System Chief Nursing Officer - Advocate Health Care
Downers Grove, Illinois
Member of IONL since 2009
Why did you become a member of Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders?
When I was promoted into my first nursing leadership role several years ago, my supervisor recommended I join IONL as a way to connect with other nursing leaders throughout the state and grow as a nursing leader. I found those connections invaluable and continue to rely on those relationships today in my new role as System Chief Nursing Officer for Advocate Health Care.
What about the nursing profession interested you initially?
As a young girl, I recall my mother telling me how much she wanted to become a nurse. She was from a large farm family during the depression years and was forced to go to work to support the family instead of continuing her education. This made such an impression on me that I decided at an early age to explore nursing as a profession and never wavered. During my high school years I volunteered at hospitals and nursing homes which only deepened my commitment to become a nurse.
A major attraction is the variety of settings in which nurses can practice and have an impact. I have taken advantage of those opportunities throughout my career. Upon graduating from Barnes Medical Center School of nursing, I worked in the neonatal intensive care at University of Iowa Medical Center and eventually Saint Francis Medical Center (Peoria, IL). I held several roles at Saint Francis including NICU staff nurse, emergency department staff nurse, trauma educator, and several leadership positions. My last position with OSF Healthcare System was the first System Chief Nursing Officer before coming to Advocate Healthcare System as their first system chief nursing officer in 2013.
What is the favorite part of your job?
I believe that we are currently in an exciting time for nursing. As the largest single group of clinical healthcare professionals, our participation in the transformation of the healthcare delivery system is vital to its success. As nurses, we understand the relationship between the individual, family and community and its impact on our health. We are fundamental to the critical shift needed from the current sick care delivery system to a system focused on the health of the individual within their community. I enjoy being part of a system that values nursing’s contribution to transforming our healthcare delivery system.
Why would you encourage others to participate in IONL?
IONL offers the ability to network across the state with group of very talented nursing leaders. IONL’s educational offerings are relevant to the national and state agenda and allow nursing professionals to connect with other leaders faced with similar challenges. As the future of healthcare unfolds, IONL will be essential in assisting nursing leaders to transform their organizations.