Exceptional “empathy, humanity and love of nursing” have made Dale Griffin, LPN, outstanding in her field – and beloved by her patients and co-workers. She is the Scrubs Magazine “nurse of the week” in recognition for having created and implemented an innovative, in-house mentoring program for certified nursing assistants (CNAs).
Griffin overcame great hardships to put herself through nursing school at Reid State Technical College by day while working a full-time healthcare job in the evening. Each night, she’d only be able to spend an hour with her three children until she tucked them into bed before spreading her nursing books across the kitchen table for a sleepless night of studying.
Griffin’s sacrifice paid off when she graduated first in her class. The United States suffers from a severe nursing shortage that is expected to intensify as the population ages. “I recommend the nursing field to the younger generation because it is a profession that is always new and challenging,” said Griffin. “We need innovators and compassionate leaders to inspire the next generation of caregivers. Believing that you can make a difference in a person’s life and perhaps helping future caregivers realize their dreams is my definition of being successful.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, registered nursing is expected to remain the top-growing occupation through 2012.
As a staff developer at Andalusia Manor, a locally owned, 112-bed skilled nursing facility in Andalusia, Alabama, Griffin did her part to curb the nursing shortage. She created a successful mentor program that links the facility’s CNAs with their licensed practical nurse colleagues, who provide hands-on training and “sounding board” support. It has encouraged CNAs to develop leadership skills and consider careers in nursing.
Griffin was inspired by Oprah Winfrey, who touts the importance of mentors on her show. “I always had ‘rocks’ in my life – people I could depend on during difficult times. I promised those people who were there for me that someday I would mentor others. Now I have that opportunity,” Griffin said.