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Our People

HCA Healthcare Shares Professional Development Insights from Two Nurses

September 17, 2019

How does HCA Healthcare help with professional development? We asked two nurses.

We asked two nurses to share their learnings they have gathered over the years and the role professional development played in building their career.

Marley Thomas, BSN, RN, CCRN, and Ivette Littlejohn, RN, admirably represent their chosen field of nursing. Marley, a 2016 graduate of South Dakota State University, is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colo. Puerto Rico native Ivette, also an RN, works in a medical surgical unit at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Fla. Like other nurses, both are passionate about what they do and are fully committed to patient care. For that reason, they’ve made a point of continuing their education–with an assist from HCA Healthcare.

Other nurses are doing the same. In 2018, more than 2,600 HCA Healthcare RNs obtained national certification in a specialty through the organization’s voucher program. That same year, employees received a collective $31.8 million in tuition reimbursement. And beginning this year, eligible employees receive a new monthly benefit to help them pay down student loan debt. Those numbers support the organization’s commitment to being a “learning health system,” where colleagues are encouraged to continuously enhance their professional talents.

Marley Thomas, BSN, RN, CCRN, Rose Medical Center, Denver, Colo.

Marley Thomas, BSN, RN, CCRN, Rose Medical Center, Denver, Colo.

Why is nursing so important to you?
MARLEY: My mom was a nurse anesthetist, and she inspired me to go into nursing. The thing I love about critical care nursing is that medicine is always evolving, and I learn something new every day. I love that I have a lot of autonomy, but I also work with such an amazing team. The most rewarding part about my job is I get to take care of really sick people, and sometimes I’m lucky enough to witness them make a full recovery.

IVETTE: There was never another career I was interested in. I had a few setbacks along the way, but I never gave up. Eight years ago, my son passed away from brain cancer. Being in the medical field helped me cope. I have a soft spot for cancer patients, and I can relate to the family’s pain. My experience drove me to want to be a nurse even more to help others. I enjoy being there for the patients as well as for their families and getting to know them. One way I find professional development opportunities is to learn from other nurses and doctors especially when it’s about difficult topics. I strive to keep patients up to date with their plan of care and explain what’s happening to them.

Ivette Littlejohn, RN, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Fla.

Ivette Littlejohn, RN, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Fla.

How has professional development with HCA Healthcare helped you reach your goals in your career?
MARLEY: Once I graduated, I applied for HCA Healthcare’s StaRN program for new grads—where everybody is a new nurse, so there’s no judgment. We went over the IV pumps and tubing we use, skills like IV and Foley [catheter] insertion. And for the nurses going into an ICU, we had an extra week of education about ventilators, medications, etc. One of my favorite HCA Healthcare benefits is they pay $150 toward my student loans every month. Another super cool benefit is tuition assistance. Some anesthesia schools want you to re-take certain classes, like math and chemistry, before you apply. So I had to take a chemistry class, and HCA Healthcare paid for all of it. I’m so grateful they do these things for their employees.