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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 - 10:09 am

Alumni Focus

Accomplished nursing leader credits PUC with encouraging her to challenge herself

By MEGAN SUMMERS
Megan Summers is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Purdue Calumet INSIGHT.

Kim Nagy
Nagy appreciates that her nursing faculty stayed current and connected.

While Kim Nagy, MS, APRN, NEA-BC, has been drawn to the business side of healthcare for as long as she can remember, it wasn’t until 10 years into her career of selling medical products that she realized she wanted to understand healthcare from the “other side of the desk,” as she put it.

“I worked both domestically and internationally and on very interesting projects, but at some point I realized I wanted to learn more about the healthcare delivery system,” she said. “So, I decided to go to nursing school.”

A northwest Indiana region native, Nagy enrolled at Purdue Calumet in 1993 and earned an associate degree in nursing. She went on to work as a direct care nurse at several area hospitals. However, within months, she realized she wanted to further her education.


Education vital to assume healthcare leadership role

“The seeds were planted,” she said. “I was always interested in assuming a leadership role in healthcare and knew that an advanced degree was essential in preparing for such a role.”

While continuing to work, Nagy re-enrolled at Purdue Calumet, first earning a baccalaureate degree and then, a master’s in nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She also holds board certification in Advanced Nursing Administration from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“Before entering the master’s program, I looked at several different schools,” Nagy said. “But from the experiences I gained during my undergraduate days, I felt PUC was the best fit, and I was also impressed with the faculty.”


Connected faculty

Nagy said the faculty stays connected to the healthcare field outside the classroom, and that is paramount to the quality of the Purdue Calumet nursing program. “All of my instructors understood the profession and the changes that were occurring,” she said. “By bringing this to us as students, we could incorporate what they were seeing into our own practice model.”

Saying her time at Purdue Calumet “propelled her to be competitive,” Nagy has risen far in her profession. Since earning her master’s degree in 2004, she has been employed with Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in Lake Forest, Ill. “I was Executive Director of Women & Children’s services for the first year of my career at Lake Forest Hospital,” she said, “and in 2005, I assumed the duties of Vice President of Operations and Chief Nurse Executive.”

Crediting Purdue Calumet with encouraging her to challenge herself professionally, Nagy acknowledged hitting the ground running when she assumed her present senior management role. “One of the first things I did was investigate securing a Magnet Designation for the hospital,” she said, referring to one of the top quality patient care and nursing excellence credentials a healthcare organization can receive. “We talked a lot about the Magnet Designation while I was in graduate school and what it brings to patient care.”


Pursuing excellence

Nagy’s work paid off. In 2010, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital received Magnet Designation with four exemplars. As Nagy explained, only 6 percent of hospitals nationwide have earned the designation, which means Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital officially has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a facility that demonstrates excellence in nursing services.

“The process to gain the Magnet Designation took a number of years to accomplish,” she said, “and it requires total dedication to continuous improvement and innovation throughout our organization.”

Not one to stand still for long, Nagy also instituted the nurse navigator program at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital. The program is designed to help patients with breast health issues navigate the system more easily and have an advocate on their side. She also assisted in leading the Care Coach mobile health program to reach the uninsured and underserved population in Lake County Ill.

“We recently donated the Care Coach to the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science,” Nagy said. “This is a valuable service, and donating the vehicle to Rosalind Franklin means it will continue to serve the community to an even great capacity.”


Real-world applicable

For the past two years, Nagy also has served as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Chicago Area Affiliate.

Named Purdue Calumet’s School of Nursing 2011 Alumna of the Year, Nagy had this to say about her time at the University: “When I reflect on my experiences at PUC, I don’t have one particular class that stands out. It was all about the conversations we had, and how what we were learning was applicable to the real world. The one thing I would share with students currently in school is ‘never stop listening to those willing to share, and be ready and open to the opportunities presented to (them).’”