Learn About Nursing Careers at RIC

Welcome to RIC Nursing from Laura Ferrio
Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nurse Executive, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Like many nursing students looking toward their senior year, I took a summer job as a nurse extern at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), hoping to gain practical experience and hone my clinical skills. That was 1985, and I'm still here as Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive. I guess you could say it's been a very long summer.

Upon graduation, I chose RIC for my first job as a staff nurse for two primary reasons: first, I was 'brainwashed' by my college's faculty that the quality standards of care in my first job would shape the kind of nurse I would become, so the higher the standard, the better the nurse I would be; second, while I'm not someone who can tell you that 'I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was little girl,' like most people who choose to become nurses, I wanted to make a difference in peoples' lives. Rehabilitation nursing at RIC gave me both, and a lot more.

As a rehabilitation nurse, I quickly learned that making a difference was not the only thing that was important to me. Relationships were important, too: the physician-nurse relationship; the nurse-patient relationship; even the body-spirit relationship Working on a patient's care team alongside physicians and therapists gave me the opportunity to not only participate in the healing of both body and soul, but also to help patients and their families look beyond a disability to the promise of life ahead. I am still amazed at the resilience of the human spirit, and how hard people fight to be independent and move beyond physical limitations, even when faced with tremendous obstacles. I did not learn this in nursing school.

RIC's staff is its greatest asset, so the organization is committed to providing an environment that encourages and supports us in pursuing education and taking on new roles and responsibilities. My career path has taken me from expert clinician to educator to manager to executive.

I had no aspirations of someday becoming the Chief Nurse Executive, it just happened over time. But today I take great pride in carrying the torch by providing an environment that supports nurses in decision making, empowers autonomy in clinical practice, and mentoring and developing our nurses with the hope that they may also have long, rewarding careers at RIC. They are the finest nursing staff in the world, and it is my privilege to work with them every day.

The rewards of hospital administration pale in comparison to the rewards I received every day as a practicing staff nurse. But in my current role, I am able to touch more lives through the healing hands of many nurses, and that makes a very big difference!

In closing, I encourage you to learn about the different nursing roles at RIC and the current nursing career opportunities at the Institute. If you have specific questions about this information, please contact RIC's nurse recruitment specialist at 312-238-6294.

Laura Ferrio, MBA, MSN, RN, CRRN
Vice President, Patient Care Services & Chief Nurse Executive

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