Mary Beck – Chief Nursing Officer – Clinical Leadership Lessons, Cultivating a Love of Learning, and Managing Stress in Critical Environments


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In this episode, our guest is Mary Beck, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Chief Nursing Officer at MU Health Care. Beck is an accomplished nursing leader who shares lessons and guidance on clinical leadership during a pandemic, cultivating a lifelong love of learning, managing stress in critical environments, and setting up an incident command response to COVID-19.
Show Notes
Clinical Leadership during a Pandemic
A critical and often challenging aspect of effective leadership is being present. Especially during an uncertain time like the pandemic, Beck stresses the importance of being visible to your staff and conducting regular check-ins and about taking these conversations a step further by going beyond the typical, “How are you?” King references an article on burnout that states that the average adult will say “I’m fine” 14 times a week – but only 19% of people really mean it.
Cultivating a Love of Learning
In 1984, Beck received her Master of Science in Nursing degree, and it was not until 2008 that she decided to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Her love of learning stems from an impactful relationship with the Director of the UMKC School of Nursing, Rose Marie Hilker. Hilker often spoke about how important it was for nurses to pursue new knowledge regularly, so they are equipped to provide excellent patient care. This instilled in Beck a passion for lifelong learning which is what led her back to school later in her career.
Managing Stress in Critical Environments
Being a leader in a critical environment requires the discipline of stress management. Beck shares her own practices to care for her mental, physical, and emotional health. A challenging skill for an effective leader to have is the ability to take a step back and practice self-care. Beck discusses how sometimes, a “tough-love” conversation is required to encourage a leader to take a break and regroup.
Incident Command Response to COVID-19
The conversation finishes with Beck sharing details on MU Health’s Incident Command structure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s a guidebook that teaches how to create structure to manage an emergency situation, and she discusses what that’s looked like in her hospital. After months of fighting, Beck had the honor of administering their hospital’s first vaccination to their medical director which she recounts in an emotional story.
Humans in Healthcare is produced by Shearwater Health in Nashville, TN, and hosted by Chief Marketing Officer, Nathan King.
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19 episodes