Nicholas Wohlfarth ('11, BSN, Nursing) put the Franciscan value of service to work and benefited thousands. During his senior year, Nick established a volunteer pilot program at The Toledo Hospital (TTH) to enhance customer service in the Emergency Center (EC).
In his role as Supply Coordinator in the Respiratory Department at TTH, Nick was responsible for maintaining respiratory equipment, among many other duties. "I also took pride in making myself available to assist the respiratory care department team in any way possible and am very grateful for the team's experience and professionalism," he adds.
The Toledo Hospital has an established reputation for providing great customer service in all areas of its facility. The Emergency Center sees the highest number of patients in the northwest Ohio area and management is always looking for new and innovative ways to better care for patients.
Having an interest in the workings of an EC, Nick realized as he was pursuing his nursing degree that there was an opportunity to enhance the customer comfort care experience due to the fast pace and high acuity of unpredictable patients. When he was elected Vice President of the Student Nursing Association (SNA) he was in a position to make a difference as the SNA is "always trying to think of new ways to better the community."
Nick took his idea to better serve patients in the EC and sought the advice of Brian Biggie, his supervisor at TTH and Mallie Kozy, PhD, Chair of Lourdes' Undergraduate Nursing Studies, on how to make his vision a reality. With their guidance and the support of the SNA, Nick, TTH and Lourdes created a volunteer ER customer service pilot program.
"It was amazing to see so many of my fellow classmates pitch in and volunteer," adds Nick. "We had a strong team of 12 students from SNA who took time out of their busy schedules and the effort was definitely worth it."
The win-win situation allowed TTH to enhance patient satisfaction and the students were exposed to and learned about the inner operations of an emergency room. As Nick sees it, "Where else could we have an opportunity to help so many people in need and gain experience in this unique, specialized area of nursing? In return, we provided an open ear to patients and provided therapeutic communication to help make their visit to the EC as pleasurable as possible."
The program did not end when Nick graduated this past May. Nursing major and Vice President of SNA Mandy Beier is helping to further the program. Additionally, a local hospital learned of the success of this pilot project and is currently working with the College of Nursing to establish a similar program at their EC facility.
Crediting Lourdes and his professors including Anna Jaso, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Sue Stoner, Associate Coordinator in the Nursing Learning Lab, with instilling in him the importance of the Franciscan values of community, learning, reverence and service, he says "none of this would have been possible" had he attended another university.
The Lourdes Community recognized Nick for his work at the Awards Ceremony this past May naming him a co-recipient of the Student Volunteer of the Year Award. "It's a great honor and I look forward to continuing to work with Lourdes and the community to further advance this volunteer program," adds Nick.
After graduation, this talented and driven individual continues to pursue more achievements. He has enlisted as a Navy reserve officer for the Navy Nurse Corps to "serve my country and use the specializing training the Navy Reserve offers to better care for my patients and share that knowledge with fellow workers."
He has also passed his nursing boards and was recently promoted to RN in TTH's emergency room. In this capacity, he is "responsible for assessing, evaluating, implementing and planning patient-centered care for all of my assigned patients on the unit."
As far as long-term goals, Nick plans to enroll in Lourdes' MSN program, adding, "I would love to teach as well as become a flight nurse and obtain my Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and paramedic training."
Having chosen a "very rewarding career with endless opportunities," Nick is very grateful for the support and love his family provides. "I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for my family; they truly are the best." Next October, Nick and his fiancé and fellow BSN graduate Alicia Bonnell ('11) will marry. The two met in Chemistry class of all places and he says Lourdes "will always hold a special spot in our hearts."