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Baptist’s emergency department.

nization of Nurse Executives (TONE) award , erved on the TONE Board from 2008d on Dean’s Advisory Board for Loewenberg e and has a master of science.

“Small things mean a lot to a nurse,” Le Bonheur’s Seerup said. “Sending a birthday card or anniversary card to their home is a small gesture that can go a long way in letting someone know he or she matters.” Barnes, of Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown, said the CNO must always be visible and interact with employees. “You have to be accessible,” she said. “It’s important to leave your desk and walk the hallways. Nurses are vital to an organization. They provide exceptional care at the most vulnerable of times. Be available to them during troubling times. Look at pictures of their children and encourage them to have fun and advance in their career.” Schafer, at Regional One, said CNOs must recognize nurses more within organizations. Both formal and informal recognition programs can go a long way in retaining nurses. “Engaging your staff and recognizing them for their hard work is key,” she said. “Our profession is trained to look at problems and make decisions. People want to know they are valued, and it’s our job to focus on them and recognize them.” 

Nurse Recognition Matters

All five CNOs agreed that offering nurses financial incentives to stay with their current healthcare systems assists in retention, but recognition programs give nurses a sense of belonging to a family. Ferguson said small incentives such as offering continuing education and certifications and honoring nurses with the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses, which is a national merit-based award recognition program, showcase that an organization invests in its nurses. Rook-Peperone said that it’s important to research how nurses want to be memphismedicalnews

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recognized. “For example,” she said, “bedside nurses don’t like a lot of pomp and circumstance.” Schafer said the element of surprise is a fun way to recognize a nurse for his or her work. She recalled a time at another healthcare organization when the CNO dressed in a trench coat and glasses and played the theme to Mission Impossible as part of a nursing recognition program. The CNO gave pens to the nurses that said “Mission Accomplished.” Several CNOs said they receive recognition themselves when their staff achieves a milestone. “I’m more metric driven,” Schafer said. “My biggest thrill is when my team achieves a goal we’ve been working toward. It means more to me when something is accomplished by the people I lead.” Saint Francis’ Rook-Peperone said that when former patients recognize nurses for a job well done, it makes more of an impression, as there is a personal connection between the patient and the nurse. “It’s nice to see the staff react to reading letters from their family or to hear from patients who received an exceptional level of care,” she said. “When you’ve touched your team in that way, you feel like you’ve arrived.” Barnes said a visit from a former patient makes a personal and passionate impact. “It’s seeing a patient walk who couldn’t before that makes such a difference in a nurse’s career,” she said. “As a nurse, we only touch them at one point during their sickness or recovery.” For all CNOs, it’s meaningful for them when a former co-worker contacts them about how they made a difference in his or her career. “I received an email one time from

Kathleen Seerup Title, hospital – Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Birthplace – Evergreen Park, Illinois. Nursing school – University of St. Francis, Joliet IL – MSHA; Lewis University, Romeoville, IL - BSN; South Suburban College, South Holland, IL – ASN Nursing Experience – Senior Director, Critical Care Services, Director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Administrative and Operations Manager PICU, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL Interim Director PI Registered Nurse, Pediatrics CU, Clinical Manager PIC Team Leader PICU, Family Care Coordinator, PICU, Manager, Clinical Operations, Pediatrics. Credentials –BSN, MSHA, RN, NE-BC.     

a nurse who I helped get employment,” Seerup said. “She said, ‘Thank you for helping me be the best nurse I can be.’ I couldn’t get a better compliment than that. It makes a difference when you’ve had an impact in someone’s life like that. You never forget it. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.”

Inspiring Experiences  

All five CNOs had very different personal experiences that made a difference in their career choices, but they all agreed they were attracted to nursing because

Lisa Cox Schafer Title, hospital -- Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, Regional One Health. Birthplace – Honolulu, Hawaii. Nursing School – University of North Carolina, Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Medical University of South Carolina, Master of Science in Nursing Administration. Nursing experience – Nursing management and leadership roles for more than 30 years in academic medical centers and community hospitals including Scripps Health System in San Diego, California; Roper Saint Francis Healthcare and the Medical University of South Carolina. Credentials – RN, MSN, NEA-BC (Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified).

they wanted to help people and make them better. “I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” Rook-Peperone said. “When I was little I would use toilet paper to wrap my dolls, which I imagined were hurt and needed care. It’s a privilege to be one.” For Seerup, choosing to become a nurse was more personal. She wanted to provide the exceptional care that her brother didn’t receive when he was terminally ill. “I wanted to be an accountant at first,” she said. “I had two personal experiences which convinced me that nursing was the profession for me. My father had a heart attack at 40 and survived and my brother had metastatic brain cancer. I saw how my brother wasn’t provided compassionate care, and I wanted to change that. I wanted to provide compassionate care to people who are sick and become a leader.”    Ferguson’s experience as a nurse was valuable for her current role, but it wasn’t until she was in hospital management that she felt she learned the skills necessary to be a hospital executive. “It’s through the different leadership positions I’ve held over the years where I have learned the most, especially those outside my skill set,” she said. “I learned how rural hospitals work and how different they function in a small community. For instance, they don’t have transportation services or a 24-hour pharmacy. As I look back, one leadership role helped prepare me for the next.” Schafer said it’s important to have a broad perspective to be a CNO. “Many CNOs come from a background in critical care and emergency care,” she said. “It’s a fast-paced environment, and you have to make quick decisions. This type of background helps prepare nurses for future leadership roles. You have to focus and stay on course.” MAY 2018

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