Category: Women in Health Care

Celebrating Our Nurses

Irene Strejc, MPH, BSN, RN, CENP, ACHE
Vice President Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Richardson Medical Center

One of my favorite times of year is upon us — National Nurses Week. May 6-12 has been set aside as the time for the entire country to celebrate the profession of nursing and thank nurses everywhere for their selfless dedication to others.

My desire to be a nurse started at a very young age. When I was 5 years old, I was hospitalized for flulike symptoms. Even at that young point in my life, I was impressed with the kindness and graciousness of the nurses who cared for me. Perhaps it was because I come from a long line of family members who have deep roots in health care, but I wanted to continue the tradition. When I became a teen, I volunteered at a hospital, then went on to finish a two-year associate’s degree so I could immediately begin caring for others. After working a few years, I realized the vast potential that a nursing career offered, so I went back to school and earned a Bachelor in Nursing then my Master of Public Health.

Each year, I look forward to recognizing nurses during this special week because I think it provides an opportunity to consider the characteristics and values that drive individuals to enter nursing. It also creates a public forum to officially recognize and thank all of our nurses for their selfless dedication to others and the differences they makes in patients’ lives each and every day.

Nursing is the linchpin that brings everything together. Nurses are the eyes and ears of the physicians when they can’t be at the hospital. Working together, physicians and nurses can provide timely, appropriate, patient-centered care. Physicians tell us every day how much they appreciate the spirit of partnership they share with our nurses as they work to achieve the best possible patient outcomes. Year after year, patient surveys indicate that nurses are one of the most trusted members of the health care team. In fact, patients’ attitudes toward their nurses are the most highly correlated components of the patient experience in terms of overall satisfaction. We consistently receive comments from patients thanking their nurses for keeping them informed throughout their care, teaching them about caring for themselves once they leave the hospital, and demonstrating an ability to anticipate their needs before they have to push the call light.

What is the profile of a good nurse? First, nurses have a strong altruistic need to care for people at the most vulnerable times of their lives. There’s no greater contribution you can give to others than to be with them, care for them, and support them and their families during times of personal health crises. In general, nurses are also highly intelligent, good problem solvers, caring and compassionate, dedicated to their profession and to the well-being of their patients, and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of their patients.

As I speak with nursing graduates today, two themes come through loud and clear. First, nursing is a financially rewarding career that weathers economic down turns. Second, it offers many career options — hospital, physician’s office, rehab, hospice, home health, case management, quality assurance, insurance companies, state agencies, and many other related careers.

At Methodist Richardson Medical Center this week, we are holding several celebratory events that will feature guest speakers, food, and time to socialize with fellow nurses. We’ll be doing clinical rounding throughout the hospital to support our nurses where they work. In addition, we will be presenting two awards — Nurse of the Year and Rookie Nurse of the Year — as we springboard into celebrating National Hospital Week the following week. Our celebrations are from the heart, overflowing with deep appreciation and admiration.

Truly it’s a special privilege to stand with each one of our nurses every day. Caring for our patients and their families is a team effort and each member is an all-star. Together, nurses and other members of the care team are improving clinical care and enhancing the level of service we provide to those who trust us with their overall health and well-being.

If you’re ready to celebrate your career as a nurse, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at

© Methodist Health System


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Seven Methodist Health System Nurses Named to Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 2015

Do you remember the classic movie that was released in 1960, “The Magnificent Seven?” The movie focused on a small town that hired seven men to help protect its citizens. We think all of our nurses are magnificent, and especially the seven Methodist Health System nurses who have been named DFW Great 100 Nurses 2015. This award is recognized throughout the nursing community in the DFW Metroplex as an esteemed honor and prestigious accomplishment. Here are brief snapshots of each of the distinguished honorees. We are proud to call them family.

Sherri Floyd, BSN, RN, Risk Manager, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Sherri has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 22 years. She spent 19 years in the surgical intensive care unit and the last three years in the risk management department.

“The most important value a Great 100 Nurse can have is passion. Nurses are compassionate by nature, but we must have that passion, that fire in the gut, to facilitate change and growth. My goal as risk manager is to assure that each bedside nurse can make a difference for all patients. I work daily with nurses and managers to increase patient safety as well as that of the employee. I have driven from Fort Worth to Methodist Dallas all of these years because Methodist is my family. I can’t imagine working at any other hospital.”

Karrie Klein, RNC-OB, Staff Nurse, Labor and Delivery, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
Karrie has been a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist Mansfield since 2008.

“The most important value a Great 100 Nurse can have is commitment — commitment to making nursing your lifestyle, not just a 12-hour job. Sometimes, an empathetic nurse is all the family and visitors have to look forward to. Everything we do supports families and patients when they are at their most vulnerable. I think a Great 100 Nurse has an innate gift of unconditional compassion and a mission to promote quality of life. We work to positively impact not only our patients, but also our work unit by finding ways to improve patient care and satisfaction. That also means reaching beyond the hospital’s doors and into the community to provide education and promote community health.”

Cindy Lantz, RN, Nurse Manager, Observation Unit, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Cindy has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 15 years.

“I feel very humbled to receive this award. I work with a great team of people. I truly love being a nurse, and I hope I am helping to make a difference for others. My philosophy is that we shouldn’t define our patients by their diagnoses. Every patient has a story, a reason that brought him or her to our doors, a life before he or she became sick or injured. I make it a point to take a few minutes to talk to each of my patients about their life, to get to know them as a person, not just a diagnosis.”

Cassie Oden, RN, CEN, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Cassie has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for seven years.

“I am very pleased to have been selected as one of DFW’s Great 100 Nurses. I never thought I would be chosen for such an award. It is such an honor. I have always strived to give my best to every patient. In the emergency department (ED), we deal with people of all ages with a wide range of injury and illness acuity. A large part of our job is providing compassionate care to our patients and comforting their family during life-changing events. This is especially important after the death of a loved one. My advice to other nurses is to give the best care you can to every patient. Be compassionate and remember that the patient’s family needs care, too. Never stop learning or improving yourself.”

Nancy Valant, BSN, RN, CEN, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Nancy has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 29 years. She was a member of the first intensive care unit (ICU) internship class.

“There are several values that a Great 100 Nurse has — integrity, experience, knowledge, respect from co-workers and management, and the willingness to keep learning. After spending seven years in the ICU, I transferred to the ED for a more active environment and have been here ever since. I love the teamwork and the cohesiveness, plus we see a great variety of patient illnesses and trauma. I feel I can make a difference in the lives of my patients, and I get a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from my job that I don’t get anywhere else.”

John Vo, MSN, RN, Director, Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Services, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
John has been with Methodist Dallas for 14 years.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized as a Great 100 Nurse. Why am I in nursing today? When I was in college, I had to be hospitalized. There, I experienced two kinds of nursing care — one nurse who was compassionate and caring and another who was not so much. That influenced my career decision to go into health care and be the kind of nurse who patients and families could really depend on. I am committed to give them the very best care possible. Today, when I talk with nurses who are considering changing jobs, I tell them to come to Methodist. ‘You won’t get lost in a big corporate structure. The culture is welcoming and friendly. And everyone is willing to help.’ I’m blessed to work with such a talented group of people.”

Judy VonEhr, RN, BSN, Manager, NICU and Neonatal Transport Team, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Judy has been with Methodist Dallas for two years.

“I always wanted to be a nurse, so it’s no surprise I’ve had a 36-year nursing career. My passion has always been to work with children, so I eventually became a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. The greatest gratification I get from my work is taking care of a very small infant who may be really sick, then seeing that child with his or her family thriving a few years later. Seeing what a difference I can make for these babies and their families is so rewarding. Methodist is one of the greatest places I’ve ever worked. Every day I feel that I’m supported by my colleagues and by our leadership.”

The DFW Great 100 Nurses was launched in 1991 as a celebration that raises the awareness of the area’s 40,000 practicing nurses’ contributions, including patient care, research, leadership, education, and community service. In addition, the celebration builds the image of nursing through positive reinforcement of the profession as a scientific art and the recognition of those who exemplify excellence. It is a special honor for a nurse to be nominated by patients, their family members, peers, former teachers, physicians, and administrators.

If you’re ready to join a great organization that emphasizes professionalism, collaboration, and accountability to each other, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at

© Methodist Health System


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Meet the New Chief Nursing Officer at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

By Nora Frasier, MBA, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

Have you ever been so happy to be with a company at a certain time in your career that you needed to pinch yourself to make sure you weren’t dreaming? That pretty much sums up how I feel about my new role as chief nursing officer at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Being the new kid on the block at a wonderful hospital is always exciting. And joining the leadership team just in time to celebrate the groundbreaking for the new 118-bed patient care tower is icing on the cake. I can’t think of a better time to be a nurse, especially at Methodist Mansfield.

What do I have to offer? With more than 20 years in nursing leadership, I have been enriched by experiences in several institutions of varying sizes and types (nonprofit and for-profit, 98 beds to 1,100 beds, academic and community-based). I am privileged to serve as an appraiser team leader for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program®, the most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes. My role with the Magnet Recognition Program enables me to experience the cultures of many wonderful hospitals during on-site surveys to assess their compliance with program standards and readiness for Magnet designation. Every time I walk into a hospital that clearly values excellence in nursing, it’s tremendously reenergizing. The direction that Magnet is moving today places more emphasis on outcomes, paving the way for hospitals to thrive in the future. And today, almost 50 percent of the Magnet standards are focused on outcomes. That’s a positive change for hospitals.

There were many reasons I chose to join the Methodist Mansfield family. It was exciting to be part of a growing organization, one that has been voted a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal for 10 years in a row. And it was thrilling to join a hospital that had begun the Journey to Magnet Excellence® status where we can integrate best practices from other Magnet hospitals into our nursing model at Methodist Mansfield.

Even though it’s only been a few months since joining Methodist Mansfield, I’m already filled with the pride and dedication that permeates the entire community. Here, we take our community tagline, “We Are Mansfield” seriously. Everyone understands that Mansfield is a special place to live and work. The entire Methodist Mansfield family realizes and appreciates the trust and dependence that the community places in us to care for their health and well-being. I’m also struck with how quality is a driving force throughout the entire Methodist Health System. We expect nothing less than the best clinical outcomes for our patients and that guides all of our efforts and energy.

What is my philosophy of care? The mantra I espouse is adapted from learnings from a study that found that patients want three things, which we work to deliver every day as caregivers in the hospital:

  1. First, they want to be safe. We’re focused on patient safety, and we communicate our commitment to safety with patients, their families, and with each other every day.
  2. Second, they want to be healed. We coach nurses to be coordinators of the patients’ care team and to partner with patients to set care goals and carry out the plan of care.
  3. Third, they want to be treated with respect and dignity, like we would treat members of our own family.

To nurses who are looking for a new opportunity to develop and advance their careers, I say consider Methodist Mansfield. The opportunity for growth is unparalleled, regardless of whether you are a new graduate or a veteran nurse with many years of experience at the bedside. We encourage nurses to pursue their professional development through advanced academic education, the Clinical Advancement Program, and participation in shared governance.

If you’re ready to join a growing organization, one with an unwavering commitment to improving and saving lives and caring for each other, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Celebrating the Spirit and Dedication of Our Nurses

By Tony Paterniti, PhD, RN
Director of Education
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Today is the last day of National Nurses Week, an annual observance dedicated to the high calling of the nursing profession and honoring those who have chosen to serve others.

Across Methodist Health System, we strive to honor and recognize our outstanding nurses throughout the year. We do this in many ways:

  • Our professional advancement program enables nurses to move up in their careers and provides opportunities to recognize their achievements as they progress from novice to seasoned caregiver.
  • Our unit-based council structure provides an avenue for nurses to give input on caring for patients on their unit and throughout the hospital.
  • Our collaborative nursing program with El Centro College encourages not only our employees but also their family members to become registered nurses.
  • Our generous tuition reimbursement program inspires our nurses to continue the lifelong pursuit of nursing education.

Perhaps no other human being has had a greater impact on health care than Florence Nightingale. A young Victorian woman born to a wealthy family, she heard the whisper of God’s voice to improve the well-being of her fellow man by improving the perception and skills of the primary caregivers — nurses. Her efforts added enormous credibility to the profession of nursing, raising it from a rudimentary practice to a noble service. Her gift was adding the human touch to caregiving, something that was missing up to that time. Her efforts to formalize nursing education eventually impacted health care delivery in every corner of the world. To bolster the effectiveness of the nurse, Nightingale worked diligently to change the physical environment in the hospital to be more conducive to the practice of nursing.

This year, Methodist Dallas Medical Center is bringing a special exhibit to the community to celebrate our nurses and their noble calling. The Florence Nightingale exhibit will be open from 2 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 21, in the main lobby of the hospital. The exhibit will provide a look at the development and history of the nursing profession. We feel this is one of the best ways to honor our nurses and recognize the critical role they play in helping our patients heal.

One of our educators is re-creating the dress that Nightingale wore. In fact, the lace being used on the dress and bonnet is from England. The exhibit features:

  • First-edition works by Florence Nightingale
  • Books from her personal library
  • An artisan’s representation of the pin given to her by Queen Victoria
  • And much more.

We hope you will make plans to help us celebrate nursing and our wonderful nurses by attending the Florence Nightingale exhibit — especially if you are a nurse. You’ll come away from the experience with a greater appreciation about the roots of your profession and how her spirit belongs to mankind. Because of her dedication, her work continues through you and your colleagues. You are the spiritual descendant of Florence Nightingale. You could belong to no better family.

If you’re ready to make a historic change in your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Visit

© Methodist Health System


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Giving Thanks for Our Nurses

By Karla Ramberger, MSN, RN
Chief Nursing Officer, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

America has a wonderful, unique tradition of setting aside one day each year to give thanks for our many blessings. While many feel that this spirit of thankfulness should be observed daily, I’m proud to say that thanking and appreciating

each other is our culture at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

We are especially thankful for our nurses and for their personal commitment to caring and dedication to our patients. I’m thankful that our nurses choose to be a part of our family, and that each one is dedicated to excellence in care. They could work anywhere, but they’ve chosen to align with our values and care for our patients. I’m thankful for their heartfelt compassion and connection with our patients, something that can’t be taught, but something we definitely look for when we’re hiring caregivers.

Vision is critical, and our hospital has the goal to be the best. Our leadership team works to support our nursing staff each day. They realize that nurses are what make a hospital great.

I’m also thankful that I was a bedside nurse. This experience has equipped me to understand and represent our nurses in my day-to-day responsibilities. That’s why I’m a firm believer in thanking and rewarding our nursing staff by providing opportunity for meaningful career development and leadership advancement.

Top 10 lists are certainly in vogue these days, and I want to share with you my top 10 reasons I’m thankful for our nurses:

  1. For the sacrifices they make each day for others.
  2. For working nights, weekends, and holidays, and not choosing a traditional 8-to-5 job.
  3. For being patient advocates and speaking up on behalf of our patients.
  4. For being willing to continue to learn about the latest advances and grow in their position.
  5. For sharing a vision for excellence in care and being dedicated to the vision.
  6. For their high level of professionalism.
  7. For their dedication to each patient and family experience.
  8. For choosing Methodist Dallas over other hospitals as the place to grow their careers.
  9. For making Methodist a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal for the ninth year.
  10. For caring about each other.

I often hear our caregivers say, “I’m just a nurse.” But in truth, what they think is ordinary is actually extraordinary! From reviving someone who’s collapsed to comforting a family member to holding a tiny baby fighting for life, they’re so much more than “just a nurse.”

It’s an honor to serve in my nursing leadership role, and a privilege to be the voice for our front-line nurses every day. Please know my thankfulness and gratitude extends beyond just one day a year. I’m thankful for your presence, your skills, and your compassion, every single day.

If you’re looking for a rewarding place to develop your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting


© Methodist Health System


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10 Reasons Why Nurses Are Amazing

By Fran Laukaitis, RN, MHA
Chief Nursing Officer, Methodist Charlton Medical Center

I love National Nurses Week. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. This week, at Methodist Health System we’re having a wonderful celebration to honor the extraordinary nurses who are part of the Methodist family. What’s more, we’re kicking off the DAISY Award program to further recognize our nurses (more about that later).

National Nurses Week gives us an opportunity to publicly thank our nurses and let them know that we are proud to be here with them as they make a difference to others every single day. They are a blessing for patients and they are a blessing to me personally as their nurse leader.

Why are nurses so special? Here are the top 10 reasons why nurses are truly amazing.

  1. Selflessness. Nurses give so much of themselves to others every single day.
  1. Flexibility. Our staff works tirelessly to deliver the high-quality care our patients and their families have come to expect from Methodist. With self-scheduling, nurses are usually able to find ways to juggle rewarding careers with the needs of their families.
  1. Passion. Nurses are passionate about what they do, which explains why they work hours others wouldn’t consider working, including evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. And yet, it can be magical to work in a hospital on Christmas morning with patients who appreciate the sacrifices and the care that nurses give them on that special day — as well as each day of the year.
  1. Compassion. The spirit of caring for others extends beyond nurses’ patients to encompass their co-workers, the organization, and the entire community. They come in early. They stay late. They trade shifts so others can attend important family events. They give, give, give.
  1. Humor. Nurses excel at having a sense of humor that many patients appreciate during difficult times.
  1. Connecting with patients. Caring for patients involves more than caring for their physical well-being. It’s not unusual for nurses to do extraordinary things for patients, like celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, bringing a Christmas gift to a patient who has no family, and many other thoughtful acts that contribute immeasurably to the overall patient experience.
  1. Putting patients first. Our nurses are guided by a simple but crucial principle — do what’s best for the patient.
  1. Sharing. Whether at the beginning of life or at the end, or anywhere in between, nurses are there to share the most important milestones with their patients as well as some of their toughest days. Patients may not realize it, but they impact and shape our lives too. I cherish the memories of so many of my patients from many years ago.
  1. Trust. It’s not lost on our nurses that their profession is one of the most trusted in the United States. Not only is this an honor, it is a responsibility to meet patients’ and families’ expectations every day.
  1. It’s our calling. It is our life’s work. For all of us at Methodist, nursing isn’t just a job, it’s our life, our calling, and we can’t imagine doing anything else.

Earlier I mentioned the DAISY Award. We are proud to launch this special nursing recognition at Methodist during National Nurses Week. Nominations will be accepted throughout the year, and an honoree will be selected from each Methodist hospital four times per year. The DAISY Award grew out of the grief of one family’s loss and their desire to thank the wonderful nurses who took care of their loved one during his final days. You can read more about this award at

If you’re looking for an amazing place to be a nurse, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Marching to Support the Health of Babies

By Pam Gessling, BSN, MBA, NEA-BC, RNC-OB, EFM-C
Director of Nursing for Women and Children’s Services,
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

April 21 is a day that many Methodist Health System employees are looking forward to. That’s the day we get to show our true color — Methodist blue — by supporting the health of babies in our community by participating in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies.

Why are we so passionate about this event? Everyone in Women and Children’s Services knows someone who has had a premature baby. They’ve seen the impact that premature births can have on babies and their families in terms of future health challenges and ongoing costs of care. They know that if prematurity can be prevented, the health of the community benefits.

Last year, more than 1,200 Methodist walkers raised a total of $144,000, the second-highest amount raised by any company in Dallas, and the largest amount raised by any health care organization. Participation in the Walk counts toward community service and nurses can use it toward the requirements for their clinical ladder points. Various activities are conducted at the Methodist campuses, fueling a friendly rivalry that propels our fundraising efforts to new heights each year.

During the past two years, the March of Dimes has provided more than $80,000 in grants and funding to the Life Shines Bright Pregnancy Program. Part of Methodist’s mission is to drastically reduce preterm birth rates in the Methodist Dallas Medical Center service area which unfortunately has one of the highest preterm delivery rates in the nation.

Through our Golden Cross Academic Clinic, which serves patients’ wellness and chronic-illness management needs as well as trains physicians, we started a prenatal care model at Methodist Dallas Medical Center called Centering Pregnancy. Groups of moms-to-be with similar gestational periods participate

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in prenatal education on a regular basis to guide their care. We’re thrilled with the results that our efforts have achieved. From a preterm delivery rate of more than 20 percent three years ago, we have reduced the incidence to 6 percent today. We can truly see the results of our walking efforts translated into improved health for the babies and their families in our communities.

If I were a nurse considering a health care organization for my career, I would ask three questions about its support for the community:

  • Do you give back to the community?
  • How do you assess community needs to select organizations to support?
  • How much employee support do you have for these initiatives?

Why do I give back? I’ve volunteered for the March of Dimes for 25 years. My commitment, like that of most volunteers, stems from my personal experience. I was a premature twin. My sibling didn’t survive. I just want to make a difference for someone else. Everyone deserves their full nine months of gestation to help assure a healthy start in life.

If you’re searching for a career that benefits not only the patient but the community as well, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System



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Never Say Never When It Comes To Your Nursing Career

By Jeanne Reeves, RN, BSN, MS
Vice President of Nursing, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

When I think about the twists and turns my nursing career has taken over the years, I’m reminded of the famous Beatles song, “The Long and Winding Road.” From nursing school graduation in Kentucky in 1985 to caring for patients in a med-surg and ICU hospital setting to becoming a traveling nurse to then being promoted to management, I never could have imagined all of the opportunities I’ve experienced. And my greatest achievement came five-and-a-half years ago when I took my current position as chief nursing officer for a brand-new hospital, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

My decision to become a nurse was made at a very early age. I became septic and was in and out of the hospital over the course of almost two years. When my mom had to leave for the day, the nurses became my family, watching over me and giving me great care. I never forgot that experience. To me, even at that young age, there was no greater calling than to give of yourself when people are at the frailest point in their lives, caring for them and nurturing them back to the highest level of health possible.

New graduates often ask me what was the best career advice I received? Three things come to mind:

  • Never say never. I remember, as an eager new graduate, resolutely stating that I never wanted to leave the bedside. But the opportunities that became available to me enabled me to develop into a leader. And I’ve found that leading bedside caregivers is as rewarding as being at the bedside.
  • Don’t limit yourself. Be open to new experiences. We’re all products of our environment and experience. You may be surprised what you learn by stepping outside your comfort zone. I think being open to new opportunities has made me a stronger leader and person.
  • Never stop learning. If you ever get to the point that you think you know it all, think again. Everything in health care continues to change. We can’t stay stagnant while remaining true to our calling to provide the best care possible to our patients.

If I were a new nurse just embarking upon my career and looking for stable, long-term employment, I would look for an organization that:

  • Provides a positive work environment.
  • Provides the resources for and encourages continual learning.
  • Invests in its employees, personally and financially.
  • Provides employees with the flexibility they need to succeed.
  • Walks the walk of being truly patient-centered.

I’m so glad my career path brought me to Methodist Mansfield. Ultimately, we’re here for the patients and to give them our best. As a nurse at Methodist, you’ll be cared for just like we care for our patients. We really are a family.

If you’re ready to follow a new career path, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Women: Advancing to the Executive Suite

Pamela Stoyanoff, CPA, MBA, Chief Operating Officer of Methodist Health System, offers tips to women who want to advance to

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executive roles in health care.

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