As nurse retention specialist at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Lorie Helle recruits and retains new graduates and seasoned nurses. She determines the needs and wants of the nursing staff via focus groups within different units of the organization and presents material to administration and staff.
Since graduating from the OSF Saint Francis College of Nursing in 2004, Helle has been promoted from staff nurse to clinical educator to nurse retention specialist for the entire medical center. This is quite a feat, as it usually takes years of experience to be placed in an educator role, let alone that of nurse retention specialist.
Her earlier work as a wildlife firefighter in southern California and as a deputy sheriff and 911 dispatcher for Bureau, Putnam and Marshall counties trained her to be assertive and decisive, qualities which she now utilizes in the healthcare arena.
Helle joined the Professional Nursing Congress after graduation and became an informal leader in her unit. Always going above and beyond her duties, she developed educational posters which helped the staff understand various procedures. Her leadership and genuine care for both staff and patients were so great that, upon being promoted, Helle’s nurses wanted to switch departments in order to continue working under her.
In her first year at OSF, Helle became a nurse preceptor and mentor. She chaired the Recognition Committee in 2006-‘07 and was re-elected to another year of service in 2007-‘08. Within that first year, she led two projects which made dramatic changes to the nursing process: a systematic way for nurses in the Family Birthing Center to communicate with physicians, and collecting data on the orientation process in the Mother Baby Care Unit by developing a survey for newly graduated nurses.
Helle volunteers her time each summer to coach recreational softball in her hometown of Henry, where she is also vice president of the Henry-Senachwine School District #5. She is involved in the athletic boosters club and became an assistant group leader for the town’s 4-H program. Helle’s newest volunteer effort is mentoring troubled youth in a program called Lincoln’s Challenge, sponsored by the National Guard of Peoria.
Exemplifying dedication and leadership, Helle has received many awards from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. She was nominated for the DAISY award by one of her former patients and has received WOW—What Outstanding Work—awards on a regular basis. Lorie Helle is truly committed to her family, co-workers, the medical center and those with whom she volunteers. iBi