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Get to know our new CEO

Three decades ago, Rose Lawhorne walked into Bartlett Regional Hospital and applied for a job as a data entry clerk. Seven years later, at the recommendation of a colleague, she became a nurse. Over the next 20 years, she moved up through the ranks, directing the emergency, critical care and physical rehabilitation departments. More recently, she joined the senior leadership team as assistant chief clinical officer and chief nursing officer. In March 2021, Rose became the new chief executive officer. We asked Rose a few questions about what she's learned in her long career at Bartlett and what she brings to her new position.

Q: When you started work at Bartlett Regional Hospital, in patient registration in 1993, did you have any idea you'd be in the hospital's top leadership position 28 years later? What does it feel like to be here?

A: I had no idea where my path would take me when I took my first data entry clerk job in 1993. My goal was to pursue a career in the business and accounting field. In my varied roles, I began to interface with health care providers and thought that nursing might be a fit for me. I was right. Throughout my time at Bartlett, I gained an intimate knowledge of patient care processes, built relationships with Bartlett stakeholders and found my purpose serving others. I consider it a great honor to be in this role of CEO. I am committed to caring for the providers and staff at Bartlett so they can care for patients, meeting the needs of our community and fulfilling our mission.

Q: You grew up in Southeast Alaska. How will your life experiences impact your leadership style?

A: Alaskans are resourceful. Our successes in small communities are best achieved through relationships and teamwork. Careful use of resources was needed for survival. This background has shaped me. My leadership style is to promote relationships within the care teams, thereby establishing an environment of care that fosters healing. It is critical that we ensure the sustainability of our hospital by responsibly allocating resources that at times are scarce and difficult to acquire.

Q: What did your varied experiences in various positions over the years teach you about our hospital and the community it serves?

A: I learned the inner workings of the hospital. I interfaced with many other people, learning about roles and positions, what each does, and how it impacts care. I gained vast amounts of institutional knowledge—the history of our hospital, the mistakes made by leadership and the actions that led to successes.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed Bartlett? What changes will remain after this challenging time?

A: Our teams came together to overcome the impossible. We developed new ways of delivering patient care during the crisis. Our roles changed and expanded to meet the needs of the community. We also saw a reduction in patient volumes, closed the operating room for a time and did not experience typical summer volumes related to the tourism industry.

We will need to find ways to tighten our belts to maintain the financial stability of our organization. We have seen the behavioral health "secondary pandemic" and recognize the impact of this crisis on our community. Health care workers and community members alike are experiencing emotional challenges related to the stress of the past year. Burnout among health care workers has been recognized nationally, and Juneau is no exception. Caring for the emotional and mental health needs of our patients and teams is critical for us to continue to move forward successfully as an organization. Addressing health care disparities is another issue that must be addressed in the near future. The provision of equitable care to all populations is another area of focus for the future.

Q: What do you see as the biggest benefits of Bartlett?

A: The commitment of our care teams. Our stability as an organization. Interagency relationships with stakeholders who collaborate to deliver quality, patient-centered care in a sustainable manner.

Q: Any changes anticipated for Bartlett in the near future?

A: No sweeping changes. We will evaluate the delivery of care to ensure efficiency and financial sustainability. We will prioritize needs and carefully allocate resources to continue to move forward as a relevant, viable organization.

Q: What are you most excited about in your new position?

A: The ability to care for the teams and collaborate with community providers so that together we can meet the expectations of our mission. I am excited to continue to serve our area and prepare for the future through innovative, strategic planning and developing pathways to meet our organizational goals. I'm eager to use the relationships I have built with health care stakeholders to continue to grow and thrive as a stable facility, addressing medical needs and promoting health in our region.

Categories: Hospital news

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