To be a nurse at Mercy is to embrace the responsibility of patient care.
“Here at Mercy, we are people who are serving, people who are compassionate; we are always wanting to advance in order to do whatever we can to take care of our patients. We are here to help,” says Corin Allen, Director of Heart and Vascular Services at Mercy Hospital South.
Mercy, named one of the top five largest U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. This includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 900 physician practices, 45,000 co-workers and 2,400 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Serving the St. Louis community, Mercy has five local hospitals, employing a total of 5,195 nurses altogether.
As a faith-based organization, Mercy is rooted in its Mission of bringing to life the healing ministry of Jesus through care and service. There are five core values that guide Mercy nurses and the directions they take with their care every day – dignity, excellence, justice, service and stewardship.
A RICH HISTORY OF SERVING
Mercy’s mission and values began with the walking Sisters of Mercy who would seek out those in need and deliver care in the streets of Dublin, Ireland, serving the poor, the homeless and women and children regardless of their culture or background.
“We are proud to be a part of that heritage– it’s what really sets us apart from other health care systems,” said Marie Graham, Director of Medical-Surgical and Women’s Heath at Mercy Hospital South. “We really feel like it is up to us to carry on that ministry that the Sisters of Mercy started.”
With dignity as their core value, each nurse strives to treat each individual just as the walking Sisters did. “Dignity to us means respecting everyone,” said Graham.
The core value of dignity intertwines with another value that is on the top of the list – justice. Mercy nurses have a special focus on those who are economically poor, making sure each individual within the hospital and in the community has services available to them.
Thanks to technology, some of these extended services include the Mercy Virtual Care Center, or a “hospital without beds.” The virtual care allows clinicians to “see” patients wherever they are – whether it be in the Intensive Care Unit on a two-way camera or in the comfort of their own home via iPad.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
Mercy offers a variety of opportunities for nurses to continue their education and eventually move into leadership roles.
Some of these opportunities include:
•Tuition & Professional Development reimbursement programs
•Nursing loan forgiveness
•Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)
•Student loan refinancing discount
•Mercy scholarships and grants
•University partnerships providing discounted tuition, scholarships, and waived fees
Nurses Allen and Graham have taken advantage of these opportunities. Allen started at Mercy as a patient care tech and Graham began her Mercy career as an LPN. Both nurses have been able to move into leadership roles thanks to the opportunities that Mercy provides their staff.
“The opportunities are limitless,” said Graham. “Whether it be advanced practice or a higher level care in leadership, all of these options are available to any Mercy nurse.”
“I started as a patient care tech here, and over the years I have benefitted from the tuition reimbursement programs and recently started my master’s program,” said Allen. “I am very blessed to be a nurse here at Mercy.”
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Nursing leaders at Mercy embrace the decision-making process by involving every member of their team, recognizing that each individual plays an important role when it comes to caring for their patients. “Our professional, shared governance creates an atmosphere of autonomy around the practice of nursing. Nurses own our nursing care as they follow the Mercy nursing professional practice model. That allows them to create a therapeutic environment for our patients and use their expertise to deliver high quality care,” says Donna Frazier, Chief Nursing Officer at Mercy Hospital South.
Mercy’s leadership listens and involves their co-workers as well as each patient’s specific wishes. The first step in approach to care is discovering the patient’s wants and needs.
“My goal as a nurse may be different than the patient’s goal,” says Allen. “This goes back to the idea of dignity – we listen and respect what they want and how they want to get there.”