Nurse Leader—October 1, 2014
JGB: How did you become interested in nursing?
SJG: When I was a child, I was hospitalized and that can be one of the most frightening experiences for any child. However, the nurse who was taking care of me was extraordinarily compassionate and kind, and had an enormous impact on my life. From that time on, the only career I wanted was nursing.
At that time, families were not allowed to stay in the hospital for unlimited visiting hours. This nurse was kind and compassionate, and recognized how frightened I was.
JGB: Mentoring is something we talk about frequently in nursing. Would you describe how mentors have been important in your leadership journey, and also how you pay that process forward in your own work?
SJG: My mentor, Toni Fiore, has been absolutely essential. She was my boss and mentor throughout many advancements in my professional career. She taught me to be a risk taker, to try new things, to learn from your mistakes, and “always know why you are in the job: for the patient.” Like Toni, I have an “open door” policy, and leaders are always popping into my office and sharing their thoughts and actions.
I challenge everyone to avoid “group think,” but to consistently “think outside of the box.”
The smartest strategy for a senior leader is to surround yourself with the “best and brightest” and let them do their jobs. I'm honored to experience this every day at Hospital for Special Surgery [HSS].
JGB: What would you like your legacy to be?
SJG: [That] I was able to make a difference in the lives of my patients and staff. Also, I helped create innovative organizational structures which established clear goals for each member of our nursing staff. As a result, our patients—even individuals with complex comorbidities—received superb care at Hospital for Special Surgery.
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