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APRN Spotlight: Connections Make a Difference

Three APRNs from Neurosciences demonstrate how our connections to each other bring deeper meaning to our work.

Working in health care means that every day is different. We learn to expect the unexpected. Among the daily uncertainty, one thing remains constant for Angie Adamek, APRN-CNP; Anna Boeke, APRN-CNP; and Brittney Huisinga APRN-CNP, at CentraCare Neurosciences — their connection to each other.

As nursing graduates, Angie, Anna and Brittney all came to CentraCare knowing exactly what they wanted to do, care for others.

“My grandmother had a stroke on my college graduation day,” said Brittney. “While I knew I wanted to be a nurse, that moment shaped my path and brought me to Neurosciences.”

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Likewise, Angie’s and Anna’s personal experiences created a life-long passion for helping those around them. Angie watched and supported her brother as a teenager during his medical crisis and Anna’s grandmother was a nurse. Because of these experiences, they were drawn to Neurosciences, which deals with complex conditions of the brain and spine, spinal cord and nervous system. In addition, all three were looking to provide a high level of care to a diverse population while working in a close-knit environment. As a Magnet hospital in St. Cloud, CentraCare was the perfect fit.

So, it was no surprise when they met that they shared an instant connection.

“We had immediate camaraderie,” said Angie. “Not only did we truly enjoy working with each other and have the same sense of humor, but we also shared a passion for learning in order to provide specialized care for our patients.”

With a combined total of 29 years of service at CentraCare, Anna, Angie and Brittney decided that it was time to pursue their desire to enhance their nursing education and take on new roles within the Neurosciences department.

“We came to the conclusion that if we were going to go back to school to become APRNs, there was no better way to do it other than together!” said Brittney.

“Education plays a significant role in personal and professional development,” said Tiffany Omann-Bidinger, director, Neurosciences Spine Unit at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital. “The leadership in our department truly believes in learning and understanding our staff’s professional goals and then helping them create a pathway to achieve their dreams. The more skilled our staff become, the better care they provide and the more personal satisfaction they receive from their work.”

“During the time we were in school, we felt completely supported by our department,” said Angie. “I loved coming to work and sharing what I was learning in school. Having a close relationship with Anna and Brittney provided me with a built-in support system because they were going through the same experiences.”

“We would text each other or spend time together in the St. Cloud Hospital library.” said Anna. “We would even stay late or come in early to support each other. It was very special and it made us closer as colleagues and friends.”

Angie, Anna and Brittney also brought their shared enthusiasm for education to the department and were able to take what they learned in school to create positive changes within Neurosciences.

“Student projects often open up opportunities for innovation,” said Tiffany. “Angie brought forward a project focused on how to engage staff with committee leadership. Within six months, we transformed our shared governance model for all our committees to have a charge nurse as chair and bedside staff as co-chairs. Most recently, both Anna and Brittney were co-chairs of two of the current committees within Neurosciences. Anna’s, Angie’s and Brittney’s journey exemplifies our philosophy of teamwork and how professional growth transcends to patient care.”

The CentraCare Neurosciences has a history of supporting employees and encouraging higher education, having other nurses go on to pursue their master and doctorate degrees in nursing and remain with CentraCare. They also have a reputation for raising their hands to pilot new programs and were selected to serve as the first COVID unit at CentraCare.

“Our relationship with each other and our entire team prepared us for these times,” said Angie. “Burnout has always been an issue in health care. We are now just being challenged in new ways. While it is difficult to watch patients and co-workers go through these tough times, it is important to be there for each other and know you are not alone. That is the gift I receive from my colleagues. The gift of support and connection.”

“We are all learning. That is health care,” said Anna. “We are all connected because every day we are all learning together.”