Skip to main content.

Nurses Week: Celebrating Nurses and Their Commitment to Our Community [Podcast]

Posted May 09, 2022 by Tiffany Collins, BSN, RN

Listen to this episode of the Healthy Vitals Podcast.

Tiffany Collins discusses her journey and passion for nursing.

Featured Guest:

Tiffany Collins, BSN, RN, SCRN has been a nurse at Summa Health’s Akron Campus since 2008.  She completed her practicum on 4N, which was the Neuroscience stroke and trauma unit. From there, she went on to being a tech on that floor, and stayed as an RN. Prior to being on the stroke and trauma unit, she had no plans for the type of nurse she wanted to be, or the type of patients she wanted to treat. Tiffany says she “fell in love with the doctors and the staff and for that reason, I have stayed on my floor my entire nursing career. Having been on the unit so long I do get the opportunity to train a lot of newer nurses and watch them grow and develop in their nursing careers and hopefully they will learn something useful from me.” In her personal life, Tiffany has two small children and is very active in her community. She volunteers as a Girl Scout leader for her daughter's troop, and also for events with police and fire. Tiffany loves to sing, dance, hike, and be outdoors. She hopes to inspire generations to love nursing as she does, and to accept the challenges of what tomorrow may bring. 


Scott Webb: In honor of National Nurses Week 2022, we're celebrating nurses and their commitment to our community by speaking with registered nurse, Tiffany Collins, today. She's going to share what she loves most about being a nurse, working at Summa Health, and her best advice for the next generation of nurses.

This is Healthy Vitals, a podcast from Summa Health. I'm Scott Webb. Tiffany, it's so great to have you on. Can't wait to learn more about you. As we get rolling here, what or who inspired you to become a nurse?

Tiffany Collins: Well, thanks for having me. And I'm very happy to represent Summa. And how I got into nursing was my grandma was a nurse and she was an old West Virginia LPN nurse. And she would tell me stories when I was little about the doctor picking her up. And she did all kinds of things from delivering babies to help broken arms. And it just sounded really interesting to me. And she was my rock when I grew up, so I wanted to be just like her.

Scott Webb: That's so awesome and great to hear that story. And I don't know maybe it was either from her or someone else, maybe tell us like the best advice you've ever received, whether it was education or from a manager or fellow nurses or grandma. I'm sure that you've gotten some great advice over the years, and maybe you can share that with us.

Tiffany Collins: My best advice is to be interested in what you're doing. The more you are interested and can learn from your every day, learn from your doctors, the better nurse you're going to be, because it keeps your mind open to what can I do better? What can I do better for the patient? There are so many ways nurses can be involved. If you like papers, you can be a nurse and do papers. If you like the brain or trauma or stroke, like I do, you know, do that area so that your interest is intrigued. You want to do that every day. You want to go in and see, what am I going to see today?

Scott Webb: Yeah, I totally see what you mean. And I'm assuming that's kind of like your why. You know, why you come in, why you continue to do what you do is just the things you're going to see that day, the education you're going to receive that day, right?

Tiffany Collins: Yeah. Oh yeah. And I love having my little nursing students that I can say, "Oh, what can I see today? What can I pull that's really cool for them to look at today?"

Scott Webb: Yeah. Having only been a patient, of course, but in speaking with doctors and nurses, I find that I can just hear it in your voices that there's this, you know, sort of excitement. Every day is something new, new experiences, new people. And thinking about that and sort of through that lens, none of us expected COVID, I don't think, right?

Tiffany Collins: No, never.

Scott Webb: Yeah. And what we've all been through and especially all of you on the front lines, I'm sure you've sacrificed family time, friend time, you know, to just continue to provide the best care for everybody in the community. Maybe you can just share with us a little bit your personal story of trying to make it through COVID.

Tiffany Collins: Well, I think we did, as nurses, a lot of self-isolation. You know, we didn't really know what we were dealing with with COVID. And we knew that everybody was terrified of us because, you know, we worked in the hospital and we were around it every day. So knowing that, I tried to stay out, tried to stay out of, you know, family meetings like Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have two small kiddos at home, so I was trying to keep them safe. And, you know, if I went to work, I stripped down before I came in and saw the kids and just tried my best keep everybody safe. It was scary for all of us. We didn't know what we were dealing with, but I think we stuck through it and the kids just learned a different habit. You know, 'Mom can't come in and hug me right away. She has to go straight to the shower." We just made changes in our schedule, like we always do in nursing and we adapt to what we need to do. We made a commitment to our patients and we just kind of got to roll with the punches to know what's expected of us. We signed up for this job and we have to take care of our people, no matter how sick they are. That's our job.

Scott Webb: Yeah, and you do it so well. And it's sort of one of the strangest ironies, I'm sure, is that for most of your life and your career as a nurse, people like they thought of you and the doctors and everybody at hospitals and offices as sort of like the safe place, the safe space. Now, all of a sudden, it's like, "Oh, wait. You've been around other people. You've been around the sick people. I don't want to, you know, be near you." And I'm sure it was so difficult for your kids. They're like, "Wait, Why can't we hug mom? Why Does mom have to shower before she can hug us?" I mean, I'm sure and you probably as a team, as your units, because I'm sure many of the people you work with are also your friends, I'm sure you maybe had some things that you shared, some tips, ways that you just sort of learned to cope with all of this.

Tiffany Collins: We do a lot of group talking. What are we frustrated with with the day? You know, we had a lot of patients that they weren't doing well and we didn't have a lot of ICU room. So we saw patients kind of at their worst and families couldn't come in to see their family members at their worst and at them passing and it was hard. We had to talk a lot together and say, you know, "Man, I had an awful day and, you know, it was so hard to deal with," and that not your average bear sees that everyday. They don't understand that. You know, "What? The hospital doesn't have enough room for everybody in the ICU?" or "We don't have all the masks or oxygen that we need," and it was a lot to see. But we talked to everybody together and had like our little team meetings in the morning about what went well, what went bad, what we need to work on. They helped us connect with the patients and their families so that we could have them present so that they could have those connections. So they were a little bit more at ease for us too. You know, patients, families get upset. They can't be in the hospital and then they get frustrated with us because they can't be with their family member and we're all stressed.

Scott Webb: Absolutely. I know that there's this feeling that we're completely out of it. And I don't know that we are, and that would be a separate podcast, but it does feel a little bit like we're getting a little closer back to normal. And is that your sense around the hospital? Do you feel like things are just kind of a little bit more normal than they were over the last two and a half, three years?

Tiffany Collins: It's getting better. We don't have to wear the goggles on our face. We have just a regular surgical mask now. So I don't think most of us are wearing our N95s anymore, which is a little bit more comfortable for us as nurses. But I think we understand the horse a little bit better and that we know what to expect and we are a little bit more relaxed because the strain that's going around isn't as detrimental as the first one. We have that herd immunity a little bit. So I think that we're getting used to, and we know how to treat, we're good at putting on our gowns, getting off her gowns. There's not as much anxiety and treating these patients with us now because we've done it so long that we're ready. We're just having it.

Scott Webb: Absolutely. And I want to ask you about some of the programs you participate in at Summa, things that you enjoy, that you'd recommend to others. Maybe you can share them with us.

Tiffany Collins: We do a lot of the American Heart Walks. I want to say two years ago, right before COVID, we had a huge turnout for the Heart Walk. We did it right there at Akron Stadium. It was great. We had a huge picture of all of us, and it was just nice as a community and our hospital to show support. I'd love to see the turnout of everybody going there.

I do a lot of things with children's NICU that I am involved with and we did the NICU walks for that. My department in particular does a stroke walk or stroke collection that what we make for stroke patients that we collect every year. We make t-shirts to show community, and rally at the sports and try to get the troops all excited about our walks. So we try to do a lot of stuff for fundraising for our community.

Scott Webb: Well, it sounds like you do a lot of walks. So, it certainly, as a lot of these programs, things that you participate in, definitely keep you in good shape, right?

Tiffany Collins: Oh, yes. Especially walking on the floor.

Scott Webb: Yeah, absolutely. And we could do another podcast about the type of shoe wear and, you know, how many pairs of shoes do you go through in a year. I want to ask you as well, you know, I know from hosting these, that Summa is so very much community-oriented.

Tiffany Collins: Absolutely.

Scott Webb: Very good at reaching out to the community and really trying to bring the medicine to the people and whether it was vaccines or whatever it might be. But from you, someone who's there who works for Summa, what really sets it apart from other healthcare facilities.

Tiffany Collins: You know, availability. You see a lot of the advertisements now for Summa, the commercials. There's 24-hour nurse lines that you can call. We have emergency rooms opening in different areas. I live down more towards North Canton. So we go to the green ER, if we have something going on, But there's always somebody available and I can't speak enough with our doctors that we have, that we work on the floors, our IMS groups, our Summa Health Medical Groups. Like those doctors set us apart from any other hospital around their area. It's the nurse-doctor relationship, that they really count on our communication of what's going on with our patients. You know, and I just can't say that the other hospitals have that connectivity that we do, and our doctors are just great at listening to us and doing those kinds of things for us.

But my daughter has been in the hospital system for a long time. She was born with special needs and I can't say enough how much availability their programs are for insurance, with her PT and OT, and children's, like going to her different therapies that she does. And it's just awesome.

Scott Webb: Yeah, it really is awesome. That's a perfect word. And what's one thing you would tell your younger self, you know, or advice you would give to future nurses. Because I'm sure you've learned so much, not just in the last couple of years, but in your entire time in the system, or even with your own daughter. What would you tell your younger self if you ran into her? What would you like to tell future nurses?

Tiffany Collins: Find a place that you want to work, that you have room to grow. Yeah, sign on bonuses are great when you're first coming into work and be like, "Oh yeah, I'm going to make lots of money. They're going to give me, you know, a great sign on bonus, but are you going to want to work there in two years? What's your management look like? You know, who are the people around you going to look like? Can you depend on this group of people to watch your patients while you go to lunch? Like things like that, pay attention to the group around you. And I love my group around me. I actually am still working on my original floor that I precepted on. So I've been on my floor for a really long time and I can't say enough for my manager, Megan, and assistant manager, April, I just love them. They're my family. They're my rock away from home. And if you can find that on a floor or a place that you work, when they become your family, it speaks mountains over money.

Scott Webb: Mountains over money. I love that. That's perfect.

Tiffany Collins: I mean, it really speaks to me who I work for and it means more to me. We have great hospitals in this area, great hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, General, they're wonderful. But do they have the ability to grow like Summa has grown over the years? Can you do the different departments? Like our stroke care is evolving daily and getting bigger daily, our surgery departments. Like you just have so many more opportunities with Summa and that's important to take into consideration when you're developing your career. What can I do? What do I want to do in my future?

Scott Webb: Yeah, I think you're so right. And just in the three years or so that I've been hosting these for Summa, I've experienced and learned about all the growth. I mean, it's just amazing how much just Summa has changed and evolved for the better, for the patients, for the docs and nurses, for the community, everybody involved just in the last couple of years. It's been really fun to be a part of and learn about all this. And I was reading about you and this Daisy Award and I'm sure it's not something you do very often, but if you wouldn't mind telling us about it and maybe bragging a little bit, like what is this award and why did it mean so much to you?

Tiffany Collins: Sure. Well, a Daisy Award was originated by a family. Their son had been in the ICU and fell very sick and they were there for a long period of time. And they wanted to create this award to show appreciation for these nurses that go above and beyond that took care of their son. And it is a amazing honor. I can't even begin to tell you, like any nurse in the state can get this award. And I had the privilege of going to a Magnet Conference, that's an appreciation award for nurses and their facilities to show, you know, it's a great facility to work for, to meet this couple and actually got to sit down and have dinner with them and they tell you more about this award and what a great honor it is. And you are elected by your patient. Your patient writes down why they think you deserve this award. And this award goes through a panel and they read all of these elections for the hospital and it goes monthly of how they elect it. And they choose your pamphlet over everybody else's depending on what was said about you, And usually when you win this award, they'll have the person that makes that award or that nomination show up at your day and you get a very special hand-carved statue and flowers. And the head of our nursing department comes in greet you and takes your picture, but that person's usually there and you get to see them and how you've affected their life and it's so meaningful to me.

Scott Webb: Well, I know, certainly as we've talked about and learned from you today, nurses who are in for the long haul, they don't do it for the money, right? They definitely don't do it for awards, but it is nice to be recognized, I'm sure. Seeing, you know, smiles on faces, people going home, receiving recognition for your hard work and your dedication. It's just really been so fun to learn about you today and hear your advice for future nurses and so on. Tiffany, as we wrap up here, what's been one of your most rewarding moments as a Summa nurse?

Tiffany Collins: Well, I work in a trauma stroke unit. So my reward is I see patients that come back after they've been wounded or they repair themselves going to rehab after their stroke and they couldn't walk before and they're coming back walking or they didn't have functionality of their arm and now they can. I had a father walk his daughter down the aisle two months after he had his stroke and he came back and told me how wonderful it was. I gave him hope that he would walk his daughter down the aisle. So I get to see that every once in a while, those wonderful patients of mine that I've helped a little bit come back and tell me how much I helped them out and it just means the world to me.

Scott Webb: Well, this has been the best part of my day, Tiffany. Speaking with you, you've brought a smile to my face. So great to learn about you and hear some of your highlights and your time at Summa Thanks so much. You stay well.

Tiffany Collins: Thank you, You as well.

Scott Webb: National Nurses Week 2022 runs through May 12th. Celebrate with us by visiting

If nursing sounds like a career that interests you, explore our available positions by visiting

And if you found this podcast to be helpful and informative, please share it on your social channels and be sure to check out the full podcast library for additional topics of interest. This is Healthy Vitals, a podcast from Summa Health. I'm Scott Webb. Stay well, and we'll talk again next time.




Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.