WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Kathleen Steiger’s initial career path took her to nursing. She’s still involved in daily patient care, but her new responsibilities are rooted in management, education, research and teaching.
Steiger is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner who works for Health Quest’s Putnam Hospital Center as the Manager of Critical Care and Inpatient Dialysis as well as the Coordinator of Diabetes Education. She also teaches at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, helping to train the next generation of nurses.
Additionally, Steiger is a student herself, and expects to receive a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) from Vanderbilt University later this year. She has worked at Putnam Hospital Center since 2001 and enjoys working with and educating staff and patients there.
“I still have a lot of interaction with patients,’’ Steiger said. “I try to visit them all on a daily basis in the Intensive Care Unit and the Progressive Care/Telemetry Unit. I want to make sure that the patients are happy with their stay and understand what’s happening, and also work with the nurses to take excellent care of them.”
As the Certified Diabetes Educator, Steiger provides patients with the tools they need to lead a self-sufficient life. “Well-educated patients can take care of themselves,’’ she said. “We give them the tools. It could be diet and exercise, medication or testing blood glucose on a routine basis. We’ll teach them how to take their medication safely and train them on how to cope with a disease that will be there for the rest of their life, without letting it take over their life.”
Steiger has obtained two nursing masters degrees, in administration and education. “I thought adding an education degree would be a good way to add a different dimension,’’ she said. “When I got the second masters in nursing administration that was a nice segue into a nurse manager role.”
She is also certified as a CCRN (Critical Care RN) and PCCN (Progressive Care Certified Nurse). Her range of skills allows Steiger to take a hands-on approach in many positions within the hospital.
“I love the interaction with nurses, meeting new patients and troubleshooting problems. It’s a very dynamic job. There’s a lot of multitasking. I like the diversity within the job.”
And while her career has taken her down a new path, she still utilizes the skills she learned when she was starting out.
“I do miss those days when I was a bedside nurse,’’ she said. “When I’m helping the staff, I’m able to do some of the tasks I started doing. I’m never too far away from it. I’m very much a hands-on person.”