Theresa Sullivan, RNC, Vice President of Quality/Infection Control/Risk Management/Medical Staff at HCA’s Memorial Hospital of Tampa was named the Outstanding Army Nurse of the Year by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).  Colonel Sullivan was presented the 2014 Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C in recognition for work in making significant improvement of communication practices to address ongoing clinical issues and training gaps that were affecting medical care, and survivability throughout the entire theatre of Afghanistan.

HCA’s Chief Nurse Executive, Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, spoke with Colonel Sullivan about her transition from military nursing to working in her new role at Memorial.


Jane:  What have been some of your observations about nursing practice at Memorial Hospital of Tampa as compared to your time in the military?

Theresa:  First, I would like to say that I am honored to receive the Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee Award as the Army Nurse of Year. Most importantly, I can say with pride that taking care of our Military Service Members was a wonderful experience and I considered it an honor to have served our country.

Military nursing is focused on preventive medicine and ensuring that the men and women of our military, as well as their family members, receive safe, quality care. The military has made great advances in trauma medicine that is focused on safe quality emergency care at the point of the injury, on the battlefield, through increasing levels of care and into rehabilitation. Our focus is military readiness, which is being prepared to provide outstanding medical and nursing care at home, in a military medical center, and on the battlefield.

What I have seen in HCA, is that nursing has  a strong commitment to safe quality patient care and putting evidence based research into practice, which is very similar to military medicine.  But, HCA takes the lead in setting standards for medical care for both civilian and military medicine. The work HCA is doing to ensure patients receive quality care sets the bar for all hospitals to follow and is centered on best evidence based practices such as:  Initiatives for Patient Safety and Risk Reduction, Core Measure Compliance with CMS Standards, Sepsis Program, Universal Decolonization to reduce MRSA, Radiation Rights, and Blood Utilization, all of which are indications of HCA’s Commitment to safe quality care for patients. But, as a nurse, it is exciting to know that we are doing the right thing for our patients, by ensuring they are receiving the best care possible.


Jane:  As you’ve made the transition from military to civilian healthcare practice, what similarities do you notice?

Theresa:  The investment in people.  Both HCA and the military make significant commitments to developing skills and abilities of their workforce and treating each other with respect. I also believe in similar core values of honesty, and transparency. But most importantly, I truly believe in HCA’s Mission, which is very similar to military medicine – to treat those we serve with kindness and compassion. Above all else, we are committed to care and improvement of human life.


Jane:  What has impressed you most about working at HCA’s Memorial Hospital of Tampa?

Theresa:  The quality of the leadership.  I am so impressed with both the nursing and physician leadership at the hospital, at the division and at the corporate levels of HCA. Therefore, the transition from military to civilian medicine was smooth. During this past month, I had the honor to attend the HCA newcomer’s orientation at Corporate Head Quarters. First, I was impressed with my peers. I had the opportunity to meet several Vice Presidents of Quality and Risk Management.  They were extremely professional and I was impressed with their degree of knowledge and commitment to their job, which is to ensure safe quality patient care. Also, I was captivated by the Leadership at Corporate Headquarters; they were extremely professional and it was obvious they were subject matter experts in their specialty field, such as quality, patient safety, risk management, infection control, nursing informatics, emergency preparedness and research.

I am currently with the West Florida Division and I am so lucky to be part of a great team. The Nurse and Physician Leadership at our Division are indeed true experts in organizational change and improvement.  They provide us guidance, which is centered on evidence based practice. Most importantly, they provide us support and mentoring. I have confidence and trust in our Hospital and Division Leadership. I can call my Division Leadership (VP Quality, Quality Support Team and the Chief Medical Officer), at any time, to discuss issues and ask for guidance. They are always willing to provide me with the information and tools that I need to assist our physicians and nursing staff to improve performance, and provide safe, effective, efficient and compassionate care to our patients and their family members.

The Leadership at Memorial Hospital of Tampa is clearly focused on patients, family members and staff. Receiving safe quality care and to be treated with dignity and respect is of the upmost importance.

I am proud to be part of the HCA Team. As a retired Army Nurse Corps Officer, I can say with pride that our hospital treats Active Duty Service Members and Veterans with dignity, respect and honor. It is indeed exciting to be a part of this organization as I start my new phase of my nursing career.


Jane:  We are lucky to have you on the team, Theresa.  I look forward to seeing the impact you will have across HCA.