TriStar Health - April 25, 2017

Nursing has a seat at the table

Velinda Block

TriStar’s first Chief Nursing Executive discusses her passion for nursing and how she looks forward to leading a collaborative culture to enhance the practice of nursing in our hospitals, elevate the nursing profession and provide a superior experience for every patient.

Get to know Dr. Velinda Block, Chief Nursing Executive

Velinda Block, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, is the first Chief Nursing Executive of TriStar Health and HCA’s TriStar Division. A dedicated nurse leader with over 34 years’ experience, Velinda will provide strategic leadership of nursing practice and operations for more than 5,800 nurses who support patient care in 22 hospitals and related care areas serving communities in Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Northwest Georgia, and Northeast Atlanta. She will also serve as an executive advocate representing the voices of our TriStar nurses and patients.

Nursing is a unique and special career. There is no other profession where you can do so much for patient care.

What do you do?

I provide strategic leadership for nursing practice and serve as an executive level advocate for nurses and patients at every TriStar facility. This includes supporting a collaborative culture of nursing across TriStar where we pull together the greatest minds of nursing at all levels to provide the best care for patients and the best workplace for nurses.

Where are you from?

Athens, Georgia. Go Bulldogs!

How long have you been with TriStar/HCA?

Three months. I’m excited to join the TriStar and HCA family.

What attracted you to the opportunity of being an HCA executive nurse leader?

Being an HCA Nurse is special and I wanted to be part of that culture. It’s exciting to be working with 13 colleagues serving as HCA Division Chief Nursing Executives. We’re a network of nursing professionals that collaborate regularly, which affords me the opportunity to continue learning from nurse leaders with different experiences. Specifically to the TriStar Chief Nursing Executive role, the opportunity to be innovative in shaping a new role that impacts nearly 6,000 nurses and over 661,000 patients annually was very appealing.

a group of HCA nursing executives

What inspired you to become a nurse?

A book I read in the 4th grade called Candy Stripers by Lee Wyndham. I read and re-read the book, developing a romanticized idea of what it was like to be a nurse. While I was in high school, a family friend offered the opportunity to shadow her during an ICU nursing shift at our local hospital. What I saw was so much better than what I thought being a nurse would entail. I saw that nurses were bright, strong, caring people who are in an equal partnership with physicians in providing patient care. I realized that day that nursing was even more than I thought it could be and that I wanted to be a nurse.

This is a new role in TriStar. How will having a chief nursing executive provide even more support to our nurses?

As a member of the executive leadership team, I’ll bring to the table influence and advocacy for nursing, outstanding care delivery, and patient experience at the strategic level.

How does your role as a nurse leader impact patient care?

Every day, we strive for the best patient outcomes by delivering evidence-based care and championing a culture of patient safety. By celebrating inquisitive minds, our nurses are empowered to identify opportunities that improve patient care. Additionally, we will continue creating opportunities for nurses to expand their knowledge and advance their skills throughout their career.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job?

When I get to visit our TriStar facilities. I love seeing the talent and innovation across our diverse sites of care. This is also an opportunity to engage with nurses at all levels and listen to their ideas or concerns.

We will continue creating opportunities for nurses to expand their knowledge and advance their skills throughout their career.

What are you most excited about for our nurses right now?

Nurses have an opportunity to really shape what the healthcare future looks like. We have a unique first-hand understanding of what patients and families need and how everyone on the care team contributes to their experience. Nurses are a great advocate and trusted voice in providing excellent patient care across the care continuum.

Velinda Block talking with a group of nurses

What would you tell someone considering nursing for a career?

Nursing is a unique and special career. There is no other profession where you can do so much for patient care. Nurses are at the bedside, focusing on quality, impacting how technology is used in patient care and serving as administrators. Find an opportunity to shadow a nurse.

TriStar recently welcomed our first cohort of nurse residents. What advice do you have for these nurses as they begin their career as an HCA nurse?

Never stop advocating for the patient when you know what’s in the patient’s best interest.

Also, by choosing to become an HCA and TriStar nurse, you have joined a great organization where you could truly have an entire career in our company. HCA has so many great opportunities for nurses and resources available to support your unique professional goals. Keep exploring the opportunities and trying new things throughout your career.

Self-care for the caregiver is important. What do you enjoy outside of work?

Enjoying our lake house, gardening flowers and vegetables, cheering on my Georgia Bulldogs and St. Louis Blues, and spending time with family. My husband and I have a son who lives in Atlanta who completing a fellowship at the CDC. We also have three pets: Chewie, a Golden Doodle, and Rye and Derby, cats with Kentucky culture inspired names.