Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Rekha Daniel-Kimani

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Rekha Daniel-Kimani

Rekha Daniel-Kimani heads Total Rewards, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Strategic Human Resources Growth of BAYADA Home Health Care. Daniel-Kimani joined BAYADA in 2017 as director of benefits and compensation, and then in January 2022, Daniel-Kimani became head of total rewards, DEI, and HR strategy to ensure employees are effectively compensated and recognized and to help both current and prospective employees find their unique connection to BAYADA’s mission and values.

Daniel-Kimani is a certified diversity executive with professional certificates in compensation, benefits, human resources, and global remuneration. She earned her bachelor’s degree in commerce from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Rekha Daniel-Kimani is an important leader in nursing diversity, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

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Meet Rekha Daniel-Kimani, the head of Total Rewards, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Strategic Human Resources Growth of BAYADA Home Health Care.

Talk about your role at BAYADA Home Health Care.

My role at BAYADA is head of total rewards, diversity, equity and inclusion, and strategic human resources growth. While the title is long, the purpose is simple: I care for our greatest asset—our talent. I help make sure our clinicians and caretakers who care for millions of clients worldwide feel that they are personally connected to our mission and values, that they experience a sense of inclusion and belonging, and that they are compensated fairly.

How long have you worked in this field?

I have worked in various HR roles for more than 23 years and have spent six years in healthcare.

How do you support nurses in your role?

Without our clinicians and caregivers, we wouldn’t be able to execute our mission—to help people have a safe home life with comfort, independence, and dignity. They are our largest employee population at BAYADA. I make sure to have a pulse on what they are looking for from a rewards perspective. Expectations have changed with the staffing shortages facing the industry and COVID. I want to understand the needs of different nursing populations and bring a well-rounded global perspective to meeting the needs of our nurses and caregivers.

Why did you choose this field? 

I’m privileged to have fallen into the home health care industry. I love this industry, and I love what I do. When I began to learn more about BAYADA, I discovered a personal connection: my family had utilized BAYADA to care for my niece. Over the last six years, I’ve had the opportunity to showcase the vital work BAYADA does. I’m continually floored by our nurses and caregivers and their incredible impact on our clients and their families. I cannot imagine doing anything else.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

The core values of The BAYADA way—compassion, excellence, and reliability—embody the most essential attributes of today’s nursing leaders. Every home health nurse is a leader each time they walk through the door of a client’s home. They handle the entire client experience, from making the family feel at ease to caring for the client to mapping out a care plan. They are constantly challenged with innovating and responding to the demands of a given moment. That is leadership.

What does being a healthcare leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a healthcare leader means listening closely to understand the intricacies of a challenge, thinking up out-of-the-box solutions, and asking for the expert advice of colleagues. At BAYADA, we don’t hesitate to ask for help or seek opportunities to improve.

I am most proud of our continued progression around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at BAYADA. It’s authentic and grassroots; it’s woven into the experiences of our employees, who play a crucial role in shaping our DEIB program. We regularly solicit employee feedback and act on it. One example is infusing DEIB education into our “White Shoes, White Cap” program. This one-day symposium brings together caregivers and clinicians within a region to network, share best practices, and support one another.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I started my career as an HR intern and have worked my way across and up the career ladder in pharmaceuticals, energy, consumer goods, financial services, and higher education. My experience in pharmaceuticals gave me my first look into health care and how it touches our lives in many ways. Over the last six years at BAYADA, I have fallen in love with home health care. I see daily how our nurses positively affect the lives of others. It’s a privilege to support them.

What is the most significant challenge facing nurses today?

As a human resources professional supporting nurses, the most significant challenge I see our caregivers face is finding a balance between their personal lives and a job they love that demands their all. In addition, we’re experiencing an ongoing and significant nursing shortage.

As a leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

It’s critical to model the behavior you want to see in your employees. You must continuously listen and improve as needs and expectations evolve over time and across nursing and client populations. We must look strategically at the root causes of the nursing shortage and start solving it holistically.

What healthcare leader inspires you the most and why?

I am inspired by the many heroes here at BAYADA who serve our clients daily with compassion, excellence, and reliability. Their dedication to improving our clients’ lives is fuel for me to show up and do my best to make them feel cared for and supported.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Thank you for following your passion and heart. I understand you may not always be shown the appreciation you deserve, but I hope you know how valued you are—your impact is profound. Your kindness, the extra moment you take to laugh and smile with your patients, has a positive effect that cannot be quantified. While you may feel unsure, you are building an enduring legacy.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

Give a moment to thank a nurse—tell them they are appreciated!

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Shauna Johnson

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Shauna Johnson

Shauna Johnson is a registered nurse at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC) in Annapolis, Maryland, and exemplifies the meaning of resilience.

She worked as a tech for LHAAMC more than ten years ago, but then life got in the way. After her mom died of breast cancer, she had to take care of her two brothers (who were 7 and 13 at the time). Eventually, Johnson went to nursing school and got her degree in May 2022. During her last semester, she gave birth and got COVID. At nursing school, Johnson fell in love with working with geriatric patients; now, she works in Luminis Health’s Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit.

Someone at school believed in Johnson so much that they privately funded her education.

She credits Christine Frost, the chief nursing officer at Luminis Health, for being a significant influence in her life. When Johnson first worked at LHAAMC 11 years ago, Frost was her supervisor, providing Johnson with guidance and mentorship.

Shauna Johnson is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

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Meet Shauna Johnson, a Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC) registered nurse.

Talk about your role in nursing.

As a registered nurse at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, I provide optimal care to patients and the community. I love advocating for patients and helping them feel comfortable with their care. As a nurse, I am responsible for assessing, observing, and communicating well with patients. I collaborate with a team of medical professionals to ensure every patient receives the care they deserve.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

I have worked in the nursing field for 15 years. I started as a patient care technician for 14 years and then earned my BSN and RN.

Why did you become a nurse? 

My inspiration to become a nurse started with a nurse who cared for my mom during her last hours of life. It was such a difficult time in my life that I can’t remember much except for this nurse who had so much compassion, love, and dedication. It showed in everything that he did. When I was only 19, I knew I wanted to be the same for others. I made it my mission to be a great nurse to patients, families, and the community.

What sparked your love for working with geriatric patients?

My love for geriatric patients came from my first job in the nursing field as a geriatric nursing assistant. From then on, I respected geriatric patients more and more. Geriatric patients demonstrate incredible strength on a daily basis. Despite a complex medical history, they never give up. Their will and determination to thrive in life are inspiring, and as a nurse, I want to assist in making life worth every moment.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?

Flexibility, love, passion, dedication, and resilience.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

It means being a role model to other nurses and the community, even when off-duty. Despite my challenges, I am proud that I pushed through and achieved my goal of becoming a nurse. I demonstrate my passion for nursing every single day.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

My first year in nursing was as a nursing assistant in a rehabilitation facility. After that, I worked as a patient care technician (PCT) in the Medical Surgical Unit for ten years. Then, I shifted from working with just adults to the Mother/Baby unit as a PCT, where I remained throughout nursing school. After graduating with my BSN, I wanted to work with adults again, specifically geriatric patients. I never gave up and never wanted to be a PCT forever. I kept pushing myself to grow and achieve my goals.

I chose to work at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC) because it is home. Everyone is supportive, loving and caring. The care that Luminis Health provides to the community is outstanding, and this team of caregivers truly exemplifies our mission of enhancing the health of the people and communities we serve.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

The most significant challenge in nursing today is maintaining a healthy work environment. Focusing on mental health and preventing nurse burnout is essential. Our country experienced a historic pandemic, and healthcare workers are still experiencing the residual effects of COVID and how it impacted nursing care. As nurses, we must take care of ourselves to ensure that we can provide optimal care to others.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

Mindfulness is key! That means being mindful, recognizing the importance of self-care, and creating a work environment where others can open up about hardships and mental health issues.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

My former Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Christine Frost, was my supervisor for seven years and a source of inspiration for 14 years. I watched her ascend to her new role as CNO at LHAAMC and remain passionate about nursing and its core values.

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Shauna Johnson with the nursing leader that inspires her the most – Christine Frost, the chief nursing officer at Luminis Health

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

The next generation of nurses should focus on showing passion and empathy rather than mastering every skill. Creating a safe environment for patients to open up and communicate with you about their health gives you so much knowledge on helping to develop the best treatment plan. Listen and assess!

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Nursing is not just a career but a lifestyle. I am constantly thinking and performing as a nurse. There are many avenues in nursing and plenty of room for everyone with a heart. Nursing ROCKS!

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Shelise Valentine

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Shelise Valentine

Shelise Valentine, RNC, MSN, C-EFM, CPPS, CPHRM, is the Director of Clinical Education, Healthcare Risk Advisors, part of TDC Group and chairs nursing, co-chairs obstetric and simulation initiatives, and directs risk management and obstetric education for insured hospital clients to improve patient safety and reduce malpractice risk.

Valentine lectures about patient safety, obstetrical safety, and risk management initiatives. She’s active in various organizations, including the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Better Maternal Outcomes Rapid Improvement Network, and MomsRising. Recently, she presented “Shouldering the Responsibility: Implementation of a Collaborative Shoulder Dystocia Initiative” with her colleagues at the 2022 ASHRM Annual Conference.meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-shelise-valentine

Shelise Valentine is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Shelise Valentine, the Director of Clinical Education at Healthcare Risk Advisors.

Talk about your role in nursing.

I am the Director of Clinical Education at Healthcare Risk Advisors, part of TDC Group. In this role, I chair OB nursing initiatives, co-chair obstetric and simulation initiatives, and direct risk management and obstetric education for insured hospital clients to improve patient safety and reduce malpractice risk.

How long have you worked in the nursing field? 

I have been a nurse for 26 years.

Why did you become a nurse? 

I wanted to support women as they brought life into the world. My passion was to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and deliver babies.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Dynamism, cultural competence, and excellence are among the top attributes of today’s nursing leaders. Nursing is dynamic as patients, acuity, staffing, and medical best practices constantly change. Nurse leaders need to enact new paths for patient safety and the growth of the nurses they lead and not solely react in the moment that a situation occurs. Cultural competence enables nurse leaders to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse patient and nursing population with compassion and respect. Excellence in knowledge, communication, quality, and safety—no matter the realm, the focus should be excellence. This will serve as a model for the nurses you lead, and they will also expect excellence in the quality of care they deliver.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nursing leader means ensuring that the nurses I lead understand and are prepared to be the last defense between harm and the patient. When that new graduate nurse or nurse with 25 years of experience encounters something difficult, personally or technically, they have the tools to address and overcome it and provide the best nursing care to the patient in need.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I knew that I needed a strong nursing background if I was going to manage patients independently, so I decided to work for two years in critical care before going to the L&D Nurse Manager every week and asking her if I had enough experience yet to be hired as an L&D nurse. And finally, one day, she said I did!

This was at a Level 4 acute care hospital, and I was exposed to many complicated, high-risk patients and pregnancies. I became a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP), but through this exposure, I realized it was the high-risk, high-adrenaline environment of the hospital, the labor and delivery suite, and the OR that I wanted to make an impact.

I continued my work as an L&D nurse and taught at an accelerated BSN program. I was recruited to become an assistant nurse manager and hospital-wide nurse education manager. I was comfortable and confident in communicating with physicians and had opportunities to improve patient care, so I was asked to be the Patient Safety Officer in Obstetrics. In this role, I was half of the MD/RN dyad, working with the Medical Director of OB, and I provided the following:

  • Real-time support for nurses and physicians on L&D.
  • Advising on policy formation.
  • Reviews of root cause analysis.
  • The inception of best practices.

The affiliated malpractice insurance carrier asked me to join as Director of Nursing to reduce risk, and today, I am the Director of Clinical Education for physicians and nurses for our hospital clients.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

Staffing. Short staffing affects the ability to provide the best care imaginable and deters current nurses from remaining staff nurses in the hospital setting and new nurses from entering the field. Many nursing schools have waiting lists to attend. Still, unfortunately, our national nursing shortage has not improved because nurses start, but their reality may need to mesh with what they envisioned the nurse role to be. The many comorbidities patients now have, lack of ancillary support, and more attractive opportunities in advanced practice are significant challenges facing nursing today.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

I am passionate about nursing and nursing education, and I convey that passion, excitement, and the possibilities to the nurses I interact with. I work to make nursing care in the hospital safer, more efficient, and lower risk by improving policies, workflow, and documentation practices. I also coach team communication, which has been shown to affect patient outcomes and nurse/physician satisfaction.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Every nurse who showed up to the hospital and provided patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic is an inspiring nurse leader to me. Sacrificing their health for the greater good of their patients, unit, and team will inspire everyone from today’s new student nurse to those at the highest level of nursing leadership for years to come.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?      

Be the change that you wish to see; if there are disparities in care—based on gender, age, ethnicity, etc.—speak up and work to implement changes that recognize and decrease these disparities.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Stacey Garnett

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Stacey Garnett

Stacey Garnett, MSN, RN, PMH-BC, NEA-BC, FACHE, is the vice president and chief nursing officer at Sheppard Pratt, the nation’s largest private, nonprofit provider of mental health services. In the fast-paced and ever-evolving behavioral healthcare field, nursing leaders are crucial in ensuring efficient operations, a supportive work environment for nurses, and providing quality patient care.

Among these dedicated professionals, Garnett stands out as an exceptional leader whose unwavering commitment to serving people in crisis has made a significant impact on the nursing community. As the demand for behavioral healthcare services increases and burnout and staffing shortages weigh on nurses, she serves as a staunch advocate for patients and nurses alike—she recently received the Maryland Hospital Association’s Advocacy Champion Award for her role in helping to pass SB 960/HB 611, a bill that ensures adequate hospital staffing in Maryland.

As a minority leader with more than 30 years of experience in nursing and nursing administration, Garnett continues to lead and inspire future generations of gifted nurses. Her commitments to nurturing talent and diversifying her industry have not only enhanced the capabilities of individual nurses but have also contributed to the overall strength and competence of behavioral health nurse practitioners throughout the state of Maryland and beyond.

Stacey Garnett is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

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Meet Stacey Garnett, vice president and chief nursing officer at Sheppard Pratt.

Empowering Growth

Garnett recognizes the importance of continuous professional growth and exhibits this in her commitment to teaching and mentoring the next generation of skilled nurses. In addition to leading Sheppard Pratt’s nursing team, she also serves as an educator and mentor. Garnett consistently enables her staff, students, and mentees to use educational and professional development opportunities to foster their growth and advancement.

As a leader who has overcome challenges, Garnett recalls being the only African-American student in her undergraduate nursing program. She now serves as a fierce proponent for diversity in the nursing field, creating opportunities for Sheppard Pratt to partner with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). She hopes that others will see representation in the field and continue to seek advancement opportunities.

Garnett’s success and dedication to excellence inspire her staff, students, and mentees. She understands that high-quality care begins with a personal commitment to perseverance in adversity. In 2019, she mentored a student struggling to pass her exam to become an LPN. After working with Garnett to master the material and conquer her testing anxiety, she passed the test and currently works as an LPN in hospice. Garnett’s tenacity and zeal energize her followers to achieve incredible feats.

Championing Patient-Centered Care

At the core of Garnett’s success throughout her 30-year career is a deeply rooted dedication to patient-centered care. As a motivated and passionate leader, she challenges and inspires her staff to prioritize each patient’s care, dignity, and progress during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. She emphasizes the importance of building meaningful connections with patients, their families, and their communities. By actively listening to feedback, encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, and prioritizing patient satisfaction initiatives, she establishes and maintains a patient-first mindset within Sheppard Pratt’s nursing staff. This holistic approach to patient care makes Sheppard Pratt a distinguished leader in behavioral healthcare and a place where patients can expect to be treated with the utmost care and respect.

Driving Excellence

As a transformational leader with a proven track record of generating and building relationships, managing nursing hospital operations, engaging and collaborating with physicians, and maintaining successful regulatory reviews, Garnett maintains a strong focus on delivering exceptional care. By setting these high standards, she has cultivated an environment encouraging continuous improvement and professional development among Sheppard Pratt’s nursing staff.

Garnett played a fundamental role in the launch of Sheppard Pratt’s new Baltimore/Washington Campus hospital in June 2021. Her colleagues have heralded her ability to think strategically as she responded to issues immediately and directly to open the new hospital to the public in June 2021. Her tenacity and innovation during the inception of the new campus, which offers five inpatient units, day hospital programs, and a Psychiatric Urgent Care, both set and maintained a precedent for a high standard of care across the hospital’s operations.

Collaboration and Communication

Effective communication and collaboration are vital in any healthcare setting, but these factors are critical in behavioral healthcare. Garnett truly has a heart for the patient, frequently interacting with them directly on units. She understands and appreciates that everyone has a journey and a story—by actively listening to the people she serves, she gains insight and perspective into the lives of others to help them overcome life’s most difficult challenges. When patients feel their voices are heard, they feel empowered to share their stories—these stories can reveal crucial information about a patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

Garnett fosters a culture of open dialogue and teamwork, where patients, their families, and staff value her as someone with whom they can discuss difficult issues openly, honestly, and without judgment. She actively encourages nurses to voice their ideas, concerns, and suggestions, ensuring that all perspectives are valued and considered. By promoting transparency and maintaining strong lines of communication, Garnett has facilitated a collaborative environment that empowers nurses to work together, resulting in streamlined processes and improved patient care.

Garnett is a beacon of hope for a nation desperately needing passionate and skilled behavioral health nurse practitioners. Her leadership inspires current and future nurses to provide patients with the high-quality care they need and deserve.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Crystal Beckford

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Crystal Beckford

Crystal Beckford is an accomplished healthcare executive with extensive experience in health systems in Maryland and Florida. She has a proven track record in hospital, health plan, long-term care, and health insurance leadership.

In her current role as chief nursing officer (CNO) and vice president of patient care services at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center (LHDCMC), Beckford collaborates with the clinical team, medical staff, and executive team to develop nursing and clinical strategies that promote quality and operational excellence in clinical operations.

Crystal Beckford is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

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Meet Crystal Beckford, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care for Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center.

Talk about your role in nursing.

As the CNO and Vice President of Patient Care for Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center, I provide leadership to our nursing and patient care support team members. I provide coaching, direction, support, and leadership to grow current and future leaders. To be an effective CNO, one of my main objectives is to ensure clear and concise communication with team members to remain focused on our goals and outcomes. Most important, I always remind our teams why we’re here—to provide high-quality, safe patient care.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

I have worked in the nursing field for 32 years. I started my career as a licensed practice nurse for two years and then earned my BSN, RN. To expand my knowledge in health care, I received my master’s in healthcare administration.

Why did you become a nurse?

Since I was about seven years old, I knew I wanted to be a nurse. There were many influential people in my life growing up, and three of them were nurses, whom I admired for their character and work ethic.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?

Flexibility, balance, resilience, humor, humility, passion, and understanding.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Inspiring and influencing others to achieve their greatest potential is truly an honor.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

My first year of nursing was in the medical surgical unit. While at Catholic University, the nuns told us we must complete at least one year of Med/Surg. I quickly learned it wasn’t for me. Critical care was my life’s calling. I was captivated by the equipment, the technology, and the nurses’ knowledge. I practiced in just about every space in critical care, including the intensive care unit, cardiac care unit, open heart surgery, emergency department, and respiratory care unit. I quickly developed strong acumen, knowledge, and skills in critical care. My colleagues saw my potential as a great leader and encouraged me to apply for a managerial role. Once I landed the position, I kept pushing myself to grow in leadership roles because of my passion for the business and the clinical side of healthcare.

I chose Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center to make a difference in my home community. Healthcare equity is a major passion and concern of mine. The hospital has embarked on a $300 million campaign to renovate and expand the nearly 50-year-old campus, including building a women’s health center for inpatient obstetrics services, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Right now, eight out of ten women have to deliver their baby outside of Prince George’s County, and the area’s maternal mortality rate for Black women is 50 percent higher than the national average. As a nursing leader, my mission is to collectively address health inequities, improve health outcomes, and make meaningful changes within our organization and the community.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

The most significant challenge facing nursing today is getting more young people interested in this career. In my role at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center, I’ve made it my mission to speak, teach, coach, and mentor at area nursing schools, historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, and high schools. We offer internship opportunities for students that may lead to future employment. Since approximately 70 percent of our employees (including myself) live within Prince George’s County, we are focused on growing and maintaining our own diverse workforce. One of the reasons I enjoy working here is I’ve felt welcomed the moment I walked through these doors. It has a small southern town feel in a larger community, even though we’re outside Washington, D.C.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

See above. My greatest support is not my words but my actions. I fully support a work-life balance by encouraging my team to take paid time off and offering various types of shifts that fit any lifestyle.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

My former CNO has been my mentor and a source of inspiration for more than 20 years. She is now a COO for a start-up corporation but remains inspirational by being herself. She is smart, wise, humble, and demonstrates humility. She has always been a wonderful person and leader.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Nothing worth doing is easy. Don’t make five minutes of a bad situation your narrative for the day or your entire career. Instead, focus on the positive and good experiences we have as healthcare workers.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

Nursing will always give you more than what you bargained for. Regardless of my title, I am and always will be a nurse.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Robin Geiger

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Robin Geiger

Robin Geiger, DNP, MSN, APRN, NP-C, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, is an accomplished, results-driven, board-certified nurse executive with over 20 years of hands-on clinical leadership experience. Dr. Geiger’s professional focus is on health equity and clinician advocacy, aiming to increase resilience for healthcare providers, improve quality care and create solid support systems through the ACT (Advocacy. Career. Tools) program for all clinicians within the Ingenovis Health brands.

With a long-standing history of assembling impactful and forward-thinking teams emphasizing improving healthcare quality and increasing patient safety, Dr. Geiger’s vast experience includes accreditation and developing policies to support foundational programs through assessment and data analysis.

She previously served as associate dean of academic affairs for the National University School of Health Professions and focused on strategic planning, clinical program development, and academic operations.

Dr. Geiger is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.
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Meet Dr. Robin Geiger, Senior Vice President of Clinician Advocacy of Ingenovis Health.

Talk about your role in nursing. 

As senior vice president of clinician advocacy for Ingenovis Health, I’m pleased to lead our ACT program focused on clinician well-being, resilience, and support. I hold board certification as a nurse executive advanced (NEA-BC) and chair our Chief Nurse Advisory Board, an interdisciplinary advisory group focused on creating solutions for current frontline clinician challenges.

I support the nursing community as much as possible. I serve as an editor-in-chief for a medical publishing company, focusing on nurse practitioner certification and nursing ethics. I also remain current in clinical experience as a board-certified family nurse practitioner (FNP) and co-founder of an NP-owned concierge practice in North Florida.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

I’m surprised to say that I have been working in this field for more than 23 years!

Why did you become a nurse? 

My interest in nursing peaked at an early age. I would hear stories about my grandmother, who was a nurse midwife; stories of how she helped others heal; and the need that would always exist for people to receive healthcare. I would stare at her nursing picture in which she wore a white dress and cap. She was my earliest influence in nursing, someone who looked like me and that I could relate to.

I started with an initial goal of becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). I wanted to handle the most humble and respectful connection of bedside care. I immediately loved it! Being there for some nursing home patients with little-to-no family and supporting them to accomplish daily tasks was important to me. I knew I could grow in nursing and pushed myself to do more.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Today’s key attributes for nurse leaders should incorporate an empathetic, resourceful, and advocacy approach. Considering the social climate when engaging new and existing nurses is important. External factors to keep in the forefront include mental health and bandwidth, which stem from work-life balance, something I like to refer to as a “work-life blend” when assigning and delivering care. Being supportive means including flexible options for staffing that align with a nurse’s history, respect for years of service, and include physical, social, and emotional support.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nurse leader means factoring in previous personal experiences of my own and those around me. An excellent example would be the formation of Ingenovis Health’s interdisciplinary Chief Nurse Advisory Board (CNAB). Solid decisions involve a multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare strategy and design. Multi-disciplinary teams provide a more global lens of how decisions impact all, from the social worker to the clinician and all the people that serve the patient.

I am proud to give back to the community by co-founding a concierge health clinic for the under-served population, creating MSN and DNP programs that consider the working nurse, and developing a clinician well-being program to encourage improved work-life blend and foster resilience – the ACT program.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I’ve touched almost every area of nursing through lived experience, either as faculty, clinician, or leader. My life in nursing began first as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, followed by staffing various ICUs, ER, and OR at a level-one trauma hospital. I became a family nurse practitioner in multiple areas, including as an RN first assist in plastics, orthopedics, and general surgery. I have always mentored nurses along the way, and opportunities to serve as lead faculty, director, and associate dean in academia provided me ample opportunity to do so. I received my most impactful leadership training at the Veterans Health Administration. My career has included national leadership roles as VP of clinical care at a non-profit organization and later as Co-Owner/ CEO of a concierge clinic. My current role as senior vice president of clinician advocacy for Ingenovis Health allows me to combine my previous experience to support all clinicians – I enjoy what I do!

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

Recognizing the importance of self-care is always challenging for nurses. I’m also guilty of this from time to time. Nurses are natural givers, and we often neglect the importance of reflecting on challenges, trauma, and the losses we experience. We provide our best care when we reflect on our experiences and learn from them. Covid was challenging, but we didn’t experience initial trauma and burnout with the pandemic. Nurses are strong – we have constantly been challenged. I’m glad we are now focusing on better health for the nurse, something we have needed for quite some time.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

I’m working daily to be an example of incorporating self-care and eliminating stress. Ingenovis Health supports the ability to grow support and enhance the lives of frontline clinicians through the ACT program. I’m proud to lead this program, focused on providing a voice of advocacy, career pathing/ support, and tools to foster better mental and physical health. I think of the program as ongoing conditioning and strengthening to ensure our clinicians are prepared to lend their best selves to caring in various areas within healthcare.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Dr. Hollier is one of the many nursing leaders that inspires me. I found her certification guidelines and manuals amazingly insightful and well-written from a practical point of view. She inspires my entrepreneurial spirit to create better ways of accomplishing milestones and mentoring others to greatness.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

We are all capable of more. You’ll receive a new challenge when you think you’re comfortable and have it figured out. Grow from each challenge by adding it to your toolbox. You’ll soon have a nice box of tools/ experiences to reach for and share with other nurses.

Allowing yourself to grow through mentorship will open ideas and create life-long connections you didn’t know you needed. Participate in shared governance and nursing associations to strengthen the profession and lend your voice and support.

Finally, consider that one day we will all become patients. You are influencing the future care for your family and yourself. Thinking this way is powerful; this forward-thinking always leads to positive and motivating actions.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

There’s a personal quote I often use, “Everything revolves around the need to receive and deliver education.” This doesn’t apply to academia as it might seem but to life in general. Nurses are life-long learners. We don’t teach emotional and social learning in every education program, but to continue shaping this profession, we must learn how and when to share our stories to inspire others.

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