Kristen Picone, RN, loves her family. That goes without saying. She also loves her career as a nurse and never wanted to compromise time with her family for time growing her career. Lucky for Kristen, innovative thinking and support from Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) means she doesn’t have to.
In Pursuit of Work-Life Balance: How LVHN Nurse Finds Harmony with Flexible Schedule
Supportive leaders and a culture that values experienced nurses are key
A heart for helping others
Kristen grew up in a tight-knit family. She followed in her big sister’s footsteps when she pursued a nursing career.
“I was in school to be a teacher when my sister became a nurse,” says Kristen. “She started on 6T at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Muhlenberg and thrived.”
Inspired by the satisfaction her sister found in a nursing career, Kristen shifted gears and enrolled at Northampton Community College, where she graduated with a nursing degree and became a registered nurse.
Growing her career – and her family
In 2011, Kristen began her career at LVH–Muhlenberg, where she worked in a cardiac intensive care step-down unit for five years before transitioning to the float pool.
In the float pool, nurses go where they are needed.
“The float pool allows flexibility,” says Kristen. “The schedule, plus the opportunity to learn new things, made the position ideal for me at that time in my life.”
Kristen’s husband works for a family business and together they’re raising two energetic boys – 6-year-old Bron and 4-year-old Carson.
“I love being a mom,” says Kristen. “I also love my patients. LVHN – they get it. They were open to hearing my ideas for a work schedule that fits my life.”
Flexible schedule, why not try?
Eric Pecuch, RN, Director of the Float Pool at LVH–Muhlenberg, and Christine (Chrissie) Hartner, DNP, Vice President of Patient Care Services for LVH–Muhlenberg and LVH–Hecktown Oaks, always ask for opinions and suggestions for making LVHN an even better place to work as a nurse.
When Kristen approached them with an idea for a schedule to meet the needs of the hospital and allow her to be home with her family when they need her, Eric and Chrissie analyzed staffing data. The need for nurses at unique hours was justified, so they tried it.
“My current hours are 3 a.m.-3 p.m.,” Kristen says. “I work a bit of night shift and a bit of day shift. I’m home to help with homework after school. I never miss a sporting event. It works for my family and it works for the hospital. I’m not missing anything at home or at work.”
Did You Know?
Gratitude for her work family
Kristen and her colleagues receive support from all levels of leadership, which she feels is a testament to how much they care about what’s important to nurses.
“They listen to us,” says Kristen. “They’ve done a lot to accommodate staff especially during the pandemic. They recognize seniority and longevity by listening to our experiences and doing what works best for patients and colleagues.”
She especially values the connections to senior leaders like LVH–Muhlenberg Chief Medical Officer Pat Toselli, DO.
“I saw Dr. Toselli the other day in the hallway,” says Kristen. “He was so happy to see me. He asked about my kids.”
As she’s gained more experience in her career, Kristen remains grateful for her work family.
“We provide excellent care,” says Kristen. “The nurses and doctors have so much respect for one another – we’re a family. We can have open conversations and they respect our judgment. Ultimately, that’s how we provide excellent care.”