YON 2020 Day 66: Ashley M. Fertig, MSN, MHA, RN, CEN

Nurse leader Ashley Fertig, MSN, MHA, RN, CEN, shares advice on how nurses should to react to situations and processes they feel need to be improved.

My nursing journey began because I wanted to help my community. Once a nurse, I felt compelled to do more. I became a formal nurse leader in order to break down barriers so that more nurses could provide the care we all want our family members to receive. I realized early on that if you are frustrated with a process or something is not going quite right, the only way to change it is to be a part of the solution. Get involved, voice your opinion, try new ways of doing things and don’t be afraid to fail and try again. These are words I often share with staff.

I started my career as a new graduate RN in a local emergency department where I gained a wealth of clinical knowledge, as I was able to give compassionate care for my community. My career progressed through various leadership roles and I became the Chief Nursing Officer of University Hospitals Conneaut and Geneva Medical Centers. It is a pleasure to come to work every day at the facilities I love, for the community I cherish. Although I don’t have as much direct patient contact any longer, I have expanded my ability to help my fellow nurses break down barriers and provide excellent human caring. I am a member of the Nurse Executive Council for all University Hospitals in the system and am honored to represent the voice of our 7,000 RNs across 15 counties in northern Ohio.

Advocacy is a core responsibility of our nursing profession. It is through health care policy that true change is achieved. Health care policy effects how we as nurses are able to provide the care we are uniquely trained to do. We all have a voice, and although we are the most trusted profession, we don’t always use our voices to help improve healthcare. I would challenge all that read this to join a committee or working group with an organization you believe in. This may be your employer or it may be within your community. Use your knowledge and your voice to help make improvements.

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