How Caryl Ryan worked her way up from nurse to COO

Caryl Ryan, RN, currently serves as the COO of UConn John Dempsey Hospital and chief nursing officer and vice president for quality and patient care services for the system, but it has been a long journey to get there. Using her experience as a nurse as well as technical skills taught along the way, Ms. Ryan worked her way up to a top job, UConn today reported July 21. 

She started her career in Philadelphia at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital right after graduating by working in a neurocritical care unit where she had her first taste of managing and nursing care coordination. She then joined the UConn team in 1985 as an ICU nurse until she was promoted to assistant nurse manager.

In 2013 a consultancy pulled her out of her regular duties in UConn to strengthen her managerial skills and budget literacy.

"Participating in the [consultancy] was an unbelievable experience," said Ms. Ryan. "I think that it really has come to benefit me in the roles that I have served."

In 2019, she was promoted again to interim chief nursing officer and vice president for quality and patient care services, roles that later became permanent. Her experience as a member of the front-line healthcare workforce as well as additional managerial growth opportunities have prepared her for her current role.

"I have always strived to be a leader who is authentic and can have the hard, crucial conversations because there are many difficult and challenging conversations to be had," she said. "When I look at the past two and half years, we wouldn't be half as successful if we didn't have such great collaboration within our leadership teams, including our faculty leadership." 

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