by Linda Friedel | Reprinted courtesy of KC Nursing News
Michelle Schwartz combines her passion for teaching and her love of medicine as training coordinator in an Overland Park clinic.
“It was an opportunity to fulfill my personal mission statement,” said Schwartz, RN, training and staff development coordinator at College Park Family Care Center and Overland Park Surgical Specialties of HCA Midwest Health Systems. “I was a teacher previously in my career,” (It’s) melding teaching with love of medicine — blend those two fields passionately.”
The former teacher has taught everything under the moon from pre-school to elementary school to medical students, she says. Training staff members in her current role is the perfect blend of science, art, education and nursing, she said.
“I can see outcomes,” Swartz said. “My success is measurable when people I train give great patient outcomes. That can be measured visually. I also take it very personally if it doesn’t go well.”
Schwartz learns something new every day, she said. She gains expertise in multiple areas, then turns to others to teach. She trains new and seasoned nurses and medical assistants in groups or on a one-on-one basis, depending on the need. She shares her knowledge of technology and equipment, CPR instruction, error training, injections, minor protocols and inputting in the computer. Schwartz trains and develops programs in seven clinics and nearly a dozen specialty centers. The work is rewarding, she said. She sees her career as a gift and a great responsibility, she said.
“I do love it. It’s very stimulating,” Swartz said. “I am never bored. There are times it can be overwhelming.”
Schwartz was a former labor and delivery nurse. She has worked with college students twice — as a clinician in a college health care center and as an educator in a medical school skills lab. After teaching assessments and hands-on skills to medical students, Schwartz said she found her calling.
“That was my first (health care) job where I really started venturing into the teaching part,” she said. “That was where I knew I certainly wanted to merge the two.”
Schwartz is an excellent mentor for a great many people in her role as training coordinator for the staff, said Sally Firnhaber, RN, BSN, director of nursing at College Park Family Care Center and Overland Park Surgical Specialties. She affects positive change in quality and patient care, Firnhaber said.
“Staff training and development is her passion,” Firnhaber said. “She is driven for excellence not only for herself; she sets that expectation for others.”