October 9, 2019

Nurse finds strength after unexpected fall

Meet Holly Champagne, one of our 2019 Extraordinary Nurse Award recipients.

Holly Champagne

A couple of years ago, Holly Champagne fell while getting out of her antique, claw-foot bathtub.  

“Luckily, I was able to get up on my own,” said Champagne, who is now a clinical nurse specialist in labor and delivery at the Roseville Medical Center for Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. “But it could have been so much worse. What if I couldn’t get up and no one was home? That scared me and I realized I had lost strength.”

Although she wasn’t hurt in the fall, Champagne considers it a life-changing wake-up call and her Kaiser Permanente coworkers call it her “fall to action.”

“Afterward, I started lifting weights for the first time. Now, I can deadlift 165 pounds and I have no trouble with handling big bags of dog food or moving work training manikins. Resistance training and weight lifting have been transformative and have strengthened me mentally and physically. It makes me think: if I can lift, I can manage this really hard project at work. Weight lifting is the elixir of life!”

Why did you become a nurse?

When I was young, I didn’t want to become a nurse – my mom was a nurse and director of nursing for a nursing home. Work would call her every evening when we were spending time together.

This all changed when I attended an oncology lecture, and I fell in love with the science of medicine. As soon as I began doing nursing work, I knew this is where I wanted to be.  

What do you love about nursing?

For the most part, when families are in labor and delivery, it’s a very joyful time. I really like working with women and their families in this very important moment in their lives. Sometimes there can be emergencies. There can be complications. The nurse can do a great deal of good by caring for the mom and the family, both in terms of physical care but also emotional support. The nurse shapes that experience and reinforces how strong and capable these women are.

How does your work contribute to Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to transform health and health care?

My particular part of the puzzle is around clinician education and promoting maternal safety during delivery and pregnancy. Every year, we host critical events for team training, where we train our providers to work as a team through different scenarios using manikins.

My work as a clinical nurse specialist encompasses many things: training clinicians, creating education, and working with teams to ensure that we are implementing evidence-based practices. I also ensure that we are delivering the best current care to our patients. I do this with great teams of people who support one another and work to prevent maternal complications and mortality.