Linda Lewicki, RN, SJC ’74 has had a diverse nursing career. Lewicki, currently senior nurse researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, previously worked as clinician, educator, administrator and researcher. Because of her outstanding professional experience, she was recently awarded a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cleveland Clinic Ziolony Nursing Institute. As Lewicki celebrates her 40th anniversary of graduation from St. John College this year, we asked her to reflect on her inspiring career.
How did you get into the nursing profession?
As a high school student, I enjoyed the sciences and knew I wanted to work with people. The school nurse introduced me to the Future Nurses of America club. The club activities and volunteer work as a candy striper confirmed nursing was the profession I wanted to pursue.
What did you learn at St. John College that has helped you in your career?
The blend of sciences and humanities of the course work reinforced that nursing was both a science and an art. You learned not to care for an illness or disease, but rather an individual or community.
Did you ever imagine that you would be doing this kind of work?
I knew that being a nurse would afford many opportunities. I have been a clinician, functioning as a bedside nurse and a clinical nurse specialist; an educator, serving as an assistant professor at a College of Nursing; a nursing administrator; and have conducted research and assisted others in their research. These activities have led to presentations and publications, including international venues. Back in 1974, my only thought was passing state boards and my first clinical appointment.
What is the best part of your career?
Nursing is a very satisfying career. It is very hard work, but no matter the role taken on when the task is completed, there is a great deal of satisfaction. Whether it involves working with a patient to learn a new skill to manage their illness, or with a student to gain knowledge to become an effective problem solver, or creating/supporting an environment/culture to allow nurses to express their full professional role or conducting a research study to build new knowledge or confirm existing practice, there is always a sense of accomplishment.
What is your typical day like?
As a Senior Nurse Researcher working at the Institutional Review Board (IRB), I serve as one of the vice-chairs on the IRB, conduct reviews of submitted human subject research studies and conduct numerous educational workshops and presentations on human subject research protections. These activities center on ensuring the risks of research to a research participant are minimized. Participants are monitored to ensure their safety, privacy and confidentiality of their information. Selection for participation is voluntary and equitable, and proper consent is obtained.