Member Spotlight: Kristie A. Hertel, MSN, CCRN, ACNP-BC, FCCM

By Amy Kuyken posted 05-30-2023 10:30


Kristie A. Hertel, MSN, CCRN, ACNP-BC, FCCM, is an advanced practice provider at Eastern Carolina University Health Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina, USA. She joined the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) in 2007 and currently serves as the vice-chair of the Fundamental Critical Care Support Program Committee and chair of the Nursing Section. You can find Mrs. Hertel reading and traveling when she is not busy with critical care. Read more about her love for critical care.

How did you get into critical care?

My nursing career began as a bedside nurse on a medical/surgical [AK1] [EE2] ward. After a year, I wanted to move closer to home. The institution in my hometown had a trauma/surgical intensive care unit opening with cross-training to the emergency department, which is the part that interested me. I took the position but never completed the cross-training because that part of the position was rescinded. I fell in love with caring for critically injured patients and eventually obtained my acute care nurse practitioner certification so I could continue to serve this population.

What advice do you have for those starting their critical care careers?

Continue learning daily. Through literature and clinical experience, there is always something new to tuck into your knowledge bank. Other disciplines and subspecialties are great avenues to broaden your knowledge base.

What is your greatest professional achievement?

Becoming a fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine and receiving my doctor of nursing practice degree in May 2023.

Why do you love being in critical care?

Caring for critically ill and injured patients has been my passion because I love the puzzle. Each patient is different, and using my knowledge to determine the diagnosis, followed by implementation of the appropriate plan of care for that specific patient, is rewarding for me. This patient population is complex and requires critical thinking and diverse knowledge to provide optimal care.

What do you see as the most challenging issue facing critical care?

As a nurse, I would say that the shortage of bedside nurses and the increased efflux of nurses into travel positions is critical care's greatest challenge. The bedside nurse is the first line for assessing critically ill patients, and without their continuous observations, the medical team cannot respond promptly. Bedside nurses are leaving the field at an alarming rate, and we need to rejuvenate the pride of being a bedside nurse.

What do you love about SCCM membership?

What I love about SCCM membership is the ability to network with multiple critical care disciplines within the same organization. This provides a well-rounded perspective on research and implementation of optimal patient care.

Connect with @Kristie Hertel on SCCM Connect!