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Graduate Profile: Angie Overton

June 2012

Last year, Angela Overton was inadvertently omitted from our listing of "Great Iowa Nurses," having received that honor in 2010. We are highlighting her achievements in this edition's graduate profile.

Since 2007, Angie Overton's title at Genesis West has been Stroke Coordinator, but she has taken on so many more reponsibilities as a way of promoting stroke awareness in the Quad Cities and beyond.

She was the first Neuro Certified staff nurse at Genesis; Genesis Medical Center earned our region's first Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center designation. Angie views her role as a guide: she oversees patients' charts, making sure their care is adhering to guidelines, compliant with Joint Commission standards, and accurately documenting performance improvement. She interacts with patients and their families as well as hospital staff and doctors (including primary care physicians), to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care. Since earning her advanced degree and its accompanying skills, she has noticed an increase in the amount of respect that doctors accord her and her interventions.

Angie's role also takes her beyond the hospital walls: she is Secretary of the Iowa Stroke Task Force, and Vice President of the Iowa Stroke Coordinators' Consortium. The latter includes representatives from 12 institutions and provides a forum for discussion of shared visions, problems and challenges at their quarterly meetings. For last January's International Stroke Conference, Angie presented a poster presentation on Community Education. As a member of the Consortium, she has assisted with the development of a Speak out for Stroke (SOS) Program, which will be a "project focusing on what Iowans' understanding is regarding signs and symptoms, risk factors, and what should be done if you witness someone having a stroke." 

She has been actively promoting stroke awareness throughout our community, including television appearances on the local NBC show, "Paula Sands Live" and as a Mediacom Newsleader. Last month, she was featured in a Genesis advertisement in local newspapers explaining stroke warning signs. She has reached out to educate groups at the Center for Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI) and retired veterans at the Arsenal, among others. In partnership with the Quad Cities Triathlon, Angie has presented yearly stroke awareness talks for participants. (She volunteers at the medical tents for both the Triathlon and the Bix run.)

One of the most helpful classes in the SAU MSN in Administration program, she feels, was the human resources class that emphasized "you are not alone." Through utilizing this process of getting the right people at the table for a given project, she was able to develop a form online for stroke education. She also developed an in-house stroke packet for staff. The process of completing such a project, she asserts, develops organizational skills.

Angie's advice to current MSN students struggling to balance the demands of work and school is to give oneself permission to allow some free time. This could be as simple as lunch with friends; this provides a fresh perspective when getting back to studies. She counsels that the condition of going to school is temporary, but the benefits are long-lasting. She believes in the quote "life is a journey, not the destination."

Angie has learned from each step along her own life path: early on, she was a waitress where she developed excellent people skills that have carried over to her professional interactions. She first earned an Associate Degree in Nursing, then completed her BSN degree through classes at the University of Phoenix. She received her MSN at SAU in 2009. She characterizes the ADN as "mashed potatoes"; the theory she learned in BSN degree as the "gravy on top"; her MSN in Administration degree integrated all as the "meat," and a doctorate degree as dessert. She is looking forward to selecting a program where she can earn that dessert!

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