Getting to know Michelle Wood

For nearly four decades, Michelle Wood has been coming alongside patients in their time of need, offering comfort, care and a friendly face. Her reputation among her peers is gleaming, with praise pouring in for her longtime service and dedication.

With a passion for research and a loyalty to the traditions of good nursing, Michelle is a pillar of the profession in our community. Her humble, approachable demeanor and rich thirst for more knowledge make her one of the empathetic, resourceful People of Parkview

Name: Michelle D. Wood, BSN, RN-BC

Official title: Clinical Nurse Specialist-Fellow

Describe your education and career journey:

  • BSN, Purdue University, 2011
  • Currently enrolled at IU, Adult/Gerontology CNS MSN (3 semesters left after this one is complete)
  • Cardiac/Vascular Board Certified, 2011                                                                   
  • Management/Leadership Certification from the University of Saint Francis, 2006
  • A.A.S. Degree in Nursing, Purdue University, 1984
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certification and ACLS Instructor
  • American Heart Association Healthcare Provider Certification

What inspired you to pursue this profession/specialty?

 I can’t recall a specific moment in my life when I was inspired to pursue nursing. From the time I was a young child, my goal was to be a nurse. It’s what keeps me inspired to stay in the profession. I believe there is no other profession where you can be so intimate with human beings. I value being able to provide comfort in times of distress, shed tears with families after a loss, share the joys of recovery, celebrate a new life, actively listen when tough decisions need to be made, and offer prayers if asked. All being carefully and thoughtfully carried out because of my prior education and experience. Nursing touches every aspect of my life; how I think, perform, and the decisions I make. It extends beyond my role at work and is integrated into my personal environment. It’s my belief I did not choose nursing, but nursing chose me.

You are part of the fellowship program. What can you tell us about that?

Parkview made a very wise decision, implementing a Clinical Nurse Specialist-Fellow (CNS-F) Program. Most of the CNS-Fshave worked at Parkview in other nursing roles and are already familiar with Parkview’s culture. Being able to go to school while also working in your role is not only beneficial as a student, it can also positively impact the area in which the fellow is working. As I get further into my education as a Clinical Nurse Specialist I find myself becoming more immersed in the role. Another very important aspect to the fellowship program is Parkview has wonderful Clinical Nurse Specialists to work with the fellows. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the CNS-F team led by Jan Powers.

What is a typical day like for you? What services are you providing?

Right now I am deeply involved in a chest tube dressing research project, so my day usually starts with seeing all the patients enrolled in the study. Throughout the day, I am assessing other potential patients to enroll in the study. The research project takes up a lot of my time but has been incredibly rewarding. I am doing what I love the most, which is spending quality time assessing, educating and offering emotional support to both the patients and families.

When I am not working on the research project, I am rounding in the Heart Institute, attending meetings and collaborating with the health care teams to promote evidence-based care for our patients. I also teach a 4-day Cardiac Rhythm Interpretation Class every other month. Although my office and primary home is in the Heart Institute, I travel to the community hospitals to support their cardiac needs as well.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your profession?

Time! There just isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do. The staff in the Heart Institute as well as myself have so many ideas but only so many hours in the day.

The most rewarding?

Whether it be through teaching, advocating, providing emotional support, or even giving a hug, the most rewarding part of my job is knowing I can and have made a difference in a patient, family or co-worker’s life.

What was a career-defining moment for you?

One of the most memorable times in my nursing career happened around seven years ago when I was writing in my prayer journal. I just wrote these simple words: “Please give me a sign that this is where I am supposed to be in my career.” I had no doubt that nursing was where I needed to be, but was questioning if this was what I was supposed to be doing in my role as a nurse. Three hours after I wrote those words a person from the Parkview Foundation presented me with my first guardian angel pin.

When I got off work that night, I opened my prayer journal back up and wrote, “Was this the sign I was asking for or was this just a coincidence?” Exactly one week later I was presented with the Martha Goodrich award. After that, I learned not to question my role as a cardiovascular nurse. Even after spending 30 years at the bedside followed by 5 years as the educator and now the Clinical Nurse Specialist-Fellow, I have stayed true to working with the cardiovascular patient population.

What is something you hope to accomplish in your career?

One of my passions in nursing is to bridge together both the physical and psychosocial needs of the cardiovascular patients. I would love to develop a clinic within the Parkview Heart Institute that provides the emotional and social support for our patients and families diagnosed with heart disease.

If you could tell people to read one book in their lifetime, which would it be?

“No Ordinary Heroes” by Demaree Inglese, MD. It’s about 8 doctors, 30 nurses, and 7,000 prisoners and their survival during Hurricane Katrina. There was just so much to take away from this book that could be applied in any catastrophic event.

What would we find on your bucket list and what do you plan to check off next?

If I had a bucket list, I would put traveling the world photographing and journaling my experience along the way. Photography is not only a hobby but provides the stress relief from my busy days. A few years ago I set out and photographed all 92 county courthouses in Indiana. I met the most wonderful people and learned about so many interesting facts about our state on my journey.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best professional advice I have received is be curious and take in all the facts before jumping to conclusions about any situation. So often our first response is to judge and make premature and often wrong conclusions. This is something I am consciously aware of.

Personally, the best advice I have ever received is from my parents, which is perseverance. I learned early on from the example my mom and dad set and through their encouraging words that you don’t give up when things get tough; you persevere and push through to the other side. Their advice has gotten me through some very challenging times both professionally and personally. 

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