Kristen Irwin, RN, MSN: In the Spotlight

Here at RHA Health Services, we employ a diverse staff of compassionate, knowledgeable people that change lives across many states. Today, we have the privilege of sitting down with Kristen Irwin, a dedicated nurse with over 8 years of experience working at RHA who just received her master’s degree with a Capstone Certificate of Excellence. With her compassionate demeanor and wealth of knowledge, Kristen offers us a unique insight into the world of nursing – a role that stays at the heart of RHA’s healthcare system.  

Q: How did you decide to enter the field of nursing?  

Kristen Irwin: Before I entered the healthcare space, I was working in retail. I knew I always wanted to go into healthcare because I’ve always had the heart and the passion to help other people and an interest in the medical aspect of life and science.  

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your journey into nursing at RHA?  

Kristen: My first year with RHA, I was working in one of our medical residential homes in Knoxville, Tennessee, where they had nurses on staff 24/7 to support two individuals there. The people supported were where I found my calling. IDD became my passion and my career. Many of the other employees that worked in the home had been there for a while, and that really stood out to me. My supervisor in the beginning was a home manager and she was wonderful and willing to do whatever was needed to support me.  

Q: What is your role at RHA Health Services today?  

Kristen: When I earned my RN degree, I transitioned from working as an LPN at the medical residential home to a role at the Knoxville, Tennessee, clinical team office. It was an exciting transition for me as I had never been in a clinical team role or worked in an office setting before. The people that I supported in the medical residential home were sad to see me leave, but they told me that they were proud of me.   

It was really rewarding to be able to continue to advocate for them. Though I wasn’t providing direct care to them daily, I was able to learn how the clinical team works to help advocate for them from a corporate level. Overall, it was an exceptionally smooth transition and I had ample support.   

Q: What advice would you offer to aspiring nurses or those considering a career in healthcare?  

Kristen: If you are considering becoming a healthcare provider with RHA, know that you can change somebody’s life every day. You will be supported. There’s a wonderful team here and you will feel like you’re a part of a family. The culture speaks for itself, and our people’s lives are better because of RHA.  

Closing Thoughts: Embracing the Heart of Nursing  

Kristen’s insights remind us that nursing is not merely a job, but a deeply meaningful calling rooted in the desire to care for others during their most vulnerable moments. In the face of challenges both old and new, nurses embody resilience, empathy, and dedication. RHA Health Services are proud to employ healthcare providers, like Kristen Irwin. We are grateful for their unwavering dedication to healing, comfort, and care.  

 To learn more about the growth opportunities available at RHA Health Services, visit today.