Bill Hartman, a retired decorated Colonel in the US Army, has been with Door County Memorial Hospital (DCMH )for the past few years in an administrative role but felt the urge to pull his Clinical Nurse Specialist whit lab coat out of the closet once again and can now be found at the bedsides of DCMH patients. Prior to arriving at DCMH, Bill practiced the art and science of nursing in the US Army, retiring after 27 years of dedicated service to our country at the rank of Colonel.
During those 27 years in the military, Bill had the opportunity to serve in many roles related to the nursing profession, both in traditional hospital settings and in a multitude of extended roles unique to military nursing. It was those non-traditional roles that provided many exciting times throughout the years. Liking to keep his boots muddy, Bill accepted many assignments in support of combat units. During the Gulf War, he was a member of the 101st Air Borne (Air Assault) unit out of Fort Campbell, KY. He was one of seven members that made up a Forward Area Surgical Team (FAST). The mission of this elite unit was to provide life saving surgery to wounded soldiers on the front line. Bill was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, a coveted award given to medical providers who rendered medical aid while under direct enemy fire. At the time, he was 1 of only 4 nurses in the Army with that award.
Bill deployed to Somalia with the 86th Evacuation Hospital in charge of the Emergency Treatment section. Being dropped in the middle of a civil war provided plenty of non-stop trauma care experience. Because of the nature of many of these injuries, a magnitude not seen in many Emergency Rooms within the United States, he was asked to present to medical and surgical staff within many teaching hospitals throughout the US.
Hartman eventually returned to school as a student and received his Masters Degree in Nursing from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN graduating as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Trauma/Emergency Nursing. He completed his Army career as the Director of Training Support at Fort Sam Houston, TX, home of the Army Medical Command and Academy. With a staff of 275 people, his department was responsible for all medical related training throughout the world. After Colonel Hartman retired from the US Army, he and his wife, who is also a Registered Nurse and retired from the Army Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel, moved to Door County where he joined the staff at DCMH as a Director and is now taking on the additional duty as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS). A CNS is a very unique role typically only found in large metropolitan hospitals but because of Bill’s decision to live in Door County, DCMH is very fortunate to have a CNS on staff here in Sturgeon Bay.
What does a Clinical Nurse Specialist do?
A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) fills many roles including expert clinician, educator, consultant, and researcher. A CNS acts as a liaison between the patient, the hospital, and medical staff. If a patient has questions, Bill will be at their bedside to provide answers and comfort. A CNS works closely with the medical staff and nursing staff, to monitor the clinical care of patients and provide clinical support to improve patient care and patient outcomes. And, finally, a CNS is also instrumental in developing and implementing educational information, materials, and programs for discharge planning and teaching of DCMH patients.
When asked about what he enjoys most about being a CNS, Hartman replied, “Being able to help a staff member understand and learn when they have a question; being able to comfort and help a patient to feel at ease by providing a gentle touch and a genuine smile.”