Trauma Program Performance Improvement Coordinator
Greenville Health System
Greenville, South Carolina
Ashley Metcalf thought she knew exactly what she wanted to do when she graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the University of South Carolina in 2005 – follow her mother’s footsteps in working in high-risk obstetrics.
But upon graduating and finding no jobs available in her desired field, she decided on a whim to apply for a job at Mission Hospital System in Asheville, NC, offering a one-year orientation program to new graduates.
The only caveat: it was in the Emergency Department.
While she had never considered working in the ED previously, Metcalf took the position with the intention of moving to labor and delivery once the year was up. But, between the fast pace of the ED and the daily use of her critical thinking skills, Metcalf fell in love with emergency medicine.
After earning her Master of Science in Nursing degree – with an emphasis on Leadership – from Western Governors University in 2011, Metcalf set her sights on certification. While still working at the bedside in the ED, Metcalf was encouraged by her mentors to study for and earn her Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN®) credential.
One of her mentors, Shari Rybak RN, MSN, MBA, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, served as Metcalf’s preceptor at Mission Hospital. Rybak said that from the beginning, Metcalf’s progressive, out-of-the-box thinking, and impressive self-motivation made her stand out amongst the crowd of new graduates.
“Ashley challenged the baseline knowledge of many preceptors assigned to work with her – it was a delightful challenge to help her grow through encouraging certification and to help harness her desire to become a content expert within the field,” she said.
According to Metcalf, it was the encouragement from mentors like Rybak that ultimately helped guide her into shifting focus from working at the bedside to educating others, whether in the classroom at the University of South Carolina Upstate or as an instructor for Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses through the Society of Trauma Nurses.
In her current position as the Trauma Program Performance Improvement Coordinator for Greenville Memorial Hospital, Metcalf is tasked with creating and reviewing reports to ensure quality measures are in place across all hospital departments. And although she may no longer be working directly with patients, Metcalf keeps her skills sharp.
In fact, she was one of the first nurses to earn the Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) credential during its beta-testing phase in 2015.
Board of Directors Chairperson Lorie Ledford reflected, “Nursing Leaders who are certified themselves, set the example that specialty certification is a valuable and valued professional milestone.” Indeed, it is!