Meet Melissa Mills, RN, BSN, MHA – Director of Career Advancement at NurseDash
Nursing can take you in many directions. No one knows this better than Melissa Mills, the newest addition to NurseDash, working as the Director of Career Advancement. Melissa has had an incredible nursing journey that’s taken her to the bedside and beyond and recently landed her in this new role, helping the current and next generation of nurses advance in their nursing careers.
Learn more about her and her nursing journey and read her answers to our lighting round of questions below.
Melissa grew up seeing her grandparents in and out of hospitals. She knew from a young age that a healthcare career was right for her. She dreamed of working at the bedside but quickly changed her direction, which led her to want to help other nursing professionals find and succeed in nursing.
She’s been a nurse for 23 years and started her journey at a community college where she earned an associate’s Degree in Applied Science. She worked as a nurse aide throughout nursing school to gain experience and felt well-prepared upon graduation as an RN.
After working as a clinical nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Long-term care, Home Care and Hospice for more than a decade, she fell in love with leadership and helping other clinicians succeed. She then returned to nursing school to earn her Bachelor’s degree and graduated in 2012 with her BSN from a private nursing school.
Earning her BSN catapulted Melissa into director-level home care and case management roles. However, she still felt like something was missing and returned to school once again to obtain a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration so she could expand outside of nursing roles. This degree has allowed her to specialize in training, operations, and workforce development.
Lighting Round Questions
It’s always fun to chat with colleagues and ask them questions to find out what makes them tick. Here are a few questions we asked Melissa that will help you learn who she is as a person, as a nurse and her goals as the Director of Career Advancement with NurseDash.
What has been your most challenging clinical nursing job and why?
“I’ve held several challenging clinical roles, like working in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and at a hospice agency.” After careful consideration, Melissa chose her hospice job as the most challenging clinical role because she worked in a rural community which required her to travel to patients across 11 counties in the evening. “I was the on-call team leader, which meant that I triaged all care needs and split the visits between myself and one other nurse. This could keep us quite busy some nights. I learned how to prioritize care, manage complex pain and symptom management problems, and how to deliver care in home environments that spanned the economic spectrum.”
Why do you care so much about the nurse staffing shortage?
Melissa’s passion is evident when speaking with her about the nursing shortage. She said, “As a nurse, I know how challenging and dangerous it is not to have enough nurses to deliver quality care. It jeopardizes every nurse’s license and increases the risk of serious adverse events happening to patients. The nursing shortage also worries me as a consumer because my parents and in-laws are aging and require more care and services. I want them to receive the best care as they continue to age, which means we need quality nurses at the bedside and in leadership roles.”
Why do you think advancing your nursing education is important?
Melissa reflected upon her own nursing education journey to answer this question, saying, “Each step in my educational journey provided additional opportunities to me as a nursing professional. I gained knowledge that I could into practice, allowing me to take on larger roles and make more money to support and provide for my family. I think every nurse should be given the same opportunities for career advancement to achieve what success looks like to them.”
What’s your number one tip for someone starting nursing school?
“This one is easy,” stated Melissa. “Do your research to find the right school and resources that meet your needs. Nursing curriculum is going to be very similar from one school to another. However, the schedule, financial and support services, faculty, and clinical experiences can vary a lot. Be sure to ask lots of questions to understand what makes the program tick and how prepared you’ll be upon graduation to take on the type of role that interests you the most.”
Tell me about your role at NurseDash and what you hope to accomplish.
“We are striving to build a Career Advancement Program to help our NDPros and others find the nursing program and resources they need to succeed in school. We’re building a network of schools and foundations so our community of potential learners can make smart choices about programs, financial planning and assistance, and success strategies in school. We want to be your one-stop for all nursing education needs and support to help end the nurse staffing shortage.”
If you’re interested in applying for NurseDash or looking for support to accelerate your nursing career development, click here to learn more and get started now.