Still working to promote the highest quality standards, Marjorie Y. Placek, MBA, MNEd, MSN, RN, reflects on her half century as a nurse, and in doing so provides evidence that a nursing career offers so many avenues for making a difference in the delivery of healthcare.
In this Year of the Nurse, I am pleased to share my nursing story. Throughout 50 plus years as a Registered Nurse, I focused on delivering the highest quality of care and service to my patients, students, colleagues, and the organizations where I practiced.
After seeing such caring qualities in my father’s sister, I choose to follow her career path. Patients and peers recognized her nursing practice as exemplary. My aunt continued to practice well into her 90’s by volunteering in the Neonatal Unit to ensure every baby there received gentle touches.
My career began in the Operating Room and later as a Clinical Specialist on Surgical Units. Then I realized I could make an even greater impact on patient outcomes and the skills of the nurses caring for them by taking on more formal educator responsibilities as an instructor, and later leader of the department. I taught educators and direct caregivers methods to enhance the quality of patient focused care.
Next, I developed and led the Quality Improvement efforts of a large hospital. There I interacted with, educated, and supported the system-wide Quality Improvement activities of nurses, physicians, administrators, and other staff members. As each of them recognized how they could make direct and indirect impacts on patient outcomes, I was pleased to join the celebration.
Most recently, my nursing practice role moved to that of a faculty member and later Assistant Dean of the School of Nursing at Cleveland State University. Again, I focused on teaching and leading to ensure the nursing students and faculty members were prepared for any challenge, including issues such as today’s COVID-19 pandemic.
I am now retired, but still look for opportunities to ensure that health care remains of the highest quality. My practice now is through serving on a Quality Council, supporting family members beginning their nursing careers, and assisting family and friends with explanations and interpretation of medical issues as they move through health challenges. I am proud to be a Registered Nurse and continue to seek opportunities for life-long learning.