While she’s not a household name in the state of Missouri, Carol Siem has touched the lives of thousands of its residents by working over the past decade to improve the quality of care in nursing homes.
Siem, MSN, RN, BC, GNP, is a clinical educator and team leader of the statewide Quality Improvement Program of Missouri (QIPMO), a cooperative program between the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). She and four other nurses assist the state’s nursing homes in improving the care they provide. An expert in gerontological nursing and the federal Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessment process used by all nursing homes in the country, Siem most recently has also been training long-term care staff across the state in the transition to an updated version of the MDS.
“I have watched Ms. Siem work tirelessly to improve the quality of care in long-term-care facilities in Missouri with QIPMO,” wrote Jon Dolan, executive director of the Missouri Health Care Association. “She facilitates her workshops and trainings in ways that the nursing staff can relate to and understand.”
Siem covers the St. Louis region for QIPMO from her home in Augusta, Mo. and also serves as chairman of the board for the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination. She was selected to provide training statewide for the transition to the revised version of the MDS so that all nursing homes would receive the same information on how the changes would impact care.
“My role in the AANAC benefits the state because I have new information coming in at the national level that I can feed into the state level to help local nursing homes,” said Siem. She also was asked to serve on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Technical Expert Panel (TEP) in 2009, which contributed new quality measures used to provide information for an online nursing home comparison tool.
After earning a master of science in nursing in 2000 from MU’s geriatric nurse practitioner program, Siem was hired in 2001 by SSON professor Marilyn Rantz to work as a clinical educator for QIPMO.
“The impact Carol has had on the care of older adults in nursing home has been tremendous,” wrote Rantz, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The most recent evaluation of QIPMO services shows amazing improvements in care…the cost analysis of these improvements throughout the state revealed that there were 990 residents who avoided the development of expensive, debilitating problems…at a savings to the nursing homes of over $4.7 million in care costs.”
Siem, who wanted to be a nurse since childhood, began her career in 1975 after she received her diploma in nursing from Deaconess Hospital in St. Louis. She earned her BSN from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and worked in both hospital and nursing home environments before transitioning to an educator role with QIPMO. She and her husband, Robert, BSN ’02, M Ed ’84, live in the house in which he grew up and are proud parents of three daughters, two of whom graduated from MU in agriculture and education, and one who received a bachelor’s in education from Southeast Missouri State University. Their oldest daughter recently made them proud grandparents.