Creating a Cheerful Culture of Caring for Nurses

By: Cheryl Abrams

Ashley HaugstatterNurse cheerleader and nurse for the nurses is how Ashley Haugstatter, BSN, RN, CPN, CCRN, describes herself.

After pursuing her dream of working in pediatric critical care nursing, she transitioned to a new role: Manager of Nursing Relations and Retention.

Advocating for Crouse Nurses
Ashley spends her workdays interacting with future nurses, encouraging them to work at Crouse Health; mentoring nursing students enrolled in the Pomeroy College of Nursing; and working with nursing leadership to advocate for and recognize the accomplishments of the hospital’s more than 1,000 nurses.

Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, away from the bedside, not caring for patients, she grew restless and felt she had to do something to support her colleagues.

“When bad things happen, I have found that instead of asking a ‘why’ question and

coming up short on answers, you can ask yourself a ‘what’ or ‘how’ question. What can I do to help? What would make someone smile today? How can I show up for someone else today?”

Positivity and Hope
The answer soon emerged from Ashley’s positive nature: Colorful chalk drawings. Her hand-drawn messages conveyed hope, positivity and gratitude on each floor in the hospital’s parking garage.

“I wanted the nurses to know that everyone was thinking of them and that they are brave, strong and amazing, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. It was a small gesture that I hope meant a lot,” she says, adding, “I felt if I could make one tired nurse smile at the end of their shift, then I’d done my job!”

While Ashley’s role includes cheerleading for her fellow nurses, her primary responsibility is to assist in matching the right RNs for open nursing positions — and then to retain them.

Early on in her career, she realized there is more to nursing than great pay and benefits. “We want to work in a professional environment where exemplary skills are recognized, the patient comes first, ideas can be expressed, and colleagues treat each other with respect,” says Ashley.

We’re Like Family
She, like other employees, are encouraged by the hospital’s leadership to help shape what has become known as the “Crouse culture.” Ashley says, “We really are like family here. It just feels different at Crouse.”

If you’re a nurse looking for competitive pay and benefits, plus a supportive and collegial working environment, we invite you to consider Crouse. Visit to apply.

“We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Cheryl Abrams earned her M.S. in Communications Management from Syracuse University's Newhouse School and is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, NY.

Share this