Jeffrey EyeThe job: Chief nursing officer.
The employer: Saint Luke’s Northland Hospital, a member of Saint Luke’s Health System, is a 193-bed facility with a medical staff of 369 and more than 950 employees.
My role: I am responsible for all aspects of patient care and the oversight and supervision of nursing personnel throughout the hospital.
How long have you been in this position?
Since March 2011.
How long have you been employed by this organization?
Nearly six years.
What is your work history with the organization?
I was hired in 2005 as the director of emergency services for Saint Luke’s Northland. I was promoted in 2006 to director of acute inpatient and emergency services and served in that role for five years before being promoted to this position.
How have other positions there helped you prepare for your present role?
I think you build on all your previous experiences. In my previous positions at Saint Luke’s Northland, I learned the day-to-day operations. Having that knowledge base has helped me in making better decisions in the more strategic role I have today. Also, it was an easier transition to this role since I’d been an employee already.
How did you get this promotion?
I applied in December 2010. Saint Luke’s Northland conducted an interview process that included preliminary screening by the CEO and the director of human resources. Qualified candidates were interviewed by a multidisciplinary team of employees and physicians who provided recommendations as to the final slate of candidates. The Saint Luke’s Health System COO/CFO and the system chief nursing officer then conducted interviews and, through consensus, selected the candidate to hire. After being informed by Kevin Trimble, who now is CEO, that I would be receiving the position, there was a period of transition planning in which we mapped out how and when I would assume my duties. The whole process took about two months.
What was the most important influence in your ability to achieve this position?
Saint Luke’s Health System has an exceptionally strong culture of leadership development, mentoring and succession planning, along with well-developed processes to help identify and use their employees’ strengths. Training plans are created to develop areas in which employees need education or experience. My immediate supervisor and I would discuss career goals twice a year, and would update my “Personal Leadership Development Plan” to create action plans intended to prepare me for promotion when a position that I was interested in became available. These action plans included identifying training needs as well as characteristics of projects that would be beneficial in developing skills that I would need for the future. My supervisor had mentioned several years ago that this position might be a good fit for me someday.
The development of my skills was augmented by educational training such as what I received from the American College of Healthcare Executives in Chicago a few years ago. You have to have the right qualifications to apply for a position such as this one, but the final selection is based on how you fit into the culture and what your vision is for the future.
Where do you go from here?
I am really just focused on the present for now. I had set the personal goal of becoming a chief nursing officer about six years ago. The transition from the director level to an executive position is going to take some concentrated energy. With healthcare reform and the amount of change that the industry will experience over the next five years, I want to give my undivided attention to Saint Luke’s Northland.
What is your best advice for others interested in moving up?
Be disciplined in evaluating yourself and areas in which you need to develop, and create action plans once or twice a year. Seek out the advice and mentoring from successful people around you. And, most importantly, perform exceptionally and take ownership in your current role.
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Missouri in Columbia (2000), and a master’s degree in nursing, with a focus in organizational leadership and management, from the University of Kansas School of Nursing in Kansas City, Kan. (2008). I began my nursing career as an emergency department nurse at the University Hospital Trauma Center in Columbia and then worked at Kansas City’s Truman Medical Centers from 2002 to 2005. At Truman, I was assistant patient care manager in the emergency department and was promoted to patient care manager for emergency services.
Sue Dye Babson, special to The Star