Thrive by IU Health

March 15, 2024

A nurse celebrates her peers’ excellence

IU Health Arnett Hospital

A nurse celebrates her peers’ excellence

Certified Nurses Day, celebrated annually on March 19, is an occasion to honor and celebrate the dedication, expertise and passion of certified nurses who play a crucial role in healthcare. Among these remarkable individuals is Arnett Hospital certified nurse Ashlee Stuart, an example of excellence in nursing.

From aspiration to achievement

Stuart's journey into healthcare was not predetermined.

“Going into the medical field was a slow realization for me,” says Stuart. “Nobody in my family was in the medical field. Growing up, I always thought I would be a teacher. To this day, I'm not sure what the final spark was that led me to the medical field. Was it seeing my elderly grandparents be taken care of? Was it the love I had for trauma shows? I'm not sure.”

Embracing diversity in specialization

While Stuart initially envisioned herself working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), her path led her to the dynamic realm of medical-surgical (med/surg) nursing. Embracing the diversity of patients and conditions in this field, Stuart found fulfillment in the variety and challenges it offered.

“I remember playing ‘baby nurse’ as a kid and never dreamed of being an adult nurse,” says Stuart. “However, I’m a firm believer that every nurse should have at least a year of med/surg nursing under his or her belt before going into a more specialized field. I entered med/surg never intending to stay, but I like the variety, the range of medical conditions, the range of ages. Every day is different.”

A remarkable career path

Stuart, currently serving as the assistant manager for Acute Care Six at IU Health Arnett Hospital, has dedicated herself to the noble profession of nursing for over a decade. Her journey with IU Health spans twelve years, during which she has witnessed the organization evolve and flourish.

“I love being part of a multidisciplinary team that works together to improve the stay of each patient,” says Stuart.

Stuart's commitment to her role as a certified nurse reflects her deep-rooted passion for patient care and continuous learning.

“I love the educational aspect of the field as well,” says Stuart. “It brings me back to my childhood dream of being a teacher, but in a different way. I love teaching patients and families and answering questions they may have, and I love welcoming new staff members to the building and teaching them the IU Health Way.”

Creating connections and inspiring commitment

For Stuart, the essence of nursing lies in the profound connections forged with patients and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their lives, especially during their most vulnerable moments.

“I love getting to meet some of the patients and hear their stories,” says Stuart. “Some of the people I have met have led fascinating lives.”

In celebrating Certified Nurses Day, Stuart urges nurses to persevere in the face of challenges. Certified nurses, she believes, should celebrate not only their achievements but also their ongoing commitment to excellence in patient care.

“Although not every day is easy, know that you are making a difference,” says Stuart as words of motivation for her fellow certified nurses. “Your passion and your experience are vital to this field. Keep on learning and keep on teaching.”