For Antonette “Anne” Sanchez, MSN, RN, CRRN, CNE, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is “the perfect mix” — she uses traditional nursing skills in bedside care while also taking part in forward-thinking research and administrative initiatives.
“From the get-go, even as a young nurse, I shared my career goals with my manager. Before long, I was presenting a poster and then a case study at the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses conference, and I was a preceptor and a charge nurse. Two years later, I applied to be a clinical instructor and now my role is 50% clinical, and 50% teaching and administrative.”
The collaborative spirit at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab makes it easier for nurses to stand up and use their voices. There's a sense of community among the team that I don't think I could get from a bigger hospital.Antonette Sanchez
This flexibility and empowerment of nurses is built into Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's DNA: we're a hospital with a big vision; but with smaller, collaborative interprofessional teams that recognize and respect the contributions of nurses to the mission. Our shared governance model and nursing practice council empower direct care nurses to make important decisions. And, our newly appointed president and CEO is an RN herself — she joined our organization as a staff nurse in 1981 and has risen to the highest leadership position!
“We're a smaller hospital compared to some of the large medical centers, so nurses get to know everyone on their units and develop relationships with nursing managers, and even with higher-level nursing leadership,” Anne said. “This collaborative spirit makes it easier for nurses to stand up and use their voices. For instance, if a person is really interested in improving the documentation process, they can say, ‘I feel like there are changes that could be made. How can I get involved in that process?’ And then, they’ll find they are working on that project. There's a sense of community among the team that I don't think I could get from a bigger hospital.”