Joanne A. Miller, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, has been named senior vice president for patient care services and CNO for St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, N.Y., a member of Continuum Health Partners. Miller joined St. Lukes-Roosevelt in 2010, and before being named CNO in February, she was the facilitys vice president of administration with a focus on perioperatives services, anesthesia, materials management and transportation.
Embracing the philosophy of servant leadership, Miller is clear about her responsibility to serve and lead. Front and center is her commitment to help nurses in the process of professional engagement and leadership development. Leading by example, she asks everyone to fully commit themselves and invest their best efforts at work. “So many have already thanked me for listening, for inspiring them and for taking the time to talk with them,” Miller said. “In turn, they inspire me.”
On two units, there are multidisciplinary task forces already in full swing working on issues such as call lights, patient flow and discharge instructions. “At the meetings, I listen, facilitate and collaborate, and now we have the beginnings to develop a shared governance model,” Miller said. “Its all about empowering RNs to make decisions and to help them in the process.”
Miller is not new to shared governance. As CNO at two other facilities that developed shared governance, she is confident about its success at St. Lukes-Roosevelt.
Before arriving at St. Lukes-Roosevelt, Miller served as senior vice president, patient care services at Union Hospital in Elkton, Md. Before her tenure at Union, she spent more than 20 years at Connecticut-based hospitals in progressive leadership positions, including CNO at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington and the Waterbury Hospital Health Center.
A strong proponent of dialogue and interaction, Miller has opened a number of lines of communication. “I tell everyone that I get an ‘F in mind reading, that you have to tell me what you are thinking,” she said.
Miller holds quarterly nursing town hall meetings every year to ascertain what staff needs. At those meetings, she asks, “What is working for you?” “What is not working for you?” and “How can I help you?” With a participatory management style, Miller is working with the team to formulate shared nursing goals and nursings strategic plans, which she predicts will be developed this fall and refined over the next two years.
Before National Nurses Week, Miller created a website on which she requested staff explain what meaningful recognition means to them, and she has received constructive feedback and questions. Only Miller has access to the site and sees it as another opportunity to be available and transparent.
By popular demand, she also uses email, newsletters, small focus groups and staff meetings to engender staff participation and interaction.
Heart of the matter
Miller said she asks of others only what she expects of herself. Miller said she has had wonderful coaches and mentors who have given her time to learn and grow, and she plans to do the same with her own seasoned and novice nurse leaders.
A lifelong learner, Miller is board-certified and hopes to inspire others to seek higher education. She develops strong collegial relationships with physicians and other members of the interdisciplinary team.
“If we continue to nurture solid, trusting relationships with one another, we automatically will improve patient outcomes,” she said. “Anything is possible.”
Quick to credit her husband, children and parents for their steady support, Miller also praises St. Lukes-Roosevelt for its centers of excellence, passionate nurses and the outstanding work of nursing leadership.
“Certainly, its a journey, and one in which I will help one nurse at a time, one unit at a time,” Miller said. “I hope that others, in turn, will adopt another nurse or perhaps another unit, and help them on their professional journey.”
Janice Petrella Lynch, RN, MSN, is a regional nurse executive.