AHEC - North Carolina Area Health Education Centers Program
Touched by an AHEC: Stories from 100 Counties
Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins, RN, MS
CWOCN at Carolinas Medical CenterRN Refresher Program

Mecklenburg County | Charlotte AHEC

Suzanne Collins, RN, MS, CWOCN at Carolinas Medical Center – RN Refresher Program

“Re-entering nursing was not a luxury for me,” said Suzanne Collins, a member of Charlotte AHEC’s Nurse Refresher Class of 2004.  “Job loss and then divorce decimated our family’s finances, and there were three children to shepherd through college.

“Nursing had always been good to me.  My professional life began as a Navy nurse, serving at Balboa Hospital in San Diego.  I went to grad school and became certified as a clinical nurse specialist in adult psych/mental health and opened a successful private practice.  A wealth of variety and opportunity came through nursing practice.  My family moved to the South, where for several years I enjoyed life as a full-time mom.

“Emergencies happen.  The fastest way I could respond was to get back to work through the AHEC Nurse Refresher Program, a well-organized and structured re-entry into basic nursing practice.  I will never forget the support and respectful optimism provided by Nancy Fiedler, the staff at AHEC, and all whom I met as preceptors on my Medical Unit.

“Another opportunity.  I met a legendary wound, ostomy, and continence nurse while finishing my clinical rotation through refresher training, and rounding with her reminded me about how much I loved caring for surgical and trauma patients, and the ostomates that I had taught at the beginning of my career.  I put myself through Emory’s WOCN program, and have become certified as a wound, ostomy, and continence nurse.

“I practice at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte.  It is the busiest job I have ever had, and I love it.  It is substantial, scientific, artful, difficult, and deeply rewarding.  I work with a small, highly-experienced WOCN team, and we thrive on the respect and collegiality that permeates our relationship with the physicians, surgeons, nurses and techs who all work together to achieve excellent patient care.

“I thank God for nursing.  And for the Nurse Refresher Program at AHEC!”