Elvie Smith

Elvie Smith

Elvie Smith, BSN, RN, CVRN-BC

CHI Memorial Hospital
Chattanooga, Tennessee
United States
Throughout my years of watching Elvie, I have learned that the integrity of the person leading is what creates a great leader. Through integrity and passion, Elvie has led many of us on a journey that perhaps wasn’t where we saw ourselves, but because of something she saw in us.

Every time I see Elvie Smith, whether, in a meeting or just passing her in the hallways, she has a warm and friendly smile.  She is an inspiration to me to always have a positive attitude no matter what challenges a day can bring.  She is supportive to staff and patients.  Her drive to find a solution to any issue is part of her dedication to this company and the people she meets along the way.  With her many years’ experience, she has learned to put others ahead of herself.  She leads by example in her professional and personal life by displaying against all adversity- Reverence, Integrity, Compassion, and Excellence.  What an asset to this company and a big heart.

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One of the attributes of a great leader is the ability to help others with achievement and recognition.  While Elvie always helps others dream more and achieve more she never tries to take the credit that she deserves.  I want to take this opportunity to recognize her for all she does as a leader, friend, and co-worker and for the leadership qualities that she uses to bless those around her.

I started to try and think of a story or event that could do her justice and would help others recognize her for the leader she is and for all she does.  I thought that there is not just one story that could do this, or maybe there is- her story through my eyes.  I would say it is fact. Others would say it is opinion. All would say it is the truth.                                                                                                                              

I have known and worked with Elvie Smith for about 15 years.  During this time, there is not one day that jumps out at me and says this is why she is a great leader, every day stands out.  Elvie is the same every day.  She has a great compassion for the patients and can help them with difficult situations because the patients and families can sense that she truly cares about them.  She shows that same compassion for her staff.  She cares about everyone and respects them as individuals.  The staff feels this and in turn will go above and beyond anything that Elvie asks.  They know that she would do the same for them.  She even helps staff develop themselves and helps them find other positions in the hospital when they are ready to grow.  I have seen people agree to work extra shifts or stay late just because it was Elvie who asked.  They know that she would do the same for them if the roles were reversed.

I and others have great respect and trust in Elvie as a professional.  Sometimes tough decisions have to be made.  I trust her to make these decisions because I know that she has considered the best possible options.  She always starts with “I want to be transparent”.  Most employees leave these meetings with a positive attitude and feel as though they have been mentored.  They know that Elvie does what is right because it is right, regardless of who it is or who is watching.  She is always first to move forward as a leader should.  She does not have to turn and look to see who is following because she has the same trust in the staff that they have in her.  She is often requested to help work on solutions for issues in other areas and she tackles these challenges with a smile.

During the past several months, Elvie has battled health issues that would challenge most people’s faith.  To the contrary, Elvie’s strong spiritual faith in God has helped her through her treatment plan, the months off from work, and the impact of the challenge on her life.  Like I said, “Elvie is the same every day”. When she came back to work she still had the same smile and the positive attitude that she uses to always find the silver lining.  Even after having to be off work for the second time, she came back with her smile and jumped right into putting others’ needs first.  Her dedication to nursing motivates the staff to be the best that they can be and to take care of patients as if they were taking care of their own family.

While writing this, I realize two things: Following Elvie as a leader is easy.  Following in her example may be more difficult.

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Elvie leads with patience and understanding.  She listens carefully to problems or issues you may have and tries to find ways to prevent them from re-occurring.  She never rushes into decisions but considers different options and scenarios to fix issues.

Her work ethic encompasses many facets and it is that ethic that inspires others around her to strive for better outcomes and drives others to reach their objectives.  She has the ability to inspire others to want to be at their best.

As a new nurse, Elvie took me under her wing and taught me not only nursing skills but how also to be a team player and valued co-worker.  Over the next few years, she took time out of her busy schedule to begin to mold me into a charge nurse, then manager.  It is probably often questioned by others what she saw in me.  I never pictured myself in the position I’m in now, but Elvie taught me that being a leader means more than just being a boss.  Being a leader comes from passion and wanting to be the best for others (patients and co-workers).  Throughout my years of watching Elvie, I have learned that the integrity of the person leading is what creates a great leader.  Through integrity and passion, Elvie has led many of us on a journey that perhaps wasn’t where we saw ourselves, but because of something she saw in us.  She is always willing to devote her time and expertise to elevate others.

Elvie leads and lives by always trying to do the right thing.  She truly cares about those she works with and always has time to ask about your family and actually listens to what you have to say.  She is always respectful and has a smile on her face.  I can’t say enough about what an inspiration she has been in my life and in my work!