Ruth Carrico, PHD, DNP, APRN, CIC
Associate Professor, University of Louisville
President, Kentucky Nurses Association
Leadership style: Engaged and collaborative but with an expectation of accountability.
Mentors: Early in my practice, Juanita Clay was my mentor for development of my nursing skills and management. Dr. Julio Ramirez has been my mentor in areas involving clinical practice and research. Dr. Shirley Chater was my mentor in the area of nursing leadership.
Dream job as a child: I have always wanted to be a nurse.
Book on nightstand: I just finished “Origin” by Dan Brown (Anchor) and am currently reading “No Fail Meetings” by Michael Hyatt (Baker Books).
Hobbies: Anything involving international travel.
Medical News: Looking back on the past year, how has the healthcare system changed and what is the nurse community doing to adapt to the changing environment?
Ruth Carrico, PhD: Undoubtedly, the greatest change in our healthcare systems have revolved around the ability of patients to receive quality healthcare services. The need to address illness as well as the need to provide preventive care services remain, so how we can engage the population and enable them to access necessary services are critical.
Since nurses represent what the public views as the most trusted profession, our role has been focused on helping patients access, receive, understand and follow through with healthcare services across the lifespan.
MN: How has the nurse practice changed over your career? How would you like to see it continue to change?
RC: Nursing practice has changed dramatically over my career as best practice and evidence-based care has emerged and become the standard. I would love to see more nurses involved in nursing research to continue this trajectory.
MN: What is the biggest accomplishment for the nursing community over the past year?
RC: The focus for nursing during the past year has been “Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation.” The nursing community has embraced this on several levels. First, there has been an emphasis on general health and fitness among nurses, promoting a workplace that facilitates a healthy environment for the nurse and the patient, and the impact the healthy nurse has on the overall wellbeing of the patient, their families and community. The biggest accomplishment has been the successes that have occurred in advocating for each of these components.
MN: What is your top priority for the Kentucky Nurses Association in 2019?
RC: It is the expansion of our ability to be the voice for Kentucky’s nurses. This means growth in the membership and growth in the strength of our voice involving nursing practice.
MN: What can Kentucky do to create a better environment for nurses?
RC: This question is quite timely. Every person in our Commonwealth has been cared for by a nurse at some point in his or her life. Nurses across Kentucky, and across the nation, are voicing concerns regarding the safety of their work environments.
When providing care for patients, nurses encounter patients (as well as visitors and families) who become physically aggressive with them. This may be due to the health condition of the patient (e.g., substance abuse) or the emotional response of a visitor or family member. Some of these situations have led to physical injury of the nurse providing care.
We are working to understand and address this issue, and we plan on sharing our findings with the public and employers. Ensuring that nurses are safe to provide the care all Kentuckians need, or will need, is something Kentucky can do for us.