CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022 - 25

25
A L UMNI
(VMHC) program at CU Nursing has made me more aware
of the issues my current patient population faces and will
continue to face in the future. I highly recommend this
educational specialty for military service members or
those taking care of this important patient population.
Q: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER OUR
STUDENTS TODAY?
Q: WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER BEEN LIKE? WHAT GOT
YOU HERE AND WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR CAREER
GOING?
It is an honor to serve our nation's warriors and their families
as an Army nurse corps officer. Service to others has
provided me with a profoundly rewarding and enriching
path since graduating from CU 20 years ago.
I currently serve as the perioperative consultant to the
Army Surgeon General and as a nurse scientist for the
Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry (CNSCI)
at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.
The primary focus of my nursing career has been in the
perioperative setting, where I have worked as a perioperative
nurse on surgical teams and led the operating
room as a perioperative nursing director. I have more
than 29 years of US Army active-duty service and hold
board certifications in perioperative nursing (CNOR),
Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse (CNAMB), Certified
Surgical Services Manager (CSSM), nursing informatics
(RN-BC), and as a nurse executive (NEA-BC). I continued
my education by earning an MSN in nursing informatics
and a PhD in Nursing at Uniformed Services University
of the Health Sciences (USUHS). I deployed twice to Iraq
as a perioperative nurse in a combat support hospital for
Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004 -2005) and Operation New
Dawn (2010-2011).
In my role as a nurse scientist, I mentor and coach other
healthcare professionals through all aspects of research and
evidence-based practice to help build an organizational
culture of inquiry that supports nurse-led innovation.
Although the primary focus of my job is to conduct research
that aligns with military priorities, my team also leverages
data to provide decision support to hospital leaders. Most of
my funded research and publications focus on surgical team
communication, team performance, system science, risk
reduction, and credentialing. Working as a nurse scientist
is very fulfilling, as it provides me a chance to make broader
changes across the health system than strictly working as
a clinical leader.
I have several recommendations for students after they
graduate from CU and enter the nursing workforce. First,
prepare yourself to engage in continuous professional
development throughout your nursing career. Upon graduation,
I would never have imagined that I would earn a
PhD and work as a nurse scientist. Discovering that there
will be more learning ahead is something that current
students might not want to hear. However, nurses have
a professional and ethical obligation to sustain professional
growth and development through their careers.
Earning advanced degrees and attaining specialty nursing
certifications will enable them to have a voice in health
policy decision-making and serve as leaders in the broader
health care system. After graduating from CU, I was busy
establishing clinical nursing skills, and earning a graduate
degree was the farthest thing from my mind. As I matured
in my nursing career, a continuous cycle of learning and
applying knowledge became foundational to my clinical
practice, and I became more open to earning higher levels
of education and certifications.
Working closely with perioperative nurses on
interprofessional surgical teams, I developed a
deep respect for the nursing role. I became keenly
aware of the impact perioperative nurses can have
on optimal patient health and surgical outcomes. "
- Colonel Christopher H. Stucky, PhD, RN, CNOR, CSSM, CNAMB, RN-BC, NEA-BC
Second, I highly recommend that new nurses establish
a formal mentoring relationship with an experienced
and highly educated nurse leader to help shape their
careers. Nurse mentors serve as role models and help to
educate, inspire, and motivate junior nurses. Currently
and throughout my career, I have worked with several key
mentors who graciously spent their time encouraging my
continual professional growth and advancing my leadership
skills.
The views expressed are solely those of the authors and do
not reflect the official policy or position of the US Army, US
Navy, the Department of Defense, or the US Government.

CU Nursing - Spring/Summer 2022

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