Interview with Melissa Mitchell, MSN, RN, CMSRN
Director of Education
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
To say Melissa Mitchell is a driven, goal-oriented person is an understatement. Throughout her nursing career, her eye has been on the prize ahead. From a longtime LVN to an associate degree in nursing to her BSN and MSN-education degrees, one of the secrets to her success has been education. We asked Melissa to tell us about her journey to success and how Methodist Health System helped her discover more about herself than she even thought was possible.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be a nurse?
A: When I was a child, my grandfather died of cancer. That made a big impact on my life, and I realized then that I wanted to be a nurse and help others. That desire to help has led me to my current position in education.
Q: How did Methodist help you advance your career?
A: For many years, I was an LVN. I realized that if I wanted to truly help others the way I envisioned, I would have to move up in the nursing ranks. One of my many mentors was the director of education at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He believed in me and inspired me to continue my nursing education through programs offered by Methodist. I am a single parent, so I was only able to achieve this through God’s help and the support I received from my co-workers, my managers, and the entire Methodist family. I am thankful that Methodist’s leadership encourages and helps employees advance in their careers.
Q: Tell me about some of the educational programs that Methodist offered.
A: It is called the El Centro College Associate Degree Nursing Program at Methodist Health System (ECC MHS). The program was fantastic because it allowed me to get my RN with the support of two organizations — Methodist and El Centro. From the Methodist Dallas campus, I was able to attend classes via Skype from a classroom as well as complete my clinicals on the Dallas campus, and in the skills lab. By agreeing to stay at Methodist for two-and-a-half years, the organization paid for my tuition and books. In addition, I was able to take advantage of a 12-week nursing resident program and participate in another year of mentoring after I obtained my RN. The tuition reimbursement benefits also extended to my BSN and MSN degrees.
Q: Were there programs to help you develop as a leader?
A: Yes. They are offered under the Organizational Effectiveness Training and Development umbrella. Individual programs include the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and effective communications classes. In addition, MHS reimburses for RN certification courses and exams which allow nurses to obtain national certifications in a number of specialties.
Q: What did you learn in the ELP program?
A: A lot. I learned how to:
- Identify problems through process improvements
- Research challenges
- Step out of my comfort zone, develop trust, and work together as a team
- Create and present solutions.
I learned that you cannot become complacent. You have to learn from your mistakes and continue to evaluate and tweak solutions to achieve even greater success. The ELP helped me assimilate everything I learned over the years, helping me to dream and develop confidence so I could reach my career goals. I knew I was passionate about nursing, but I did not know that my end would be a director.
Q: What are the secrets to your nursing success?
A: I recently spoke to the 21st graduation class from the ECC MHS. I told them the secrets to nursing success are really quite simple. Imagine your nursing career as a journey on a never-ending road with ups and downs, curves, and challenges, but through it all you have to remain committed to the L3.
- Love: Love yourself and love helping others.
- Learn: Make a commitment to lifelong learning. Continue to grow and challenge yourself.
- Laugh: Laugh and enjoy what you do wherever the road takes you.
Q: Why has Methodist turned out to be the perfect fit for you and your career?
A: That’s easy — three reasons:
- Methodist is a faith-based organization.
- Methodist truly cares about their employees. They listen to their ideas, implement them when they can, and encourage ongoing evaluation because they are passionate about continual improvement.
- Finally, they celebrate employees and encourage them to be successful through efforts such as Spirit newsletter, G.R.E.A.T. awards, and more. I love to laugh, so I love to celebrate.
If you’ve been searching for a partner to help you realize your career dreams, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org .
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