During Women’s History Month, Kettering Health Network is celebrating the impact of all the women who support our network. The responses below came from an interview with Julie Vincent, chief nursing officer for the network. Click here to see the original story, including more interviews.
What is your role and what are your responsibilities?
I serve as chief nursing officer for the network. I coordinate clinical performance in five areas: team service, clinical, finance, and market growth. Executive nursing includes researching the science behind clinical improvements and practice models, systems thinking, and strategy development. But it also includes building collaborative, trusting relationships; communicating a shared vision; and developing that all-important personal and professional accountability. I like team-centered approaches to problem solving that empower nurses to lead nurses in quality improvement initiatives. I am lucky, as I connect with phenomenal (and I do mean phenomenal!) nursing leaders who work together to lead out on the skill of healing and the spirit of caring.
As a woman, have you faced any barriers in your career?
Across the country, less than 25% of hospital senior executives are women.* When women are in the minority, a phenomenon can occur where you begin to underestimate your abilities. This is a self-perception that you don’t know enough, even if you are highly educated or prepared. There were times early in my career when I sat in the back of the room and did not speak up because I thought my voice might not be heard. Fortunately, I quickly found a circle of mentors both male and female who recognized the value of gender diversity and coached me on how to advocate for my individual executive nursing practice and my collective profession. Now, I am the first to speak up!
*Hauser, M. C. (2014). Leveraging Women’s Leadership Talent in Healthcare. Journal Of Healthcare Management, 59(5), 318-322.
What woman has had the most influence on you, and what qualities did she possess?
The woman who most influenced me is probably my professor during nursing school, Dr. Barbara James. Dr. James was and still is the role model of professional nursing to me. She was knowledgeable, professional, dedicated, and compassionate. Whenever I think about the type of nurse I want to be, her practice comes to mind. She was a skilled scientist, teacher, and advocate. She ahd self-command, leadership presence, and (oh my!) that enviable, spotless white uniform.
Of course, like most nurses, I have a patchwork quilt of role models–dozens of tremendous nurses who have worked with me over the years, precepted me, shadowed me, and led me towards the path I am on today.
Outside of work, I am inspired by Joan Benoit Samuelson, who was the first female to run an Olympic marathon back in 1984. She is an example of someone who doesn’t put limits on herself for what she can accomplish and is committed to lifelong learning, fitness, and wellness.
What is something unique that you think women bring to our organization?
Women provide perspective on the unique aspects of being female. Market research shows that healthcare decisions are often made by the matriarch or female in the family. These decisions include where and how families chose to receive their healthcare. Women in leadership provide the unique point of view of females and understand what is required to make smart decisions for themselves and their friends and families regarding healthcare choices. Women are distinctively in a position to advocate for topics that are important to females and thus positioned to grow the organization.
What value do you think inclusion brings to organizations?
Diversity makes us stronger. We want to ensure our leadership team is comprised of team members who value the things that patients themselves value, think like patients think ,and connect with our patients and their support systems. We want patients to “see” themselves in our team. In order to ensure we are meeting their needs, we need diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices. Our patients have different beliefs and cultures and require different services depending on their need. By ensuring diversity, we become stronger in understanding what patients need and unique ways of delivering care.