Earlier this month, when I was at the CHIME Fall Forum in San Diego, I met numerous new and old friends. What an outstanding group of leaders were there, all working to make a difference in our health systems across the country. The more I got to know them, I realized that there are a disproportionally high number of healthcare CIOs who are veterans and/or active-duty military personnel from all branches of military service.
As Veteran’s Day approaches, I began pondering whether there is a connection here, and I truly believe there is. I believe that correlation is best revealed in the traits that embody leadership success: Dedication, honesty, loyalty, integrity, teamwork, and a desire to serve others, to name a few.
The respect earned by our military and veterans is undeniable. Their selfless service to our country is something we should all honor, especially on Veteran’s Day. As a sergeant in the Army, I was asked to take the NCO’s Creed:
No one is more professional than I. I am a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers. As a noncommissioned officer, I realize that I am a member of a time-honored corps, which is known as, “The Backbone of the Army.” I am proud of the Corps of noncommissioned officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind — accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a noncommissioned officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All Soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my Soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my Soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my Soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, noncommissioned officers, leaders!
Having met so many fellow Veterans who are also CIOs, I believe that the characteristics that were learned early in our military careers have helped to prepare us for the work ahead. It prepared us to lead the charge to a better healthcare system; it prepared us to conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity; it prepared us to embrace teamwork and fulfill our responsibilities; it prepared us to lead with moral courage and communicate effectively. It prepared us!
As a CIO, I thank every Veteran for their service, and I pledge the creed above to my staff, my hospital, and my community. I ask all my fellow CIOs to join me in this pledge on Veteran’s Day. Let’s all be the great leaders we need to be to move our health systems in the right direction.
Kate Pierce is CIO and CISO at North Country Hospital and a proud Army Veteran. To view the original article, please click here.