10 healthcare leaders on their best professional investment or accomplishment

Becker's Hospital Review asked readers to share one of the best things they've done for themselves, their careers and/or their organizations. Readers shared accomplishments, professional development experiences, and personal decisions or investments they've made over the years. Read about the best things they've done professionally in their words.

Mark Bohen
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Beaumont Health (Southfield, Mich.)

"I'm most proud of shifting to more consumer-focused marketing at Beaumont Health. Our new approach includes analyzing consumer insights and using more research and data to drive decisions. In addition, we've changed from using mostly traditional media to more digital. With a digital focus, we can deliver the content consumers are searching for as they do their research." 

Robert Brooks
COO of Erlanger Health System (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

"The best thing I've ever done professionally is when I flew as a flight nurse prior to moving into administration. When you and your partner are alone with a severely ill or injured patient in an unstable or unfamiliar environment, and you are trusted to stabilize and transport the patient — I can't think of anything more important than that.

"I absolutely love what I do now as a healthcare executive, but my role is now to support the system and advance safety and quality for all the patients we touch, instead of doing the direct patient care. The professionals touching and treating our patients everyday are the true front-line leaders."

Gary Kaplan, MD
Chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Health System (Seattle)

"Almost 20 years ago, I led our executive team on a search for a management system that would best support the long-term goals of the Virginia Mason organization and our vision focused on quality. We looked far and wide before eventually finding our pathway to the future outside the healthcare industry. We adapted principles of the Toyota production system as the foundation for our own creation, the Virginia Mason Production System.

"We use our unique management system to drive innovation across the organization as we strive for continuous improvements in quality and safety. Our management methodology focuses on eliminating waste and engages front-line staff as best positioned to redesign and improve care. This approach creates 'see-feel discovery' experiences for team members at all levels that help show them a way forward and inspires hope for the future. It also differentiates Virginia Mason from many other organizations focused on consolidation and size. I'm proud of our accomplishments at Virginia Mason, but we continue to have much work ahead."

Jan Keys, DNP, RN
Chief Nursing Executive of Erlanger Health System (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

"The best thing I did professionally early in my career was to recognize the need to be around those much wiser than myself. I realized that I wanted to be around people that were going places in their own careers. Relying on my own understanding and experience was just not enough to guide my path through the healthcare arena. 

"Learning from others has been a life-long process for me.  My decision to continue my educational journey came by observing others in the field and how they managed a busy work life, family life yet excelled academically.  Those observations influenced me to seek opportunities and positions that I was not necessarily qualified for and would require learning new skills and methods of management to succeed. 

"To gain full understanding of this learning process, I started my professional career at the lowest level as a nurse tech. I learned every aspect of nursing as I aligned my education with each level of nursing positions from nurse tech to nurse manager. After several years of management and receiving my doctorate in nursing, I accepted the chief nurse executive position at the Erlanger Health System. I credit the success of my professional career to those that encircled me with wisdom and insight, and my realization that I needed what they possessed."

Frank May
CEO of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs, Colo.)

"When there's a decision to make, I routinely ask myself one question — 'What is best for the patient?' That's the one of the best things professionally I've done over the course of my 37 years in healthcare, both in finance and administration. We're here because of our patients; if we put patients and their needs first, we know we're doing the right thing."

Bruce Muma, MD
CMO and Interim President and CEO of Henry Ford Physician Network (Detroit)

"I was part of a team that opened a new hospital [called Henry Ford West Bloomfield (Mich.) Hospital] with an intense focus on improving the patient experience. We essentially looked at all aspects of the patient experience from food to ambiance to clinical policies."    

Michael Pulido
COO of Mosaic Life Care (St. Joseph, Mo.)

"The best thing I have done professionally is watch the growth among the staff and leaders who I have had the privilege to work alongside. This level of fulfillment reinforces the sacredness of the healthcare profession, and to have positively influenced their career in some small way is a tremendous feeling."

Deeb Salem, MD
Co-Interim CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Physician-in-Chief at Tufts Medical Center (Boston)

"The best professional achievement was receiving the Paul Dudley White Award from the American Heart Association," an award that recognizes dedication to cardiovascular or stroke care. 

Cathy Townsend, RN, MSN-L
CNO of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South campuses (Tucson, Ariz.)

"I have had the opportunity to co-lead the clinical quality and patient safety team for nursing professionals within Banner Health. The committee empowers nurses and other healthcare professionals to create and follow evidence-based practices, resulting in excellent clinical outcomes for our patients."

Jack Towsley
President of Fluent Health, a subsidiary of Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Albuquerque, N.M.)

The best professional achievement was "joining Presbyterian to help launch Fluent Health, as it truly is a culmination of my leadership experience across health plans, hospitals and physician organizations. Now, I get to lead an organization that takes Presbyterian's experience in integration across all of those areas to help other health systems accelerate their own transition from volume to value-based care."


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