Although I’ve only more recently had the opportunity to get to know Vicki at more than just a superficial level, she is someone who has had a presence in my time here at St. John Hospital and Medical Center from very early on. My relationship with Vicki began, simply, with hearing her name come up time and time again. I would be in a meeting discussing policies and someone would advise to reach out to Vicki for help. I was brainstorming ideas regarding a potential research project and I was directed to Vicki for more support. I showed up at a Council for Healing Integration meeting, my first introduction to Holistic Nursing at SJH&MC, and there sat Vicki. I’d be in a huddle where leasers were throwing around ideas for a process change and in would step Vicki to advocate for frontline staff involvement in the decision, as they are the people doing the work and/or process.
As my own nursing career has transitioned from the bedside to more administrative, I have been able to collaborate with Vicki on work through our health system. As the ‘mother’ of shared governance and the facilitator to the fabrication of our Professional Practice Model, as well as her position as lead faculty for the East Region Holistic Nursing Intensive, Vicki is the true embodiment of a Nurse Leader who makes a difference in patient care by making a difference through her leadership. She is often a voice for those who are unsure of the best ways to be heard. She is a mentor to current and aspiring leaders throughout our health system through her dedicated involvement in nurse-driven decision making groups. And, I feel, most importantly, she is devoted to equipping staff, old or young, new experiences, bedside or administrative, throughout the hospital and across all professions and/or disciplines with the compassion, knowledge, and environment that they need to provide our patients with the safest, highest quality, mind-body-spirit care possible.
Not only does Vicki lead by example as a mentor and role model through the work that she does at SJH&MC and throughout the system, she also readily challenges others to extraordinary behaviors. She works to motivate nurses through professional development, to empower everyone around her to a higher level of being, and to create enthusiasm around the shared vision of SJH&MC, SJP health system, and Ascension Health. Through our more personal relationship, I know that this work, more often times than not, is not as easy as she lets on. Even with great responsibility at home (In respect of her privacy, I won’t say much, but I postulate that it’s more than the average Joe), the ever changing field of health care, and the hamster wheel that can sometimes be a long tenure as a nurse, Vicki shows up to do the work every day with her head held high. I have gathered that this season of her nursing career is about legacy building, and I believe she is doing just that very effectively. She has spent her career planting seeds and now she is giving those seeds the nutrition they need to flourish for years to come. Patients, nurses, UAPs, medical professionals, etc. are blessed to have Vicki in their lives in ways that, I’m sure, they are not even aware; I know I am.