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Pete’s Perspective: Farewell to a Team Whose Remarkable Commitment Both Defines Us and Drives Us Forward

  • Category: CEO Update
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Media Contact: Karina Rusk

It is with bittersweet feelings that I say farewell to a team I have been proud to lead for more than a decade. When I arrived in the Salinas Valley in April 2013, I could not have imagined the impact that the people who make up this healthcare system would have on my life, my work and my drive to support what is an extraordinary community.

While I have served in many healthcare settings throughout my career, this humble yet mighty institution will forever hold a special place in my heart. Together, we have accomplished much.

With the help of every staff member – clinical and non-clinical – we have built a strong culture of support, teamwork, accountability and respect. These STAR values are the foundation on which we build our achievements, foster compassion, and break down barriers to access high-quality care. They form the basis for how we successfully innovate and, above all, how we persevere.

We persevered during the pandemic – with each of our staff rising through the most challenging conditions to support our community and to support one another. We helped our patients, we helped their families and we partnered with other health-focused organizations to educate and protect our community.

Our team was there, in muddy fields and cold warehouses, teaching our agricultural workforce how to be safe. They were there, delivering groceries to homebound seniors. They were there, answering questions around the clock from callers to our COVID hotline.

And yet, during this time, our staff kept an eye on the future, successfully pursuing our goal to achieve Magnet® designation for nursing excellence. In earning this achievement from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, we reached a goal attained by fewer than 10% of hospitals and medical centers nationwide, ensuring the highest quality care delivered by nurses supported to be the best they can be.

New professional governance initiatives we activate regularly due to our Magnet journey continue to expand professional growth and clinical excellence. They are a tribute to a nursing team that consistently goes above and beyond – because they want to.

Across the board in both clinical and non-clinical areas of work, our staff is highly accountable and involved in what they do and how they do it. Employee engagement scores have risen from the sixth percentile to the eighty-sixth in the past decade.

Our team’s commitment to accountability has also made possible free-of-charge service to thousands of underserved patients through our Mobile Clinic. That commitment has expanded state-of-the-art care through our rural clinic in Gonzales to people throughout South Monterey County. A focus on respect for every individual we serve spurred the establishment of a payer-blind clinic network providing care without regard to insurance coverage. Thanks to the commitment of outstanding professionals, that network has grown from providing 21,000 patient visits in 2014 to more than half a million today.

When we opened our doors to the people of the Salinas Valley in 1953, the world was a different place. Tremendous advancements in the field of science and medicine have dramatically changed the landscape of healthcare. What has never changed is our staff’s investment in its community.

From the tremendous impact Blue Zones Project Monterey County has had on so many aspects of daily life in this region to targeted efforts in diabetes prevention, strengthening support for our cancer community, to providing the best training and education opportunities possible for our future healthcare leaders – our team’s dedication motivates and inspires our community’s rise in good health.

I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to have helped lead an extraordinary team with such a profoundly positive impact. I have learned much during my tenure here, and I will forever carry with me the STAR values that are such an essential part of everything we accomplish.

I look forward to watching Salinas Valley Health grow in its legacy of leadership, and I have no doubt our staff continue to shine in all its endeavors.

Please be safe and be well.

– Pete

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