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Excela Health nurses have many opportunities to participate in professional development activities designed to advance their knowledge and skills as a professional, a clinician and a leader.  Lifelong learning is recognized as an important component of one's nursing career and the Excela Health Nursing Education Department provides many avenues for nurses to participate in educational programming designed to support growth and development.

At Excela Health, experienced and graduate nurses begin with a robust orientation that includes four days of classroom orientation followed by an individualized, preceptor-guided clinical orientation.  Graduate nurses are provided additional support by a Nurse Educator and through mentorship opportunities.

Ongoing professional development activities include live in-services, computer-based learning, skills lab, competency development, mentoring and coaching.  Ongoing education programs enable the nurse to attain continuing education (CE) credits required for state licensure.


Nursing Certification

Many of our nurses elect to pursue ongoing, professional education voluntarily to deepen their knowledge and elevate skills in a given clinical area.  Board certification in nursing allows for a more diverse exchange of ideas and information and affords the opportunity for Best Practices to arise, all benefitting patient care.  Certified nurses are required to earn continuing education units and achieve particular numbers of clinical hours to maintain their certification, which is overseen by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Care.  Those among our ranks who have pursued certification include:

Certified Clinical Documentation  Specialist

Rebecca Fello, MSN, RN, CCDS

Certified Case Management

Joyce Hodczak, RN, CCM
Susette Lasher,MSN, RN, CCM
Rosanne Maticko, BSN, RN, CCM
Edith Spinneweber, BSN, RN, CCM
Eugina Ochap RN, CCM
Joanna Coughenour

Certified Diabetes Educator

Michele Axelson, RN, CDE

Certified Emergency Nurse

Kelly Bedner, MSN, RN, CEN
Laurie Dearmitt, RN, CEN
Amanda Vesley, BSN, ED, CEN
Nicole Komenda, BSN, RN, CEN

Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
Gretchen Peske, RN, CHPN

Certified Infection Control Nurse

Mary Jo Bellush, MSN, RN, CIC
Deborah Schotting, MSN, RN, CIC

Certified Occupational Health Nurse

Rebecca Herroscheck, RN, COHN
Megan Kapolka, RN, COHN
Susan Bainbridge

Certified Post- Anesthesia Nurse

Staci Orbell, MSN, RN, CPAN


Certified in Professional Healthcare, Quality
Denise Addis, MSN, RN, CPHQ
AnneMarie Scekeres, MSN, RN, CPHQ
Bonnie Barnhart, MSN, RN, CPHQ

Wound Care Certified

Lori Crawford, RN, WOCN
Amy Phillips, RN, WCC

Certified Wound Care Nurse

Patti Hutchinson, RN, CWCN
Susan Poklembo, RN, CWCN
Kimberly Strashensky, BSN, RN, CWCN

Certified Ostomy Care Nurse

Patti Hutchinson, RN, COCN

Certified Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse   

SandraLee Hartman, RN, CWOCN
Sarah Vanderelli, BSN, RN, CWOCN
Sue Zezzo, BSN, RN, CWON

RN Certified Inpatient OB

Barb Alexander, BSN, RN, RNC-OB
Beverly Leidy , BSN, RN, RCN-OB
Susan Patula, BSN, RN, RNC-OB
Wendy Reynolds, MSN, RN, RNC-OB
Darla Klein, RN, RNC-OB

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Tracey Downs BSN, RN, IBCLC
Ann Kremer, BSN, RN, IBCLC
Cindy Morris, MSN, RN, IBCLC
Rosann Rudy, RN, IBCLC

Childbirth Educator
Susan Patula, BSN, RN, CCE

Certified Medical-Surgical RN

Cindy Glod, RN, RN-BC
Kortnee McGinnis, RN, RN-BC

Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist

Elizabeth Dell, RN, RCIS

Certified Navigator-Breast Nurse   

Kelly Long, RN, CBPN-Cancer

Certified Progressive Care Nurse

Betsy Stefano, RN, PCCN
Virginia Iscrupe

Certified Gerontological Nursing

Dawn Henry, BSN, RN, RN-BC

RN-BC Nursing Informatics

Sally Backus, MSN, RN, RN-BC
Mike Widmann, MSN, RN, RN-BC
Karen Edmunds, MSN, RN, RN-BC

Certified Professional in Patient Safety   

Jennifer Gregory, BSN, RN

Nurse Executive, Advanced 

Traci Fick, MSN, RN


Nursing Professional Development
Deborah Jenkins, MSN, RN

Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse   

Abby Johnston, BSN, RN

Certified Nurse Operating Room

Leann Kaltenbaugh, MSN, RN

Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing   

Randy Pritts

Certified Maternal-Newborn Nursing

Kathy Kepple




Terry J. Walker, BSN, RN, Oncology
Excela Health Nursing Staff

This recent letter from Terry Walker to the Excela Health Chief Nursing Officer describes the value he found in pursuing a degree.

"I am writing to express my gratitude to you and Excela Health for providing me with the tuition reimbursement funds that helped make it possible for me to earn my BSN from Robert Morris University in August 2016.  Excela Health encouraged me to pursue a higher level of education, which I am grateful for today.  Please forward my gratitude to your colleagues at Excela Health who create these types of programs and opportunities for its nurses and employees.  The generosity of the Excela Health system is very much appreciated."