Preceptor Spotlight: Maria Winner
by Nicole Rasul
Amid a buzz of activity in The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East Hospital’s Tower 3, Maria Winner (’17), RN, moved swiftly against a background of beeping technology and huddles of providers discussing care needs.
Winner stopped briefly to examine a monitor while a colleague launched a question in her direction over the hum of the nursing station. An obvious multitasker, Winner seemed unphased, successfully attending to her patient’s chart and her colleague’s inquiry at the same time.
It took Winner, a 2002 graduate of Ohio State with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a few years to find the profession that is now her career. After graduation, the Circleville native worked in a residential services position with Franklin County. However, finding the field unfulfilling and hard to progress in, she made the switch to her father’s vocation: nursing. Now they both work at the Ohio State East Hospital.
Winner started at East Hospital in 2005 as a patient care associate. By 2008, she had accepted an RN position on Tower 3 after completing an associate degree in nursing at Columbus State Community College. In 2017, Winner finished the RN to BSN program at Ohio State.
These days, the nurse with a kind smile and peaceful demeanor can often be found with a student preceptee by her side, accompanying her through the daily patient-care routine. “They are with me for the full shift, every day,” Winner said. “We work together as a team.”
It is this teamwork that has made Winner happily commit to precepting. Having a partner to accompany her through the day is rewarding, she said. Winner thrives on the fast pace of Tower 3 – a progressive care unit where healthcare providers face a long list of ailments daily, including drug withdrawal, stroke, cancer or cardiac diagnosis or complications – and she says that having a student to share her shift with makes the work “even more exciting.”
“It’s about helping students learn the whole nursing environment,” Winner said about her role as a preceptor. “We are teaching not only technical skills as preceptors, but how to communicate with other healthcare professionals and how to talk to a patient’s family. It’s a safe space where students can gather real-world experience under the guidance of a seasoned colleague.” In the early days of the arrangement, the student spends each shift shadowing Winner. By the semester’s end, the student is assigned tasks to complete on his or her own while Winner observes carefully.
Winner said she learns a lot from the students she precepts. The students feel that way, too. “Maria was great!” one student said. “She was so helpful, and really had us look deeper into our patients and asked a lot of questions to really make sure we understood the big picture.”