Nursing at Archbold: A Focus on Quality and the Future

Archbold Medical Center has brought high-quality healthcare to the South Georgia and North Florida areas for over 90 years. Known for its state-of-the-art facilities and the variety of services it provides, Archbold also holds a high reputation for employing dedicated and highly-skilled staff.

Kellie Odom, RN, MSN, HRM, CLNC, Director of Nursing, and one among the 645 nurses employed at Archbold, uses her 26-year career and skills to provide the best patient care possible. According to her, nurses provide over 90% of healthcare in the world; they are with patients from start to finish, even when it isn’t easy.

“Nurses aren’t only essential to hospitals, but to healthcare in general,” Odom said.

“We not only assist patients with getting better physically, but we address emotional and spiritual needs also. Nursing requires both emotional and physical strength. Nurses work long hours to insure patients receive the care they deserve. We are advocates for our patients and try to assist them as they navigate through the challenges of healthcare. We are the eyes and ears for the providers, as we spend the most time with the patients.”

Odom also said that providing the best patient care comes down to the work environment and how well fellow staff tackle emergencies together.

“The culture of nursing at Archbold is focused on our patients and staff,” Odom said.

“Our goal is to provide our patients with an excellent healthcare experience, delivering compassionate care in times that can be so stressful and intimidating. Maintaining a positive work environment that supports our staff is also extremely important. It starts at the top. Our chief nursing officer is such a great leader. She leads by example.”

Amy Griffin, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer, sports a 27-year career at Archbold. Beginning as a nursing student, Griffin worked her way up to CNO in 2011. She, like Odom, has experienced how the nursing field has changed since they both first started.

“Nursing has become very quality, metric, and device driven,” Griffin said. “However, the art of hands on healing of our patients will always stay the same.”

According to Odom, the record keeping has become more advanced thanks to technology. She said she began her career documenting everything by hand, and storage warehouses were used to keep medical records.

“We have transitioned over the years to an electronic medical record, and retrieving historical records is now as easy as just clicking a few buttons,” Odom said.

“Technology in general has significantly changed with not only the development of the electronic medical record, but communication devices, ‘smart pumps’ for medication administration, and barcode scanning to promote patient safety, just to name a few. The amount of knowledge and information a nurse has to have in order to work in the current healthcare environment is huge.”

Griffin explained that there is a higher demand for nurses, but that need outweighs the actual number of people enrolling in nursing schools. She offered suggestions on how institutions could better meet that need.

“We need to develop a shadow program for all individuals who would like to join the nursing profession to understand what and how nursing impacts the lives of others every day,” she said.

“We need to identify students at an early age who have the soft skills to be a nurse and allow them access to these settings to encourage them to enter the profession. All barriers to attending college for nursing should be removed to allow students the ability to enter this field.”

Archbold is taking the steps to encourage individuals to follow the nursing career path.

Along with paying 100% of tuition for students entering the program, according to Griffin, there is a nurse residency program. This 12-month program meets every month for four hours and is designed to help ease the transition of new graduate nurses into clinical practice.

“We are constantly reviewing our salary information to remain competitive; we have a nurse residency program; and we have a professional practice program for our nurses to earn additional annual bonus,” Griffin said.

“We have a culture that is kind and caring not only for our patients but our employees as well. Our employees’ concerns and well-being are extremely important to our leadership team. We want to create the best environment possible for our staff to work in because they will make the best environment for our patients to receive care.”

Written by: Alex Dunn | Photography by: Eric Vinson

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