An Ethic of Service
Laurie brings her extensive background as a Registered Nurse to her current position as Deputy Chief Coroner. She has worked in every aspect of the profession, from working on the floor to administration.
Eighty percent of the Coroner’s Office cases are medical/natural deaths. It is the Coroner’s job to investigate and find the cause, which often requires researching hundreds of pages of medical records and understanding terminology. This aspect of the job is second nature to Laurie, and she currently works hand in hand with our current Coroner to find that cause.
Laurie’s diverse background in Nursing included ER, Pediatrics, ICU, PICU NICU, Oncology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Medical-Surgical, Home Health, and Hospice. She began her career as a Registered Nurse back in 1996, working at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in both Orthopaedics and Neurology until 1999.
Laurie spent the bulk of her career at St. Margaret’s Hospital. She worked there from 1998 to 2011, gaining invaluable experiences as a Flex Nurse. This allowed Laurie to learn more about many fields of healthcare, where she also had to quickly adapt to new settings. This experience taught Laurie to research quickly and thoroughly, which she uses in the Coroner’s office now.
Laurie says of this experience, “I was one of 40 nurses that covered two hospitals to work wherever there was a need. I never knew where I would be placed until I came in, and any Nurse will tell you this is a very difficult thing to do. I had to have the ability to handle all situations that arise on each and every floor that we were assigned to. I am proud to say I could manage those transitions with ease.”
Laurie also was asked to pilot a program for an admission unit at the two hospitals she flexed between. For almost a year, she single-handedly ran this program. Her hard work paid off: Laurie's pilot program warranted the need, and a 24-bed admission unit was instituted.
Laurie was also a core user and instructor on implementing electronic medical records (EMR) in the hospitals. She instructed on new technology for medication safety and wrote policies and procedures for medication safety. Laurie was also responsible for implementing policy and procedure for best practices when she served on the Shared Governance Board as Chair of Quality Assurance. She further received certifications in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and NALS, also becoming an instructor for BLS and ACLS.
When Laurie’s time in the hospitals was through, she took on a new challenge: becoming an Administrator for two Home Health Agencies which employed 45 employees. From 2011 to 2016 She worked at Addus and VNA Home Health, and at Beecher Manor Long Term Care from 2011 to 2019. In these roles, Laurie learned to manage a large group of professionals working in and out of the facilities, while also working in-home with patients herself.
In all these positions, speaking of how these skills translate to her work in the Coroner’s Office, Laurie says, “Death and dying was part of the job. Notifying families of the loss of their loved one was part of the job, holding the hand of someone who was dying and had no family around was part of the job. I did this with compassion and respect, in other words, I treated everyone the way I would want my loved one to be treated. Compassion is the key to making a good Nurse and Coroner because no matter the circumstance of death, the deceased and their families deserve respect and dignity.”
Laurie Summers has had a long and distinguished career that she readily applies to her current position as the current Deputy Chief Coroner. Laurie will make a great leader when elected as Coroner. Her experience shows she is well-qualified, and also shows she is adaptable, forward-thinking, and excels wherever she works. She will make a seamless transition, and will no doubt keep improving the Coroner’s office during her term.
‘96-’99- Ingalls Memorial Hospital- Ortho and Neuro
‘98-2011- St. Margarets Mercy Dyer/Hammond- Flex RN
‘11-’16- Addus and VNA Home Health-Nurse Manager, and in-home Nursing
‘11-’19- Beecher Manor Long Term Care
‘16-’19- WCB D1
‘19- Deputy Chief Coroner