National Nurses Week - Nursing and Supply Chain Skills, the Ideal Combination to Combat COVID-19

May 10, 2021

by Sydney Tracy

Kim jokes she had two career path interests when graduating high school: nursing or forestry. Both involved an attention to detail and determination to be successful. However, forestry did not allow for much human connection so nursing it was! 30 years later, Kim has a vast array of nursing experience from critical care, home care, acute care, clinician leadership, and now in resource and supply management as a Critical Products Manager. Becoming a Critical Products Manager allowed Kim to support both patients and her fellow caregivers by ensuring caregivers always had the right products, at the right time so they are able to do what they do best: provide the highest quality care. Little did she know, her thorough clinical background and her connection to resource and supply management would develop into a unique skill set perfect for supporting mitigation efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Having recent experience as a critical care leader, actively working PRN as an hospital nursing supervisor, and being knowledgeable in supply chain management, Kim was tapped to become a Resource Unit Leader (RESL) within the Ascension Indiana Incident Command Center. Throughout her three months in this role, Kim recalls the intense weight of responsibility and making the right decisions with little information. She said, “The biggest challenge was not having a comparison for the work that we were doing. It was like driving to a destination without a map but we learned quickly how to best support our frontline staff and how to create meaningful interactions to help move us forward”. 

Kim’s second biggest struggle was more personal, wanting badly to be on the frontlines but not having the capacity due to her role in the Incident Command Center. “I had to find the balance of being a practicing nurse while also being in a position with limited availability for replacements. I wanted to help in any way that I could and felt that my talents could be used in numerous areas–resource and supply management, nursing, and other clinical roles–but in reality, I was helping in the best way I could in Incident Command and was lucky to have a whole team of people supporting me and filling in at the hospital to make it possible”.

Despite the many challenges faced, Kim found pride in knowing that she was able to provide products and essential equipment for frontline workers so they never had to reuse items. Reflecting on the experience, Kim credits The Resource Group for their efforts during the pandemic saying: “In the 24 years that I have been an Ascension and Resource Group associate, it's never made me more proud to be a part of the organization than during the pandemic. It’s amazing to look back on a global disaster and see that The Resource Group not only managed to pull this off, but also to lay a foundation for future success.”