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Courtright in-step with Memorial’s plan to build leaders

Thu, Jul 28, 2011

One on One

Stefanee Courtright, 38, wanted to be a nurse since she was 7. She just didn’t know what kind of nurse until she started clinical trials in college.

She particularly enjoyed working in specialty areas, such as the intensive care unit, labor and delivery and pediatrics.

She paid her dues at a very small hospital in Walla Walla, Wash., where she covered many areas.

When she moved to Colorado Springs, she quickly rose to the top of that field and in January became the manager of the pediatric inpatient care for Memorial Health System.

What are the challenges associated with your job?

There are many challenges associated with managing the Pediatrics Patient Care Area. With health care across the country, there is the challenge of managing and balancing quality patient care and your bottom line. We too have this challenge.

Seasonal staffing is an example of one of our greatest challenges in that there are typically significantly higher numbers of patients admitted to pediatrics in the winter months.

This presents as an example of how we have to focus on the overall budget for the year and how we have to adjust for seasonal needs in order to provide the same quality care. The great thing about working for Memorial is that there are other departments to help with these challenges. In looking at this example, we have help from the staffing office, HR in developing in the future a seasonal staffing model, other departments throughout the system that allow their staff to cross train, educators that help with training and an amazing staff that works well together. There are other significant challenges too in meeting the needs of patients, staff and all our customers.

Running the Pediatric Patient Care Area seems like an intense job. To what do you attribute your ability to rise to a management position at such a young age?

Memorial Health System builds leaders. The health system provides opportunities for staff to learn and grow as leaders, and I gratefully took those opportunities. I have been at the hospital for almost 14 years and have been given many opportunities to learn skills as a charge nurse, then clinical coordinator (a high-bred position of charge nurse and some administrative duties), interim clinical manager, clinical products analyst (working with the purchasing department) and also a part of a team that helped implement our electronic medical record. So, when I was offered the good fortune of becoming the clinical manager, I was very excited and took the chance to embark on leadership growth.

What do you want to achieve in the future?

My goals are all centered around a long dedication to our children’s hospital, Memorial Hospital for Children, and growing our services for our community and surrounding area.

The leadership team is enthusiastic in its endeavor to develop stronger relationships with surrounding communities and physicians.

We have many quality initiatives that help us to provide the most comprehensive evidenced based care. We participate in NACHRI, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, in development of best care practices for patients while also allowing us to work with other children’s hospitals. I plan to continue this work along with our pediatric team of professionals. I also enjoy building leadership skills in our department’s emerging leaders and hope to continue the trend of developing our leaders from within. To further expand my own knowledge base, I plan to obtain my master’s in nursing degree in the next few years.

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