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Deanna NaDell—Hillsdale Hospital

Deanna NaDell—

The guiding hand of surgical services at Hillsdale Hospital

Written by Melissa McCance | Photos by Synergy in Motion

Providing quality medical care involves the coordination of many different elements, and this is certainly true of surgical services. Scheduling, staffing, securing supplies, checking in with patients, circulating through the operating rooms to see that all is well . . . these are just some of the responsibilities that fall to Deanna NaDell, manager of surgical services.

Raised in the Hanover area and a graduate of Western High School, Deanna earned her LPN and RN degrees at Jackson College. She continued her education at Capella University where she received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and is now working on her MBA at the same institution.

After completing her LPN, Deanna worked for nine years in long-term care. Once she received her RN, she worked in medical/surgical and then oncology/ renal care. A stint in a surgical ICU followed. When she completed her MSN degree, Deanna served as a clinical staff educator for oncology/renal care and then moved into management.

Deanna first came to Hillsdale Hospital working in the ICU on a casual basis (meaning employed as needed rather than being regularly scheduled) for about a year before moving to surgery. In March 2020, she accepted the post managing surgical services.

When asked what her job encompasses, Deanna replied, “First, it’s following the direction of our mission, vision, and values.” These principles include being a guardian of exceptional health services by ensuring access to high-quality care, defining and advancing the role of rural health providers, and the values of responsibility, empathy, safety, passion, empowerment, commitment, and trust.

Deanna said that she feels her most important function is to support her team in a multitude of areas. These involve staffing, equipment, supplies, surgeon satisfaction, quality improvement, hiring, and strategic planning among others. She has started two new service lines—neurosurgery/spine and ENT (ear, nose, and throat)—which bring highlevel services to the hospital.

In addition, Deanna makes departmental education a priority. “I want our staff to have opportunities to learn and grow. This will enable them to do their jobs to their highest potential.”

As you can imagine, her responsibilities mean Deanna’s days are very full. Each morning begins with what they call the daily huddle when the staff reviews the day’s cases to ensure that everyone has what is needed and OR (operating room) assignments are confirmed. She also fills in on cases if needed.

Deanna does regular rounds through the preoperative area, the ORs, and central supply to keep on top of having everything that’s required for the day. And, Deanna touches base with the surgeons throughout the day. Then there are the administrative aspects of her job for which she makes her daily “to do” list and can include going through email, attending meetings, ordering supplies, and meeting with vendors. She rounds with the staff again towards the end of the day and touches base with patients to make sure their needs are being met.

Future goals for her department are to enhance staff recruitment, engagement, and retention; growing new service lines as the community needs them; and, in keeping with her desire to see everyone on her team realize their full potential, supporting nurses pursuing the advanced certification of surgical first assistant.

We talk about it as do you own your practice or are you just renting it? Renting it means you go in, do what you have to, and get out. Owning it means you give it your best, you sacrifice if you need to, and you take your responsibility very, very seriously. No one wants to leave a warm bed on a winter night to cover a case, but if we’re needed . . . we’re there. You lose personal time and time with family, but that’s what we do. We aren’t just problem finders—we’re problem solvers. There’s real mutual support across the surgical service. We have a personal and professional investment in one another.

Many people do not realize that the range of surgical services available at Hillsdale Hospital is remarkable for a rural hospital of its size. At a time when most rural hospitals have been swallowed up by huge medical systems, Hillsdale Hospital remains a multidisciplinary, independent facility. Without having to drive to Ann Arbor, Lansing, or Kalamazoo, patients have access to services in general surgery, ENT, neurosurgery/spine, urology, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, endoscopy, and podiatry.

It’s clear that Deanna is committed to patients and to her staff. She is not only focused on providing skilled, quality, compassionate care, but also on bringing in more specialized surgical services to serve the community. Although managing the surgical service and its continued growth is a complex and sometimes challenging job, she is ready to handle it!

Deanna speaks highly of her team and their commitment to the patients:

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