Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 148 | June 22, 2021

Taking Care Of Our Own - True Nursing Leadership

Dena Carey

Associate Vice President of Women and Infant Health Services at Virginia Hospital Center

Dena Carey

Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Often, I have drawn parallels between the doctor patient relationship and the business leader to employee relationship. For success, both require good communication and trust. Nowhere do these two worlds interconnect more then when it comes to nursing leadership. With all the talk about the problems facing physicians, it’s the nurses who are the face of healthcare. They are the ones in the trenches, holding hands and healing twenty-four seven. Nursing leadership is more important than ever which is why I am super excited to have someone I believe embodies the essence of what leadership is all about. Today, my guest is Dena Carey, Associate Vice President of Women and Infant Health Services at Virginia Hospital Center. As a Med Surg and NICU trained nurse, Dena has focused her latest role to build a team of nurse leaders that are engaged, respected, and dedicated to building a team of staff focused on one goal: delivering the best patient care and experience to the families they serve. As always, Dr. Orsini keeps his promise about two things, that you will feel inspired, and you will have learned valuable lessons to be a better and more compassionate communicator.

We start by hearing Dena’s journey. She talks about Virginia Hospital Center being a gem and a unicorn, and what it has done for her career. On the topic of patient experience, Dena explains that engaged employees are necessary for a good patient experience, and how the people doing the actual work need to be recognized and appreciated every day. She also shares the key to keeping employees happy, the importance of being open and honest, and how she makes sure every day that everybody on her team feels like they have a voice and a valued member of the team. She shares fantastic advice telling us there’s nothing better than a leader going out of their door to talk to the staff because that’s where you’re going to get the real information. We find out how Dena navigated the stress that was put on the nurses and everyone at the hospital during COVID and how motivating and inspiring people is so important to create relationships and promote teamwork. She tells us how she kept herself, and her leaders, sane and positive. Dena shares great advice for young nurse who want to become leaders, and why recognizing people is super important in preventing professional burnout. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit follow, and download all the previous episodes. Go ahead and download this episode now!

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