Dr.Kristina Stillsmoking didn’t win an Oscar, yet, however, by quoting Lady Gaga 2019 speech she believes there is a “discipline for passion”. For those who think about studying nursing, mobility and passion may be two of the driving forces, just like they were to Kristina. Sweat and tears will come but it doesn´t mean one should give up striding towards their goals.
When working for the Department of Defense (US), Kristina performed a variety of roles, within scenarios used by healthcare professionals, acting as external characters (e.g. patient family). Thanks to her experience, she was able to perform so intensely that one time a doctor asked her to get out of the simulation room and faculty partners laughingly would have nominated her for an academy award for the best simulation actress.
“I have done all kind of different things and 99% of the time there was nobody there to show me the roads.”
Originally wanting to be a veterinarian, she ended up in nursing. In the 60´s, when she was finishing high school, times were not supportive of girls in veterinary college. Expressed by the limited number of slots available, in California, for example, there was only one.
During her schooling as an Associate Degree in Nursing she spent 200 hours in the summer in a surgery rotation. Thanks to this experience and for getting A’s in Clinical courses, she was ushered in to a job upon graduation in the Operating Room.
Over the years as an educator or director of surgery services, she continued to invest in education. Kristina obtained a Bachelor of Nursing in Public Health, a Masters’ in Education-Counseling and Psychology and a Masters’ in Nursing-Management and Administration.
The hero of our story describes her 20 years as an Army Corp Nurse as an adventure. When she was deployed to two wars, the fear and anxiety were still present, however she had no choice of assignments after signing up to be an American soldier.
“It is amazing to see the difference that simulation makes!”
Perseverance is the greatest quality of Kristina Stillsmoking. Even though she became disappointed with nursing, Kristina decided to devote her efforts to the education and psychology branches of the healthcare system.
Since then, simulation has been her biggest passion and for many years she was responsible for Simulation Centers for a residency, military instillation and a medical school.
Simulation is her vehicle of progress, and knowledge the needed fuel. In fact, Kristina gave up and pursued a PhD Education in Training and Performance Improvement. First chosen because there were no degrees in the simulation area, she finally realized that education is “all about training and then assessing, to make sure the performance is improving”.
“Never stop learning! Do not stagnate!”
Being the first nurse on the board of directors for the Society of Simulation in Healthcare proven to be an interesting challenge, both professionally and personally. Thanks to this experience, Kristina had the chance to join the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning and work on the bond between the two organizations. As a matter of fact, she believes doctors and nurses should be trained together.
A “race horse” is how her husband graciously describes her. A nonstop person who truly believes in the concept of lifelong learning. Now embracing the Therapeutic Touch technique, Kristina uses the energy that flows between her hands to help people. Linked with Chinese medicine, she would like to study, get her certification and practice it.