Nurses Week Spotlight: Tina Hilmas

May 6, 2017    |   By: Alex Christgen, BS, CPPS, CPHQ

The Center for Patient Safety is proud of our diverse team and is especially proud of our nurse and Assistant Director, Tina Hilmas, RN, BSN, CPPS. Tina has been with the Center for almost 3 years and is a valuable resource to all of our participating organizations. We recently sat down with Tina and asked her a few questions…

Q: What first interested you in healthcare?
I’ve battled asthma all my life and originally wanted to be a pulmonary specialist, then got sidetracked and wanted to go into geology and archaeology.  Because of my asthma, that wasn’t feasible, so I came back to healthcare. I liked the personal touch of nursing.  Neonatal ICU nursing was my first love! As I became involved with home care, it became an area of importance. Patients are being discharged home in more acute conditions than before and also because our nation wants us to age at home.  So healthcare provided in the home is vitally important.

Q: Why is patient safety important to you?
It has always been important to me. Working with premature infants, medication dosing is so important.  An error 0.1 mg can have a catastrophic effect on these infants.  So safety was always a priority in everything we did as they were such a vulnerable group. In home care it became important. Home care safety is a high priority to help prevent falls, medication education, and lifestyle changes to improve health.

Q: What do you miss most about working on the front lines (or in a care setting)?
The interaction with the family and the comradery.  I also miss the joy when a baby improved or you told the family when they were going to be able to take their baby home.  In home care, I always enjoyed visiting the patients and spending time with them.  Many of our elderly are homebound and don’t have much social interaction.  It was always fun and rewarding to be able to spend time with them and brighten their day a bit.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at the Center for Patient Safety?
I love being able to work across the continuum of care!  I love helping people, so I’m helping them just in a different way.  I love hearing what their challenges are and trying to find creative ways to handle those challenges to help them improve patient care. It’s very rewarding!  Plus I get to play with data and I love data and numbers!

Q: Based on your experience in the healthcare provider setting, and your experience at the Center, what is your message to other Nurses or other Healthcare Professionals?
My message to other nurses from being an active nurse and my experience at the Center is to keep your mind open.  Be accepting and understanding of all your patients backgrounds, their culture. Don’t use ‘hospital language’ when teaching your patients, use words that can be easily understood.  Try to use your patients backgrounds as a foundation for teaching them and advocating for them.  Above all else, always be an advocate for your patient! It’s hard these days with staffing, but without nurses as a go-between for patients and the healthcare system, patients would be even more lost.

Q: What is your greatest achievement around patient safety (either in a previous job or current job)?
Oh gosh, I can’t think of one single achievement, it’s several little ones that I remember the most.  But if I keep it to just patient safety, I think when I received my certification in patient safety, I was pretty excited about that.  But it’s more than that I think.  It’s just being able to help others understand how patient safety is intertwined in everything we do in healthcare.

Q: What was the last book you read?
My New Year’s Resolution this year was to become more aware of what is going on in the world, especially as my youngest will be a senior in high school next year and my oldest two will be out of college.  So I’m currently reading “A World in Disarray” by Richard Haass.  It’s actually quite interesting!

Q: Who do you admire?
Mother Teresa, or now she is known of St. Teresa of Calcutta.  Her care for the poor, the dying, the sick, and the children was absolutely astounding and humbling.  She gave so much of herself to help those in need.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share – interesting tidbits about where you’ve lived, where you’ve worked, about spouse, children or grandchildren, etc?
I’m a very devoted Ohio State Buckeye! Having gone to The Ohio State University, and grown up in the Buckeye state, it’s in my blood! I’m very proud of my husband who is a professor at the Missouri University of Science & Technology and also my 3 daughters! My oldest is in grad school at The University of Michigan (Yep that school up north!), my middle daughter is graduating in a week from Mizzou in education and has a teaching job in Moberly MO, and my youngest is currently deciding what she would like to do as she will be a senior in high school next year.  She is leaning towards either a sports medicine doctor or a physical therapist.  She is extremely active in athletics and loves cross country and track.



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