Healthcare professionals are trained to work with science, data and facts. But when the pandemic hit, leaders had to grapple with working through the unknown. According to Jill Case-Wirth, senior vice president and chief nurse executive of Wellstar Health System, core tenets of leadership, such as communication, courage, and the ability to establish trust, remained constant, while other characteristics moved more clearly into focus in 2020.
“Humility rose to the forefront,” Case-Wirth said. “You had to be comfortable being able to say, ‘I don’t know, but together we’re going to figure this out … and we’re going to do the best that we can with the information we have available.’”
“We learned a lot of things during COVID about leading differently that we shouldn’t let go of now,” she said.
Case-Wirth shared that data analytics is one of those growth areas for today’s healthcare leaders. Having the ability to review data, gain consensus on the insights, and then quickly develop a plan for an actionable change management strategy is essential for future successful leaders. As a registered nurse, Case-Wirth also places an imperative on planning for the future of nursing, pioneering a career pathway program that starts as young as middle school. In addition to partnering with local universities and technical colleges, she emphasized the importance of being “thoughtful that we have these programs in diverse communities” to reach a wide student population and grow a diverse workforce for the future.
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Case-Wirth was also featured among other healthcare leaders in the article “Leadership for Intense Times” in the November/December issue of Healthcare Executive Magazine.