, here at Rome Health.
Q.: What is the greatest challenge your nurses face today?
A: There are many challenges that face nurses today. The first would be hiring and retention of staff. This problem is not just in healthcare alone. Many industries are feeling the effects from COVID-19. But Rome Health and its administration has stepped up; our hiring and staff retention is growing at a steady pace — good news for not only Rome Health but this helps to solidify the level of care we expect to provide to our patients.
Another challenge that many people face is the work/life balance. For many families it is one of the toughest parts of having parents who work away from the home. At Rome Health we understand that family is first and our leaders that truly believe and support that.
Q: How do you stay on top of current trends?
A: Staying on top of current trends is part of the job. One of the best ways for me is to remain certified with Continuing Education Credits. That’s one of the best ways to learn about the newest trends that are going on or what is on its way.
Another way is for the hospital to reach new and outstanding requirements that earn the hospital certifications such as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction recognition. The hospital has achieved this distinction in our Bariatric, Spine, and Maternity services.
Lastly, I make sure to take time to read evidenced-based and nationally recognized journals. So much is changing in the health field in terms of care, technology, and opinions that I do my best to stay on top of it by reading and talking with other professionals about what they are learning. The healthcare field is evolving every day; I wouldn’t be performing my job correctly if I didn’t make sure I am in the know of the latest trends.
Q: What do you see as the newest trend in the field?
A: One of the newest trends would be virtual nursing support. When a patient is in need of a nurse, they can push a button, much like the call button that hospitals have and it is answered quickly. The patient likes knowing they will get assistance from someone familiar with their condition who can meet their needs quickly.
Another trend is to continue to support ambulatory and outpatient healthcare. We continue to see this as the first line of healthcare support for our patients. Our goal is to always provide compassionate care to anyone who walks into Rome Health, but to also provide fast and efficient care to all our patients without barriers. That is why we continue to say that Rome Health provides the best care out there. Here.