Nurse as Governor
You’ve probably noticed that Wisconsin has never had a nurse for governor. You may be wondering whether this is good preparation to effectively lead the state. I’d like to help connect those dots for you, because I realize your confidence in my ability to excel as governor will be critical to winning your vote.
Nurses are knowledge workers. We often encounter people at the most difficult times in their lives and deep human connections result. There is no work I can imagine with a greater opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. My clinical practice was the care of the critically ill. As a clinical nurse specialist, I worked with patients and families experiencing multi-system failure, which means the sickest of the sick. A months-long stay in intensive care was not unusual. During my 10 years of clinical practice, I developed expertise in evaluating the patient, interpreting the situation from an extensive knowledge base, and managing a plan of care to achieve the best possible outcomes for the patient and family. Critical thinking, problem solving and managing outcomes are hallmark skills of clinical nurses.
As a hospital administrator I no longer directly cared for patients. In nearly 30 years of administrative practice, I developed a clear understanding that my job was to create the conditions for the organization to produce exceptional outcomes. That meant positioning those who do the organization’s work, day in and day out, with the information, skills, resources and authority they needed to do their best work. At St. Mary’s in Madison, where I was the Vice President for Patient Care and Chief Nurse Executive for 22 years, we consistently produced exceptional results that were in the top tier of the nation and included clinical outcomes, patient and family satisfaction, employee and physician engagement and financial performance.
The governor is the CEO of the state. It is a huge bureaucracy with a multi-billion dollar budget and thousands of employees. An effective governor will manage the bureaucracy in a way that protects the freedom of citizens to live the lives they want to live. I will have a great deal to learn about the specific workings of state government, as would any CEO taking a position in a new organization, but the skills I have acquired over nearly 30 years are readily transferable.
Many of us have turned away from career politicians and political parties because they rarely produce the results that are important to us. Producing outcomes requires skill that is acquired from both education and experience. My track record is long, public and objectively measurable. Candidates in this race will tell you about all of the great things they are going to do for you. The single greatest predictor of future performance is past performance. Competence is not what we are capable of doing. Competence is what we have actually accomplished. I have the competence to lead.