10 Questions with Brenda Schimmoller Ruth (’81), RN, BSN, CWON

Brenda Ruth

Year of graduation from Mount Carmel School of Nursing: 1981

Other degrees/certifications: I graduated from Franklin University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in December 1991. In 1995, I completed the Enterostomal Therapy Nursing Program at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York, and I was certified as a Wound Ostomy Nurse in June 2000. I was honored to have received awards over the years, including: Nationwide Columbus Children's Hospital Surgical Nurse of the Year, 1991; Cameo for Caring Nominee, 2006; Distinguished Alumni Award, Mount Carmel College of Nursing, 2007; and the Dr. Terry Davis Safety Award, Pressure Ulcer Reduction Team in December 2016. My most recent presentation was at the 4th International Tracheostomy symposium in February 2018, where I presented “Multidisciplinary team approach for prevention of post-operative pediatric tracheostomy-related pressure wounds” and was honored to receive first place in the Pediatric presentation group.

Professional highlights: I began my nursing career as a staff nurse here at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus (NCH) in the Surgical Infant ICU. I enjoyed the surgical care of neonates and children, and I became the nurse manager of the SICU. I worked in this role for about three years. After careful consideration, I determined that “management” was not for me. I missed the patient and family care and discovered that my passion for nursing revolved around the patient. I then took the position of the Wound and Ostomy Nurse, became certified and found my new love for nursing. As I ventured into this role, I have embraced a passion for the complexity of the care in this patient population. Patients with wounds and ostomies are usually very complex and provide us with a challenge. Working with multidisciplinary groups allows both learning from others and teaching our specialty to other groups. I am working with a top-notch team of Wound and Ostomy Nurses here at NCH, and it is an honor. My role has expanded from only patient/family care, to larger projects and committees both within the hospital and within the nursing/medical field.

One of my other focuses is on patient safety and preventing patient harm. I am one of the co-leaders of SPS (solution for patient safety) regarding prevention and reduction of pediatric pressure injury within all the pediatric hospitals in the United States. I also am a leader in pressure injury reduction at NCH.

Current hometown: Grove City, Ohio

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? My desire to be a nurse began when I was young. I felt that it was a life calling. Growing up, I was able to aspire to many people for whom I had great respect, who worked for Mount Carmel. First and foremost, my mom, Sharon Schimmoller, who gave her heart and soul to Mount Carmel students and faculty, to make life at the school a great place to live and learn. As I was growing up – and still today – I so admire and respect Kip Sexton (former faculty member), who was a fabulous teacher and nurse, and a great friend. I admire her academic excellence and compassion for others.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? “Call the Midwife.” I love this show!!

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? Living in the dorm with all my classmates brings back great memories. Studying with other classmates, doing the long form Care plans. Having a little time to get some sun on the Sun Deck on the 4th floor! I loved clinicals — the operating room with Norma Gurklis, the ICU’s and most importantly my rotation at Children’s with Kim Hively in the SICU where I began my career.

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your Kindle favorites)? “In a Dark, Dark Wood,” by Ruth Ware.

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Collaborate with other seasoned nurses working with you. Be a lifelong learner. Learn from others. You should learn something new everyday. Be your patient’s advocate; and you can’t do that if you don’t go in the room with the doctors and other disciplines. Make time to enjoy the things in life that make you happy.

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