‘Like coming home’: Moffat Public Health nurse Olivia Scheele moving back to MRH as infection prevention director
When Olivia Scheele started her career at Memorial Regional Health as a labor and delivery nurse, she says she never considered moving off the floor into administration or leadership.
Now, Scheele, who has been Moffat County Public Health’s public health nurse since December, 2019, is moving back to the hospital where it all began for her, taking up the job of MRH’s director of infection prevention.
“The position is pretty awesome,” Scheele said Thursday. “It’s not direct patient care, traditional floor nursing, but it is a lot of protocol, policy procedure, reporting infections — if there are any from surgeries — hospital stays, reporting to the hospital board, and I’ll get to follow patients through surgery and their care at home and monitor for infection.”
Scheele said she’s particularly excited about the education and outreach element of her new position, which she’ll start on Monday. That’s the kind of thing she’s learned a lot about since taking the role with the county just a couple years ago.
“It’s so multi-faceted, and I’m super excited,” she said. “It’s kind of my forte, teaching other nurses and new nurses, helping patients follow post-op procedures to prevent infection at home. There’s so much to incorporate. I’ve done other communicable disease work, including COVID, for Public Health, so I’ll get to work with a lot of the same people at (Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment), just in a different capacity.”
For Scheele, it’s a professional opportunity of import, but a personal one as well.
“It feels like coming home,” she said. “I missed MRH. I think it’s a great hospital, and there’s a lot of great things they’re going to be doing. It feels good to be back where I started my nursing career.”
She’ll miss her soon-to-be former job, too, though.
“My passion with Public Health was again education, community outreach and getting people resources they needed,” Scheele said. “I was really the first public health nurse for the county, and Kari (Ladrow, the director of Public Health) and I were really that two-woman team. Then March, 2020 came around and since then it’s been pretty full-on COVID.”
Scheele said she’s tried to incorporate as much else outside of COVID-19 work into her position with the county, and she’s proud of a lot of what she’s been able to do as a part of her team.
Next is sitting for boards as a certified infection preventionist, for which she’s finished her preparation. Then she has plans to get reacquainted with the staff at MRH before starting in on some initiatives she has in mind.
“I’m really excited to be back with amazing nurses and providers and staff all together,” Scheele said.
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