Job Title: Nurse Executive
Type of Company: A non-profit community hospital
Education: BS, Nursing MBA, Healthcare Management MSN
Previous Experience: I was an emergency room nurse for seven years, a nurse at a medical practice and the practice manager for three years, and clinical nurse and practice manager of the Pediatrics Division at a tertiary academic medical center.
Job Tasks: I am responsible for nursing leadership and administrative development in the Labor and Delivery, Mother Infant Unit, the Nursery, Level II Special Care Nursery and Pediatrics unit and their associated clinics as well as the intensive care unit, intermediate cardiac care unit and the intermediate medical care unit. I have full responsibility for financial, budgetary, quality, regulatory, compliance and educational matters. And I supervise the Clinical Managers who've been assigned the oversight of approximately 325 full-time employees. I am responsible for policy revision and development.
I spend a good deal of time during the day walking around the units speaking to staff, patients and families. You cannot be a strong and effective leader if you are locked away in an office all day. Networking with people is huge when there are changes or stress and everyone is running to meet the needs of our patients. Coaching and holding people accountable is another big part of my job. Helping to identify clinical, leadership and communication gaps and helping my staff to identify resources such as books, classes and self-improvement seminars makes them better employees and caregivers.
I participate in physician/practice group acquisition and facilitate all aspects of care center changes.
I also serve on the following committees: Clinical Advancement, Code, Performance Improvement, Perinatal, Pediatric Advisory, Labor and Delivery, Magnet Steering, Strategic Partners Tufts, Recruitment and Retention, and co-chair of the Northeast Perinatal Team (NEPT), Board Member of the March of Dimes Northeast Region.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with people (many of whom I've known for many years) and caring for members of our community. Injury and illness are stressful for patients and their families and to be in a position to help them is very rewarding, especially since they are often so appreciative. A kind, familiar, helping hand is extremely reassuring regardless of the medical outcome.
The worst part of my job is dealing with the business and politics of healthcare, especially when they're in conflict with the best-case scenario for our patients and community.
Job Tips: Anyone going into nursing should try to get into a BS program, since it affords a higher level of opportunity than a nursing diploma or Associate's degree. Anyone interested in a leadership track must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, but they should also be aware that director and VP positions require at least a master's degree. I would recommend working in the medical field in any capacity while in school so you can seek out practical opportunities and prove yourself as a solid worker which should help you to land a job after you finish school. Lastly, I would recommend you get as many certifications as possible in the clinical specialty you want to pursue: Neonatal Resuscitation if you want to work in the NICU, or Emergency Nursing Pediatrics Certification and Trauma certification if you want an emergency department track.
Additional Thoughts: The most important thing to know about a career in nursing is that it can be the most physically and emotionally challenging job. We deal with the best and worst in people in life and death situations. The most important personal qualities you need for this profession are compassion, an attention to detail, a strong sense of self, an openness and respect for different cultures and beliefs and, most importantly, a sense of humor.
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