The Corner Office: Quick Thoughts From Dr. David Bailey of Nemours

David Bailey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based children's health system Nemours, took the time to answer our seven questions.

Dr. Bailey has held his current position since 2006. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps before his interest in healthcare administration piqued. He earned his masters of business administration and joined Nemours Children's Clinic in Orlando in 1997 to later become CEO all Nemours physician practices in Florida. In 2003, he was appointed the first COO of the system.

Dr. Bailey has been married to his college sweetheart, Ginny, for 40 years. They have three daughters. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology from West Virginia University, graduating magna cum laude. He went on to earn his medical degree from Pennsylvania State University and completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Bailey later earned his masters of business administration at the University of South Florida. Dr. David Bailey

What's one thing (an event, idea, person) that really piqued your interest in healthcare?
One of my earliest memories is reading a children's book about Edward Jenner, an 18th century physician scientist whose pioneering work with immunization ultimately led to the eradication of smallpox. From that time, I cannot recall ever wanting to become anything other than a physician.

What do you enjoy most about the city of Jacksonville?
Jacksonville offers a wonderful quality of life with many things to treasure throughout the region. What I enjoy most is the wide, nearly unpopulated ocean beach at the Guana River Preserve. Being there is more than fun — it nourishes the soul.

If you could eliminate one the healthcare industry's problems overnight, which would it be?
If I could wave my magic wand, I would have the population and the healthcare system truly embrace wellness and prevention. The impact on mortality, cardiac events, joint replacements, diabetes and hypertension — to name just a few conditions — would be enormously positive, not to mention the huge reduction in healthcare costs that would follow.
What do you consider your greatest talent or skill outside of the C-suite?
I happen to be an introvert who enjoys people. To be still and listen is a skill that fits my personality. I hope, and people have remarked to me, that I listen with empathy. This has been of tremendous value, both outside and inside the C-suite.

How do you revitalize yourself?  
My touchstone is my wife and family. Whether it's a quiet dinner, playing catch with my dog or a raucous family outing to the beach, these times re-energize me and remind me why I am in healthcare.

What's one piece of advice you remember most clearly?
After a very busy night on call as a pediatric intern at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I found myself on the receiving end of a particularly brutal morning report. Afterward, the senior resident who had been on call with me, sensing my frustration and dejection, told me, "Never let them get you down" (although the language was much more colorful). He went on to talk about how preparation, resiliency and a long-term view were necessary to living that philosophy. That advice has been part of me ever since.   
What do you consider your greatest achievement at Nemours so far?
Healthcare and the business of healthcare are "team sports" at Nemours, so claiming a singular achievement is difficult. That said, I am proud of leading the effort to create a very sharp focus throughout the entire organization on delivering great outcomes and great service. When a health system reliably does that, everything else falls in place.

More Articles on Hospital and Health System CEOs:

The Corner Office: Quick Thoughts From Randy Oostra of ProMedica Health System
4 Hospital, Health System CEOs Share New Years' Resolutions
20 Hospital and Health System Leaders to Follow on Twitter

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