Featured Guest Post: Kelly Rotondo
This week's featured Health & Wellness guest is Kelly Rotondo. I first met Kelly working on 7-West, a cardiac care unit, at Sewickley Valley Hospital. Kelly was one of those "go-to" mentor nurses for me. She always knew the answer to questions and handled situations confidently and calmly. She has an absolutely bubbly and friendly personality and made working in a stressful environment a whole lot more fun. I always suspected Kelly would do great things, so I wasn't surprised to hear that Kelly had gone on to receive a number of graduate degrees. Her intellect, curiosity, and love of nursing was evident even so many years ago. You will certainly be impressed by Kelly's background, credentials, and passion for health care.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Dr. Kelly Rotondo. I live in Elizabethtown, PA with my husband of twelve years, Tom, and two girls (Caylin, 8 years old and Cidney, 4 years old). I work at Penn State Health Milton Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, PA as the Program Manager for LionNet (a Telestroke Program). I have been a nurse for almost 20 years. I am a proud Sewickley Valley Hospital graduate with my diploma in nursing. I then continued my education at LaRoche College, earning my Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). I decided to obtain my Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Waynesburg University. And lastly, I obtained my Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree in 2009 from Waynesburg University. I have a certification as a Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) and was previously certified as a medical-surgical nurse. As you can see, education is very important to me, and I strive to be a life-long learner.
Tell us about your role in the health and wellness industry. Why is this such a passion for you?
My passion is telemedicine, which uses telecommunication devices and technology to remotely diagnosis and treat patients. It removes all barriers for care and allows for anyone and everyone to have access to world-class specialists. There are hundreds of uses for telemedicine, with my specific interest being stroke care. I would love to see health care start to focus on preventive care for stroke (medication management, hypertension control, smoking cessation, obesity, diabetes control, etc), by using telemedicine as the conduit to promote stroke risk modification.
What is one thing or event that has transformed your life in the biggest way?
My life completely changed for the better with the birth of my first daughter and then my second daughter. They have made me a more patient person (although I am still a recovering perfectionist ... I am totally "Type A"). I love watching my children learn and grow and develop. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world. As a nurse, I thought I was ready for anything and “knew” a lot, but then my girls came into the world, and I found out how little I really knew. I now know it is okay for my floors to be dirty and my sink to be full of dishes, if it gives me time to hug them a little longer and read them a bedtime story. I love watching them make healthy choices. They are big veggie lovers, and they love to ride their bikes and scooters.
How do you serve your community?
My family is very active in our church. We love worshipping together as a family, as well as helping with our church’s community garden, which is given to a local food bank. My husband and I participate in church committees. I want to help our church build a labyrinth this year.
I also take every opportunity I have to talk to people about stroke risk factors, prevention, and treatment options. Recently, I had the chance to make a short video (which was grant-funded) to teach people in the community about how they are “the key to recognizing stroke." (See below for the link). I plan on holding sessions in 2018 at local long-term care facilities and rehabilitation centers to educate the staff and residents about stroke.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My paternal grandmother has always been my inspiration. She was a community health nurse for the state of Pennsylvania, retiring just shy of 50 years as a nurse. She always encouraged me to go into nursing because she said there were so many things you could do with the degree and so many people you could help. She loved to teach others. She passed away last summer at the age of 87. She had made her license inactive, but she remained a nurse until the day she died.
What do you like to do for fun? Any guilty pleasures?
I love spending time with my family, going to Hershey Park and our community swimming pool. We spend a lot of time going on family walks and exploring the town in which we live. Guilty pleasures ... I live in the town that Dove Bars are made, and I work in Hershey. My guilty pleasure is CHOCOLATE ... in any form!
What are some tips you would give someone trying to optimize their health?
I am nearing the BIG 4-0, and my metabolism has really slowed down. My husband and I are participating in a Biggest Loser Contest to help us stay motivated to live a healthy lifestyle in 2018. When you are working full-time and have kids, it is really hard to keep health and wellness as a top of the priority. But I see more and more young people having strokes, and I don’t want to be one of them. (I consider 40 young!!!)
My top 3 tips for people are:
If you smoke ... STOP! Stop today. It will be hard, but find a way.
Find an activity that makes you happy, whether it is yoga, walking your dog, jumping rope with your kids, or riding a bike. Do it because it makes you happy!
Listen to your body, and don't ignore signs when something is wrong.
Give us your contact info!
Kelly Rotondo, DNP, MSN, RN, SCRN Program Manager LionNet
The Key to Recognizing Stroke: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-BtmE6yB6Y
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