The Pulse | Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Becoming a Strategic Thinker
Teresa Vos, MS BSN RN CGRN, is the vice president/chief of nursing at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee. Learn how her path got her to where she is today and how she's become a strategic thinker along the way.
Can you talk a little bit about your career path, and how you moved up to where you are today?
My career path- The majority of my career has been centered around GI nursing. Being a part of SGNA was pivotal in my future in nursing, as far as my career choices. When we look at what all occurred on that path. When I came out of school, I was in an IC unit, and then came my early 20’s when I was introduced to Dr. Joseph Gunien, who is one of the gurus in GI and endoscopy. I then took a little time off for kids then came back and worked in an endoscopy lab. I went the GI path in my professional life, but it was always in a leadership and education type of way. I have had numerous positions including manager, director, regional director, and then I became the vice president of operations at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. Now, I am event/chief nursing officer there.
Over the course of your career, how have you integrated strategic thinking into your daily work?
From the day I graduated nursing school up until today, strategic thinking has been critical to my career. No matter where you are in the career path, there’s always a driving force, and that force is the patients.
What is your advice to nurses in the industry who are just beginning their careers?
Never forget why you do what you do every day. That hunger and that hard work, nursing is a calling. I do not believe everyone can be a nurse. What has driven me all these years is the patients I work with every day that’s why I went into nursing. I always tell new nurses not to let that wonderful excitement of being a nurse leave them as challenges and changes arise.
How do you define success in your career?
Truly by building very strong teams and strong leaders. I have achieved many things because I realized I couldn’t do it alone. And I have the opportunity to build those who work with and alongside me. Success is not something you can do alone. If I did not become a collaborating partner and build those around me the best I could, I would not have been successful. It’s a lot more than the individual.
Has your perception of “success” changed over the course of your career? If so, how?
As you grow in your career, the perception definitely changes. When you first get out of school, you are dealing more with patients one on one.
Now, as an educator, I am influencing more lives than the patients assigned directly to me. Then as a director, you’re touching students’ lives to touch many patients’ lives. I could retire today, but I am staying because I’ve been given a great gift. Now when I do retire, I can look at the all of the opportunities and continue to help others. To me success is how you build your profession. It becomes that wonderful opportunity to grow others so that the work being done still has value.