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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Nurse: Elyse Nimmo

Mercy Hospital Springfield

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Nurse Elyse Nimmo’s career has been spent providing and improving care for pediatric patients at Mercy Hospital Springfield. She began as a floor nurse, leading to numerous roles in various units before assuming her current position as fellowship specialist for the health system’s Women’s and Children’s Cluster. She additionally is on faculty at the Mercy Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training Center.

“My overall role in health care in the Ozarks is to provide care and education to new nurses coming into the health care field,” Nimmo says. “In doing so, I am able to help maintain nurses at the bedside, which is needed for our community. Without quality nurses, the people of the Ozarks would not have what they need for healthy lives.”

Nimmo provided direct patient care for many years before an inflection point changed her trajectory. In 2013, she encountered a patient who was a victim of human trafficking. The signs were not evident and could have been easily missed. The experience opened Nimmo’s eyes to the reality that nurse education on such topics is imperative.

“The question that drives me is what can we do to prevent this reality happening to a vulnerable child or adult in our community?” she says. “The experience with this patient has helped to shape my role of nursing in the Ozarks to provide care to victims, but also bring about awareness to prevent others from being victimized.”

To that end, Nimmo trains health care and nursing education professionals in how to spot human trafficking signs, and she’s a volunteer with Stand Against Trafficking. She also created the human trafficking protocol and resource manual for Mercy’s emergency department, which is available to all hospital departments.

Although most of her work revolves around nurse education now, she still picks up shifts on the floor when needed. She also appreciates the larger number of patients she can help through educating a variety of nurses and their future work.

“I help guide, mentor and encourage our new graduate nurses as well as those new to the Women’s and Children’s Cluster at Mercy,” she says. “By walking alongside these new nurses through the good times and also the very difficult times, I am able to help them move from novice to expert in their practices. This helps our local patients by keeping expertise at the bedside for decades to come.”

Nimmo includes herself in this lifelong education and is completing an emergency nurse pediatric course early next year. She also is purposeful to provide trauma-informed care for both patients and health care workers who have suffered immensely from the COVID-19 pandemic. Trauma shows up in the body, and Nimmo knows patients will often end up in her facilities showing physical symptoms related to mental and emotional toxic stress.

“We trained the entire Women’s and Children’s Cluster on trauma-informed care and have ongoing education set up to train new employees,” she says. “Trauma-informed care has given us the vehicle to meet patients where they are at in their health journey and to partner alongside them as they work through their unique, individual life experience.”

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