When Rachel Skelly first started working as a contract nurse at Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture of Encompass Heath and Stormont Vail Health, the hospital’s leadership team immediately knew that she was special.
“She has such a sweet, caring nature about her,” said Bill Overbey, hospital CEO. “It was so obvious how much patients loved her and how thorough she was with her nursing skillset.”
Skelly ultimately joined the hospital as a full-time nurse, and within a year, tackled a new challenge as the hospital’s wound care coordinator and infection preventionist. Since she’s assumed the role, Skelly has achieved her wound care certification and Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse designations.
Her dedication to her profession and her patients earned her Encompass Health’s Outstanding Employee Achievement Award for the Central region. Skelly is one of seven employees out of more than 30,000 recognized for the award.
Working across all disciplines in the hospital, Skelly has taken a collaborative approach to education and process improvement. Under her leadership, the hospital has improved in all infection rates and worsening wound rates, and Overbey expects that success to continue.
“The level of support she provides to the entire staff is palpable,” Overbey said. “We knew she would do well in that position.”
When she first began her nursing career, Skelly never envisioned herself working directly in wound care and infection control. However, she was interested in wound care soon after she began working at Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital.
When the wound care coordinator and infection preventionist role opened, she decided to make the move and hone her craft.
“My favorite part of the job is being involved in patient care and getting to see and be part of their progress, and getting to tell them how much their wound is improving,” she said.
When not at work, Skelly is actively involved in her church’s youth ministry where her husband serves as youth minister. Inside and outside of the hospital, she strives to always focus on the positive, drawing inspiration from the many patients she sees.
“It’s so easy to be in the healthcare field and let the stress of the day to day get in the way,” she said. “When you walk into a patient room and you’re stressed, and you see that they’re there with a wound, and that patient tells you it’s a great day, it puts everything into perspective.”
Skelly’s positivity is contagious, Overbey said, and her attention to detail and willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of her makes her a valuable part of Kansas Rehabilitation Hospital.
“She has always been a high performer for us, and somebody that really just shows the true empathy that you need to have to be a great RN and a great person,” he said.
As part of our Outstanding Employee Achievement Award program, Encompass Health recognizes seven individuals each year who go above and beyond their job responsibilities to improve the patient experience and support their coworkers in their hospitals. Out of more than 30,000 employees in our inpatient rehabilitation segment, one winner is selected from each of the Company’s seven regions. These individuals exemplify our core values, The Encompass Health Way.