SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 – Given the changes the health care environment faces today, the chairman of the American College of Healthcare Executives said that leaders must continue to act with integrity.
“I stand before you today as someone with a very strong commitment, respect, and passion for our profession,” said Christine Candio, MPA, RN, FACHE, also the CEO of Inova Alexandria Hospital. “We have enormous challenges in front of us, but we need to look at them as great opportunities.”
That work must stay focused on the patient, including delivering care that is of high quality and safe, she said.
Moral, Ethical Compass
“We must manage and lead with integrity,” Candio told an audience of nearly 200 people gathered in Copley Formal Lounge. “I feel very strongly we need to lead with integrity and be true to ourselves, especially when it’s in a time of change. Your check and balance is your moral and ethical compass. It is mine.”
Candio came to Georgetown to deliver the keynote address in the School of Nursing & Health Studies’ McAuley Lecture Series, funded by Georgetown parents Brian and Jane McAuley and focused on topics of health and health care.
“She is a true friend to our school and, in a most particular way, to our Department of Health Systems Administration,” Patricia Cloonan, PhD, RN, the school’s interim dean, said in her introduction. “She is very well known in the field of health administration and leadership.”
Cloonan added that Candio’s clinical experiences provide her with an important insight in her leadership role.
“Her background as a nurse really brings a very deep understanding of matters that we all care about in terms of the organization and delivery of health care to vulnerable populations in incredibly complex systems,” Cloonan said.
Candio noted that she began her career as a bedside registered nurse 30 years ago.
“I really wanted to be a registered nurse,” she said. “My goal was to comfort and care for patients in one of their most vulnerable and anxious times of their life. At the beginning of my career, when I started, I quickly realized that working in health care, regardless of the position…isn’t just a job.”
‘Sea of Change’
Candio highlighted some current areas of focus, ranging from reduced reimbursements to community engagement.
“There is absolutely no question that we are in a sea of change,” she said. “We manage with greater transparency to outcomes, with an increased focus on preventive measures, wellness programs. And we also partner with a much more educated consumer – sophisticated and very diverse.”
Reimbursements are also diminishing, she said.
“That is a challenge for us,” she said. “But in no way, shape, or form can we compromise on our patient care and the quality and the safety we deliver to our patients.”
To the students, Candio offered words of encouragement.
“This is probably one of the most exciting times for you to enter this field,” she said. “Regardless of what you are going to do...you will have the ability to shape our delivery system.”
By Bill Cessato