Leading with Empathy and Gratitude: Ashley Fogarty's Select Medical Career Journey

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From a young age, Ashley Fogarty, chief nursing officer at Regency Hospital – Portage, had a passion for caring for others. Coupled with a strong interest in science, she followed her passions by pursuing a career in nursing. While in nursing school, Ashley worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Today, Ashley is responsible for overseeing Regency Hospital – Portage’s nursing department and ensuring the delivery of high-quality patient care.Ashley Fogarty stand with an award deeming her employee of the month.

Q: Why did you become a certified nursing assistant (CNA)? And who or what inspired you to continue growing in your field?

A: I have always been the caring type. Growing up, I looked for ways to help people because It made me feel good to brighten someone’s day. I also played a major part in raising my brother, so caring for people became second nature. When I started working as a CNA, I knew I wanted to stay in this field — I loved meeting different people every day and finding ways to make their day better. When I came to Select Medical, I was inspired by my chief nursing officer, Jessica Wilson. She is now my CEO and has been there to support me in every way. I can’t thank her enough.

Q: What was your career timeline?

A; I was in nursing school for almost four years. Then I had to put school on hold due to family illnesses. I didn’t think I was going to be able to return to nursing school, so I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in health care advocacy. It was a hard time in my life and I wasn’t sure what my next steps were. Then, I started working as a CNA because I had completed so many of the nursing requirements.

I worked during the day and went to night school to become an emergency medical technician. I knew I wanted to be in health care, and working in the hospital helped get my foot in the door. Working with patients rekindled my drive to pursue nursing, so when my father’s health got better, I went back and finished my nursing degree. I graduated in 2016 with an associate degree in nursing.

I started the new graduate nursing orientation at Select Medical and worked night shift for a few years before being promoted to charge nurse. Select Medical helped me go back to school and get my bachelor’s degree in nursing. I became an interim CNO in July 2023 and was promoted to CNO in September the same year. I am currently going back to school to get my masters in nursing — Select Medical is helping me to do that, too.

Ashley Fogarty smiles and points to a prize wheel wearing all blue scrubs.

Q: What are the most meaningful experiences you had with your patients as a CNA?

A: The moments where you can see them get better. To see the smiles on their faces when they can walk, talk or eat again. The moments where you can be there for their last breath. It is the worst when patients do not have family or friends visit. COVID really showed how hard it is on patients when they are secluded. It’s sad when no one can be there for end of life. To be able to hold their hand and be there to comfort them when no one else can, is so important.

Q: What advice do you have for other CNAs looking to grow in their career?

A: Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Even when life throws another ball at you, don’t give up. Your role as a CNA is so important. You are the ones that raise the alarm if something is wrong with your patient, because you know the patient. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you want to do in life. Surround yourself with people that support you no matter what. Select Medical has many opportunities for you and will support you the whole way. Best of luck to you in your future careers. You’ve got this!

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