A big part of Shannon Badertscher's job as manager of the Perianesthesia Nursing Units at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is taking care of other caretakers.

"When I was a bedside nurse, I always tried my best to take care of the patient and family," she says. "Now that I'm a manager, I apply the same techniques to my staff.

"I try to empower my teams, support them, make sure they have the tools they need and generally take care of them, so that they, in turn, can take the best care of our patients."

Tell us a little about yourself.

I've been a registered nurse at the medical center in some form or another for 25 years since graduating from Ohio State's College of Nursing.

Where are you from originally and what led you to Ohio State?

I grew up on a farm in a little town called Fremont in Northwest Ohio. I raised sheep and chickens but ultimately, they all became my pets! I came to Ohio State for college and stayed. I visited OSU often during my childhood because my dad graduated from here. In fact, he lettered on the lacrosse team in 1964-1966.

What drew you to the field?

My parents were both teachers and I thought I wanted to be one, too. But in my little town, jobs for high schoolers were somewhat limited, so one of my first jobs was as an aide in an extended care facility. I loved it and quickly became close to many of the residents and their families.

When I went to college, I went toward pre-med, but wanted more direct contact with the patients, so I ended up in nursing. I have never regretted this decision (although I wish I had figured it out before going through the pre-med math and organic chemistry).

Where do you work and what type of patients do you work with?

I am the nurse manager of the Perianesthesia Nursing Units, which includes the Pre and Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Surgical Prep and Recovery and Surgical Extended Care Unit. This encompasses about 130 staff members and three great assistant nurse managers.

My teams take care of you when you come for surgery, work collaboratively with anesthesia and the surgeons to best prepare you for surgery, take care of you immediately after surgery, send you home if you get to go home the same day, and takes care of you if you need a night or two in the hospital. We cover all aspects of your surgery except the actual operating room.

How have you built relationships with patients and other providers?

I am lucky to be part of two really great collaborative groups. I am part of an awesome operating room management team spanning Same Day Surgery, University Hospital and Ross Heart Hospital. We work collaboratively to make sure our patients get the best care in all aspects of their procedures.

I have also been invited to be a part of the Med-Surg manager group because of the Surgical Extended Recovery Unit (SERU) and have learned a lot from them over the past year. We have some wonderful leaders here at Ohio State and they are always willing to help answer questions or lend their expertise.

My unit teams all are great patient advocates and our focus is always on the patient. My staff always strive to do what's best for the patient and their family, giving expert care at every stop and make the surgical experience the best it can be. We work closely with the surgical and anesthesia teams to provide the best outcomes for our patients. We focus, at all stages of the perioperative process, to best prepare and educate the patient and their families for self-care once they are discharged.

It's amazing to see patients go home the same day, just hours after a surgery. When I was a new nurse, they would have been admitted for days. But surgery can be daunting to the patient and their family.

How can others apply your winning skills or strategies?

I have an open-door policy. My staff know they can come to me and I will always try to listen to them. I may not always have an immediate answer for them, but I always try to find it if I don't.

I actively try to keep a positive attitude and remain approachable to staff. I want them to know they can bring anything to me and even though I may not be able to solve everything, I will always listen to them. My office is a safe haven to speak your mind.

What's the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is trying to find work-life balance and practice my own self-care, but I am getting better with this. It's something I know to do, tell my family and staff to do, but it's not something I routinely do.

We're told you exemplify one of the medical center's new values, Sincerity. How do you think that applies to you?

I am very truthful and engaged in my interactions with all of my team, patients and family. I always try to honestly answer their questions and be transparent with my team. I want to provide the best possible work environment for my teams and support them in their work and aspirations.

What else should we know about you?

I'm married and have three wonderful, but very energetic boys. (Also two dogs, two cats, two geckos and most recently, a baby rat snake we found in our garage.)

I played trumpet, viola and piano and was in the basketball and spring bands when I was a student at Ohio State.

My boys are in lots of sports and I am a big cheerleader for them. I am a "football, bowling, swimming and lacrosse" mom. My social life seems to revolve around this and the PTO.

We vacation by the ocean and love Maine for family vacations.

Thank you, Shannon, for Improving People's Lives!

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