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YON 2020 Day 271: Terri Neilsen, RN, CNOR

Having begun her practice at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Terri Neilsen, RN, CNOR, found her place in the operative services department and has become a key team member there as the Urology Service leader. She reflects on her long career and explains what keeps her going after more than four decades.

My entire nursing career, which spans 42 years, has been spent at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UHCMC). As most new nurses, I started out on a Medical Surgical floor, but eventually found my calling in the operating room. That is where I have spent the last 35 years. Initially I worked in the ambulatory surgery department with both pediatric and adult outpatient surgery. As the operative services department grew, the need for a Urology service leader developed, and I jumped into that role. I have held that position for last 15 years.

My duties include developing surgical procedure picklists, working with surgeons to make sure their supplies and equipment are available and being a clinical resource for our surgical staff. I am proud to have been involved in the development of one of the first programs in the country to use Holmium Laser to enucleate the Prostate (The Holep Procedure).

Currently I am collaborating to create University Hospital’s gender affirmation program. After all of this time in nursing, the thing that keeps me going is my love for my patients and the opportunity work with her wonderful colleagues as well as kind and talented surgeons. Although working through Covid-19 has been stressful, it has been rewarding to witness the strength, courage, and resilience of my amazing co-workers.

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