Women In Health: Kendal Bittner, BSN, RN

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How would you describe your journey to becoming the health leader you are today?

I started my journey to becoming a health leader in nursing, sitting for my nursing boards when I was 19. My first position as an RN was at Roper Hospital on a surgical step-down unit, primarily vascular. Over the years, I enjoyed building on that foundation by covering multiple specialties: surgical, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, research, Alzheimer’s and vascular.

Describe the moment or time of life you decided to have a career in medicine.

I decided to have a career in medicine while enrolling in college. I was pregnant with my son at the time, and the support I received from my health care team made me want to be that person to someone else one day. I initially thought I would focus on peds or OB, but, during my clinical rotations, I found my niche elsewhere.

What routines and habits help you prepare for, or recover from, a day’s challenges?

I like to have my morning coffee in bed, listening to relaxing music while reading emails and reviewing my calendar for the day for 20 to 30 minutes. I have a habit of pausing work while taking my daughter to school. To recover, I enjoy taking yoga classes and making improvements in my practice.

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How do you respond to the challenges of being a woman in the health care field?

As a woman in health care for over 17 years, I’ve had my share of challenges. More often than not, I find myself in meetings as the only woman in the room. However, I usually find once I’ve engaged those around me, my confidence and subject knowledge speaks for itself. As a woman, I find I bring a different perspective at times that is generally appreciated.

What or who inspires you?

I feel like I constantly draw inspiration from those around me, from my family and friends to my yoga instructor. I also find inspiration from our patients, some who have chronic issues they deal with day in and day out and do so with a positive attitude. I’m inspired to be grateful and to use my talents to build a positive patient care experience for anyone who needs us.

Describe the person and provider you strive to be.

I’ve always strived to better myself and to continue learning and growing. Once a goal is reached, I think there should already be a few more I’m working on – everything can always be improved. I want to continue growing as a health care community leader and improving health care services and access to care for patients. I’ve also always strived to set a strong and positive example to empower my children and others around me.

What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?

The best advice I could give my younger self would be to practice and have a better understanding of patience. Be patient with yourself, your family and your co-workers and for the patients and family members you’ll care for throughout your life. Although you never really know what the person across from you is going through or how to help, having patience is sometimes more than enough to give to them.


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