You may be surprised that the path you thought you would take in nursing may be different in real life.
Elizabeth Scruth is proof that a career in nursing is a global opportunity. From her training in Western Australia to coming to the U.S. as a travel nurse to now spearheading some of the most progressive and innovative work in healthcare, Scruth's commitment to lifelong learning is evident. Read her story now and her thoughts on the Year of the Nurse.
What is it that you do in your current role as a nurse?
I am the director of clinical quality programs and director of tele critical care - remote monitoring for Kaiser Permanente, Northern California (KP NCAL). In this role, I oversee critical care nurses and remote quality nurses with critical care backgrounds who are monitoring patients through advanced predictive algorithms. I am also Volunteer Faculty for the Physiological Department of Nursing at UCSF - and precept Clinical Nurse Specialist Students. In addition, I am Clinical Faculty for the University of Colorado CNS program.
Tell us about your journey.
My journey began in Kalgoorlie -Western Australia as an RN in a pediatric unit in a rural hospital. Then I went back to Perth- Western Australia where I worked in ObGyn/Oncology nursing units and then Coronary Care Units. In 1989, I became a traveling RN and traveled to the USA to Stanford University Hospital and worked in the CCU and then went to work in Berkley at Alta Bates Hospital. It was soon after that I took on permanent employment at Kaiser Permanente. During the subsequent years, I earned a Masters in Nursing, Masters in Public Health and a post-masters as a Cardiovascular/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. Soon after I earned my PhD in nursing. I have always worked in ICU and continue to be passionate about critical care issues.
I have just completed serving a three-year term as a Director on the Certification Board of AACN and I have been elected as Chair-elect and will serve another three years on the board. I am a member of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the National Association of CNSs and serve on committees in both organizations. I have ensured that I published along the way in my journey.
The biggest challenges I encountered were around toxic work environments – and I fully embrace the Healthy work environment initiative that AACN developed - it takes so little to be nice to your colleagues - and it can make a difficult patient assignment easier.
I would say the biggest mentors in my life have been my mother - also a nurse, and my late twin brother who always supported my career and aspirations. ICU Nurse Managers along my journey have also inspired me and encouraged further growth.
It’s 10 years in the future, where do you see this role taking you or where do you envision the expansion of your area of specialty?
In ten years, I see myself continuing to advance the nursing profession – may be in more of a professor role, working part-time.
What advice would you give to prospective nurses about the field of nursing, considering your unique career path?
Go where your passion and heart lead you - you may be surprised that the path you thought you would take in nursing may be different in real life - but it will be interesting!
It takes so little to be nice to your colleagues - and it can make a difficult patient assignment easier.
How would you describe the significance of “The Year of the Nurse” for our profession?
The year of the nurse is a great opportunity to highlight what we do and how we change lives every day.