Steven Corey Moves from Entry-Level to Nursing Leadership
Nursing was not at the forefront of Steven Corey’s mind when he began looking for a career. It wasn’t until the Scotia, New York, native got a job as a patient care technician with Albany Medical Center in 2007 that he realized he wanted to stay in the world of health care.
He earned his associate degree in nursing from Maria College a year later, in 2008. After a few years in trauma nursing, Corey was promoted to a patient care coordinator. This new clinical leadership role carried a lot of responsibility, but Corey was ready for it. “I loved the work. Being a leader in a department full of incredible talent inspired me,” he says.
By 2013, Corey had been covering night shifts in the Emergency Department for some time and was ready to apply for the position of nightshift assistant nurse manager. As it turned out, he was declined for the role due to lack of education. Corey then learned of Albany Medical Center’s partnership with Excelsior College and decided to take the plunge into online learning so he could advance his career. “The process of enrollment and setting up a course schedule was surprisingly easy. So, I jumped right in. Excelsior offered eight-week courses, which allowed me to expedite my effort,” he says and adds that working with his Excelsior academic advisor and the education team at Albany Medical Center was a smooth process.
“And whether it’s budget-related, policy-related, or regulation-related, I’m learning something new every day.” –Steven Corey
It didn’t take long for Corey to master navigating Excelsior’s online courses. In less than a year after enrolling, Corey earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2014 and decided to pursue a master’s degree with Excelsior. He earned a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems in 2017 and soon found himself on a path to nursing leadership.
After earning a master’s degree, Corey first became a nurse manager for the medical ICU and, as he puts it, he “had a blast.” He enjoyed his relationships with his coworkers and spent a little under two years gaining experience as a manager and doing administrative work. In January 2019, the chief nursing officer asked Corey to return to the Emergency Department to become the interim assistant vice president of emergency services, trauma, and mental health. He was appointed to the position in October 2019.
As an assistant vice president, Corey has a challenging job. Problems are on a larger scale, he says, noting that looking after several different units, instead of just one, makes things more complicated. It’s also what makes things so interesting. “It [a problem that arises] changes the thinking a little bit, it changes the strategy a little bit, and it challenges you to research and learn every single day… And whether it’s budget-related, policy-related, or regulation-related, I’m learning something new every day,” says Corey. He also points out that his job involves a lot of self-discovery, saying he learns about himself and his capabilities with each new opportunity.
Corey says being in leadership has caused him to be a better mentor to the nurses and nursing leaders. “It’s about building the next group of leaders and promoting your team,” he says. The changing times of health care make it an exciting time to be on a nursing team, making on-the-spot decisions and trying to problem-solve issues not previously encountered. “It’s just a cool place to be,” says Corey.