When and how did you get started at CAMC?
I began my nursing career as a new graduate RN on 4 South, Memorial Hospital in June of 1991.
What made you want to advance in your career at CAMC?
I spent 16 years at the bedside, 5 years on 4 South and 11 years on what was then known as Coronary Care Unit (CCU). The CCU has since transitioned to CPICU. I loved every minute of caring for patients at the bedside. I worked primarily night shift and for many years only worked two nights a week as I raised my young family. As my children both transitioned to elementary school, a position for permanent PM Charge Nurse opened up in CCU. That is where I began my journey in leadership at CAMC. A year later, our nurse manager was accepted to CRNA School and her position was posted. I applied and received an offer for the position in April of 2007. Throughout my journey as a nurse leader, I was provided and took advantage of the leadership development offered at CAMC. Our Nursing Recruitment and Retention Specialist invested countless hours into new nurse leaders as well as aligning us to leadership development offered at CAMC University. Our Vice President of Nursing challenged our nursing leadership by making a decision that all nurse managers should have their BSN by 2013. The CAMC Foundation graciously supported by providing funds for nurse managers to go back to school. I entered a BSN program in 2009 and graduated in 2011 with my BSN in Nursing. At the same time, a dynamic New Vice President arrived at Memorial Hospital, Jeff Oskin. He held a firm belief that nurses should lead nurses and began to look to the current nurse managers as the next line of associate administrators for nursing units. I loved the idea of getting to take leadership to the next level. I received many opportunities to lead at the Hospital and System level under his direction. I also participated in Baldrige prep and process deployment. One other added benefit of working here was that as I advanced my knowledge and experience in leadership, I was given the opportunity to begin to pay it forward as a facilitator and faculty for CAMC University. The opportunities at CAMC are endless if you choose to embrace them and challenge yourself to grow! I made the decision to return to school to obtain my MSN in 2012 and graduated with my Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Executive in 2013. At the same time, an opportunity arose to apply for Associate Administrator of Inpatient Services at Memorial Hospital. I assumed that position in late 2013 and then shifted my focus to critical care services in 2017. In late 2017 I applied for and was given the opportunity to serve our patients and workforce as CNO, VP for Professional Practice. My dream job! I am blessed and love every minute of what I do, the people I work with and for, and my journey.
Why did you choose to stay at CAMC?
Perhaps my reason to advance my career at CAMC and my reason for staying at CAMC are the same; love for patients and love for our workforce who cares for them. I have always felt that CAMC is an organization whose values align with mine. The mission of striving to provide the best healthcare to every patient every day is exactly what I have done regardless of what role. I feel safe and supported here. I knew people were listening and I was given the opportunity to work with the BEST physicians, nursing teams and leaders! We were always on the cusp of innovation in clinical care and challenging ourselves to do better. I thrive in an environment like that! There was never a thought to leave.
What was your career pathway (i.e. positions you held)?
1991 - Staff RN, 4 South Memorial
1996 - Staff RN CCU Memorial
2006 - Charge RN CCU Memorial
2007 - Nurse Manager CCU Memorial
2013 - Associate Administrator Inpatient Services, Memorial Hospital
2017 - Associate Administrator Critical Care and Emergency Services, Memorial Hospital
2017 - CNO/VP for Professional Practice, Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your career path?
My journey has been blessed by many incredible opportunities and wonderful mentors who saw something in me that initially I didn’t see. They provided opportunities, guidance, support and resources to ensure I had every opportunity to be successful. During my journey, I was given the opportunity to advance, engage, be mentored and supported at a pace that was conducive to both my professional and personal needs.
What would you tell someone considering a career at CAMC about the opportunities available here?
START TODAY! You will never find another organization invested more in your success. CAMC lives its mission and does more than its part in making sure this is the BEST PLACE TO WORK! JOIN US!
Heidi Edwards Chief Nursing Officer/VP for Professional Practice, Charleston Area Medical Center, Inc.