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Rush COO Gives Candid Talk at C-Suite Breakfast

By Dan Seals, Vice President, Business Development, MPA Healthcare Solutions and a member of the CHEF Chapter Communications Committee

“My CFO has a saying: We are a healing company first, not a holding company,” said Cynthia Barginere, DNP, RN, FACHE.   She serves as the Senior Vice President and COO of Rush University Hospital, where she hosted a C-Suite Breakfast on September 20th.  Ms. Barginere appreciates the CFO’s comment because she is always pulled in two different directions.  On the one hand, she strives to have a hospital that provides  the best care possible to patients.  On the other hand, she has to make make sure that resources are used efficiently and within budget, so that Rush can continue to operate.   “It’s not always easy to balance,” Ms. Barginere said.

Much of her talk focused on what she has learned over her career.  For example, after serving many years in multiple hospitals she observed that “you can lead in any kind of model as long as there is clarity, transparency, and leadership.”  It is more about the people than the model.  She also gave a snapshot of how she starts each day.  “Every day is not different.  Each morning I look at admissions, length of stay, the number of surgeries, the number of ED visits, etc and then huddle with my team to figure out what needs to be done.”

Finally, as someone who joined Rush in 2011 as the Chief Nursing Officer, she offered a few thoughts on nursing and how it might change in the near future.  “Nurses are the ones who stop bad things from happening,” she said, so their importance to healthcare is fundamental.  But the job of nursing is changing.  Nurses have increasing responsibilities that sometimes take them beyond their training.   “It is hard to coordinate healthcare professionals who are better educated than you are,” Ms. Barginere stated.  She offered two elements of a solution to the nursing shortage that many expect to come in the near future.  First, “colleges need to figure out how they are going to train more nurses.”  She went on to say that “we also need to get more savvy about the care delivery model itself,” suggesting that there may be efficiencies to be gained through the better use of data and technology.

The gathering was organized by CHEF and held at the Searle Conference Center on the campus of Rush University Medical Center.  To find out about future events visit CHEF website and click on events.


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