Hi, my name is Chrissie Schaeffer. I am a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Richmond, Virginia. I began my nursing education later in life as a second career choice. Prior to attending nursing school, I worked in the field of organ donation and transplantation at United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). I worked as a compliance auditor and was responsible for conducting site surveys of liver and heart transplant programs in the United States.. My desire to work directly with patients in an acute care setting led me to pursue a career in nursing.
My educational journey began with an associate’s degree in nursing from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Directly after completing my initial nursing degree, I enrolled to obtain my baccalaureate degree in nursing from Virginia Commonwealth University.
My nursing career experiences includes the direct care of patients in Cardiology, Emergency Department, and Trauma. In my nursing career, I have served as a primary care nurse, a preceptor, a mentor and educator. As I gained more nursing experience, I realized that I had a strong passion for teaching, as well as, patient quality and safety. Again, I turned to expand my knowledge and enrolled in a master’s degree program with a focus as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. I obtained that degree in 2013 from Virginia Commonwealth University.
As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, the population that I worked with is very complex and required an integrative knowledge across many subject areas. The Emergency Department setting provides a variety of experience and exposure to many different patient populations such as Psychiatric, Trauma, Palliative, and Oncology; just to name a few. I would often say that I am a “jack of all trades but a master of none”. However, in retrospect, I realize that I was a master. I was a master of Emergency nursing in the modern world. I left my full time position in the the Emergency Department about a year ago to pursue another passion of mine in nursing education. I currently work in the Education and Professional Development department at VCU Health. I manage the critical care and progressive care orientation programs for the organization , as well as, our clinical simulation center. I continue to work clinically in the Emergency Department a few shifts a month.
It is part of my daily practice to review, analyze and summarize evidence so that I can be the expert resource for my team and my patients. I am passionate about evidence based practice and it’s translation to the bedside. This was the driving factor to obtain my DNP. I am currently a DNP student at Virginia Commonwealth University and hope to graduate in May 2020. My DNP project focus is the changing of a culture from maintaining certification to a culture of maintaining competency in the skill of providing CPR. Evidence shows that healthcare providers who do not perform CPR on a regular basis experience a decay in knowledge and psychomotor skills within as little as 3 months from initial education. I hope to provide an intervention based on the evidence that will improve the CPR skills and ultimately patient outcomes through frequent refresher CPR skill training.
Through my DNP coursework, I hope to expand my knowledge in evidence based practice and translation of that evidence to the bedside. I hope to provide my expertise in quality improvement projects in my organization and ultimately improve patient care.