Nursing Teacher Is a Hands-On Expert Aurora U. Professor Keeps Her Skills Sharp by Working in ER

Article excerpt

Byline: Denise Perry Donavin

Mary Fecht Gramley of Kaneville is a nurse of diverse experience. Her nursing career stretches from the emergency room to the university classroom, from published author to Army captain.

She is a professor at Aurora University, with doctorates in nursing and nursing administration/education, a bachelor's degree in nursing, and credentials as a registered nurse and licensed practical nurse. She teaches pharmacology, fundamentals of nursing and surgical nursing.

At hospitals throughout the area, she teaches emergency, pediatric, school and trauma nursing courses. As a reservist from 1977 to 1981 she taught CPR to all ranks, foot soldiers to generals, and worked in the intensive care unit of an army hospital.

Gramley practices what she teaches by working weekends in Delnor-Community Hospital's emergency room. Trauma is her specialty. Since 1987, Gramley has been a registry staff nurse at Delnor-Community's emergency department.

"If I am teaching someone how to administer a med (medication) or start an IV I would not have much credibility if I do not keep in practice," she said.

"It's a challenge. I see all age groups of people with anything from a broken toe to cardiac resuscitation. You never know what type of care you are going to render on any shift."

Unlike "ER," she isn't running every second. On some shifts things are manageable, and some days everything seems out of control. But it isn't.

"I especially like the camaraderie and teamwork of the emergency room. You work with a dedicated group of nurses and physicians building a camaraderie you do not have in other specialties," Gramley said.

"Nursing is not glamorous," said Gramley, "but it is satisfying. You go home after a shift totally exhausted. Yet you feel so rewarded that you have been able to give to someone. The rewards in nursing are not monetary; but there is a major satisfaction that you can make a difference."

Along with teaching and hospital work, Gramley writes about the management of trauma care and emergency department operations for professional publications. …