Bettina Shilling tries to make a personal connection with every patient she meets on the eighth floor of UC San Diego Medical Center with the orthopedic, neurology and trauma patients. After working there for more than six years, she can find common ground with just about anybody from teenagers (she has four children of her own) to travelers to the homeless.
“I kind of baby all of my patients and I love the nurturing part. I think one of the most important parts is to make a connection with the person in the bed in front of you,” Shilling said. “To me they are all special. I pride myself that I can connect with every patient.”
Shilling became a certified specialist in orthopedic nursing in 2010 and advanced to the third level of nursing this year after developing a manual that explains the equipment and procedures unique to orthopedic nursing.
“UC San Diego encourages you to take classes and advance in your career, which is something you don’t find at the other hospital systems,” Shilling said.
This was Shilling’s second career-her first was being a mom. After many years raising her children, she graduated from nursing school in 2005 and started at UC San Diego Health System the next year after moving her children from Alaska to San Diego. Each of her children moved here with two suitcases and have been enjoying the warm weather ever since.
Shilling plans to remain on the front lines, taking care of patients and she wants to continue to teach the latest advances to the nurses new to the orthopedic unit.
Shilling was happy that UC San Diego Health System was recognized by Magnet for maintaining a high standard of nursing care.
“One of the most important factors in earning this recognition is the encouragement we receive as nurses to continue our education,” Shilling said. “The environment here is very supportive both of our education and our day-to-day work. Each department works together to provide the best care to our patients.”