A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs & Cynthia de Lorenzi, authors, Your 2021 What’s Next Journal — We are thrilled to introduce you to Dr. Caryn Iverson, the Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, NM — the January 2021 cover girl for Your What’s Next Journal!
We know you will learn a lot from Caryn, as she is one of the many truly amazing women on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. She stands out as a leader and an important voice in the post-pandemic world we will create. It is our privilege to share her thoughts, ideas, and insight with you in Inkandescent Women magazine and the Journal.
Here’s a little more about Caryn: “Memorial is a 199-bed acute care hospital with a Level IV trauma center, chest pain center, NICU, PICU, bariatric and also one of the Joint Centers of Excellence,” explains the medical professional who previously worked with Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, TX, beginning as an RN in 1994 and serving as CNO from 2009 until 2018.
Dr. Iverson received her nursing degree from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She completed her doctoral degree from the University of Phoenix, and her dissertation is “The Influence of Orientation Styles on Nurse Retention in the First Year of Employment.”
She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the New Mexico State University School of Nursing and the Dona Ana Community College School of Nursing. She has been appointed to the Education Committee by the American Organization of Nurse Leaders and is the president-elect for the New Mexico Organization of Nurse Leaders. “I am committed to hands-on support of a collaborative, quality care team,” she insists.
- Click here to watch her video at Memorial Medical Center with advice about what to do if you think you have a heart attack during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Click here to listen to our interview about What’s Next in the Pandemic.
- Scroll down for Caryn’s thoughts on What’s Next at America’s Hospitals.
- Did you know: Click here to learn what researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered — consistent mask-wearing is associated with positive well-being.
What’s Next for America’s Hospitals? A Q&A with Hope Katz Gibbs and Cynthia de Lorenzi, authors, Your 2021 What’s Next Journal
Hope & Cynthia: Tell us about your business/industry and its before the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Caryn: As the chief nursing officer at the acute care facility Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, I have been aware of the challenges with reimbursement and the high cost of the self-pay population. This phenomenon has been progressing over the last 10 years, as we have seen more rural facilities either closing or going bankrupt. That was before the COVID pandemic took the country by storm. Now, as you’d expect, our hospital system is being challenged even more.
Hope & Cynthia: Where were you personally in your life when COVID-19 arrived in the US? What were your short and long-term goals at that time?
Caryn: About 18 months ago, I moved to Memorial Medical Center after spending 24 years of my career at a healthcare organization where I was the CNO for 9 years. Before COVID-19 arrived in March, my short-term goals for the new organization were to improve the quality of care and encourage New Mexicans to get their healthcare in New Mexico. Long-term, I was looking forward to traveling to other hospitals to assist when they were in transition or need a temporary CNO.
Hope & Cynthia: What are your thoughts now about your industry, your business, your personal life, your heart?
Caryn: From a professional perspective, for the foreseeable future, I believe my industry will struggle to recover from the financial burden of COVID and the fact that we’ve had to provide fewer diagnostic procedures and elective surgeries that previously generated revenue for us. It’s tough on us financially. To make things more complicated, we have individuals who sit at the helm of either state or federal agencies that make decisions without getting enough information from those of us on the frontline. I spend 75% of my time in meetings with state officials, trying to educate them on the ramifications of the decisions they are making about healthcare. Personally, my heart will always be with my family, friends, and the work I do to protect my staff and patients.
Hope & Cynthia: Now the big question — What do you see coming next?
- For your industry: We need to see a change in practices to cope with the reality of the disease caused by COVID-19, just as the medical profession has done with every other disease that we have dealt with over the years. We changed practice with HIV, TB, Hep C — and many others too numerous to count. I foresee us doing the same with this pandemic.
- For your company: We currently have precautions in place for droplets that might spread in the hospital. However, there is a lot of fear around spreading the COVID virus, not only amongst the public but with staff. The challenge is: How do we take a practice that has been in place for years and ensure everyone that everything is ok when the news media tells them something different? Many of the staff members currently entering healthcare have never been through a situation like this before and don’t know how to handle it emotionally. It’s a real challenge.
- For yourself: Given everything I have learned, experienced, and seen in my career, I would like to be an advisor for healthcare policy. My mission would be to help politicians and other decision-makers to understand that you can’t be an armchair quarterback to make a change or understand what the ramifications of those decisions are going to be. You need to know what is going on in the frontlines.
- For the country and the world: I believe we will see a continued change in how we live day-to-day. I foresee healthcare moving to telemedicine as much as possible. Children will be educated differently. Employees will be working from home. Shopping will continue to move virtually. And a focus on behavioral health will continue to rise. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that life as we knew it would never be the same.
- For women: Women have always worn multiple hats and have been asked and able to multi-task. My concern is how so much isolation will affect not only women but our population in general. By nature, humans are social people and need human contact to thrive. I’m already hearing issues with women talking about now educating their children as they are postponing school. Needless to say, how the future plays out for us all will be interesting!