> Kathy McCormick RN, CBIS, WWC
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McCormick, RN, CBIS, WWC
Profile: "Being a Nurse Defines
By Kathy McCormick, RN, CBIS, WWC
have been a nurse all my adult life. Thatís who I am - being
a nurse defines me.
I was born and raised in New York State in whatís known as
the Southern Tier area... When I was in high school I
originally wanted to be a teacher. My guidance counselor back
them saw something in me and felt that I had the qualities
needed to be in the helping professions and talked to me about
becoming a nurse. I thought about it and decided that is what
I wanted to do. Immediately after high school I attended
Alfred State College in the nursing program and Iíve been a
nurse since I was nineteen.
My first position as a nurse was in regional medical center. I
was there for five years and basically I learned ďthe ropes,Ē
by working literally in every nursing department including
ObGyn, surgical intensive care, and supervision. It was
valuable working in a hospital where I got to do a lot of
things and I gained a lot of experience that I have drawn on
throughout my career as a Nurse.
I was married, we relocated to the Capital District of New
York State and I began working in long-term care. I spent
twenty-five years in long-term care - twenty of those years I
worked the night shift. For a number of years I was a
During that time I worked with a geriatric population,
including individuals with dementias. That group of people has
a lot to teach a nurse because they can be so challenging and
their needs are so special. I also learned early on to support
and involve their families. Family members really help you to
understand the person since they know them best and that helps
me meet the needs of the individual more effectively. Iíve
relied on a close relationship with families throughout the
Six years ago a friend of mine, who is also a nurse, began
working at Northeast Center for Special Care. She talked a lot
about working with people who have had a traumatic brain
injury and how unique and rewarding it was helping people
through their rehabilitation, helping them re-learn and
recover lost skills and watching them progress and eventually
reintegrate back to their communities.
That stimulated my interest because I learned that Northeast
Center had a mission of community reentry which was quite
different from traditional long-term care. I thought that I
would like to take on a challenge like that and I did a lot of
soul-searching because the commute would be longer for me. I
decided to apply at Northeast Center and I said if I got the
job I would give it a year and see how I like it. Six years
later and Iím still here!
all my experience to build upon, I was amazed at how much
there was to learn. My first position here was as a Nurse
Manager for the Ventilator Care Program, which I held for two
years. The Ventilator Care program is phenomenal and I worked
with an experienced, dedicated staff of nurses and registered
respiratory therapists. It was a challenging job and I have
great satisfaction in having seen so many people being weaned
from ventilators, work through their rehabilitation to become
independent, and be able to return to their homes and
Four years ago I was asked to become an Assistant Director of
Nursing at Northeast Center. I did a lot of soul searching
again because I loved my job as Nurse Manager, but I finally
decided to accept the new responsibilities.
As Assistant Director of Nursing I oversee the
ventilator/respiratory unit as well as our complex medical
recovery unit. In this position I am able to work closely with
our Resident-Neighbors who have had a brain injury. I am able
to draw on my years of experience to assist people with
cognitive limitations. I never thought I would be successful
in really helping someone with a TBI, but the
Resident-Neighbors quickly responded to my friendly, helpful,
and secure presence. The wonderful thing is that I get to see
people really improve and I have been able to say goodbye and
good luck to so many people who have been able to return home
and resume their lives.
interact every day with our multi-disciplined team members. We
are a team of many skilled professionals at Northeast Center:
not just nursing staff, but also neurologists,
neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, special educators, physical
and occupational therapists, speech pathologists, assistive
technologists, as well as artists, writers, musicians - this
is such a unique place to work and to help people because
there are so many specialties and programs that are offered.
And everything has to be integrated, like an orchestra, or
maybe a big jazz band. We treat the person, help them become
whole, and help them redefine their roles in life.
I have three grown daughters. One is a special educator, one
is a dental assistant and another became a nurse. I am proud
of all of them, but I am especially happy that all of the hard
work I have done in my career as a nurse helped me pass the
love of nursing onto one of my daughters.
Northeast Center is a wonderful and interesting place to work.
We have a lot of nurses in our programs and the Center is very
supportive of our nurses. We have a full-time education
department and we are always encouraged to participate in
continuing education. Through that support I was able to
attend an education program on wound care and I received my
certification as a wound care specialist (WCC). Recently I
attended a long series of training classes and became a
Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) from the American
Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists.
I love being a nurse and I love working here.
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