When Cindy Borum, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, began her career at HCA Healthcare 25 years ago, she was unaware of the life-long relationships she would form with mentors, colleagues and patients.
Cindy’s connection to HCA spans back a few years before she started working here. During her time at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing, she completed several clinical rotations at HCA’s first hospital – Park View Hospital in Nashville, Tenn.
When Cindy graduated from nursing school, she was immersed in the cutting-edge, ever-changing cardiology field. She was on the care team responsible for Vanderbilt’s third heart transplant patient and worked alongside Senator William (Bill) Frist, the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.
In 1993, Cindy left Vanderbilt to work as a cardiac nurse at The Frist Clinic. At the time, the clinic only had seven physicians. Today, The Frist Clinic has grown to 35 physicians and 90 nurses.
“I ran a very professional clinic,” Cindy says. “However, the one patient who was an exception was probably Dr. Frist Sr.” (Dr. Thomas Frist Sr. was a founding member of HCA.)
Cindy speaks fondly of her time working as Dr. Frist Sr.’s nurse, recalling the open door policy they shared – he could walk into the clinic without an appointment to see her at any time, just as she could enter the Frist home to check on him whenever she pleased.
“While he was a patient, he was also a friend,” Cindy says with a smile. “He had such a humble and kind spirit.”
“When Dr. Frist would go into the hospital, he would speak to every person – he knew every person,” she says. “He would shake their hand, look them in the eye and ask about their children. You would often hear him telling someone, ‘I’m so proud of you!’ It was just amazing.”
Every holiday season, Cindy is reminded of the family-centric values Dr. Frist Sr. and his family have woven into HCA’s culture.
“The holidays were very important to Dorothy Frist [Dr. Frist Sr.’s wife],” Cindy says. “Dorothy would come to our office every year with the florist to make sure there were red poinsettias in the entryways of all the buildings. When you walked into the entryway of the Frist home during the holidays, you would see the same bright red poinsettias.”
After the passing of Dr. Frist Sr. and Dorothy Frist in 1998, Cindy received a heartfelt letter from Dr. Frist Jr. The letter was a testament to the special relationship Cindy built with Dr. Frist and his family and also spoke to the unselfish, loving care Cindy provided all of her patients.
“We cared for patients who were experiencing life-changing, stressful events,” Cindy says. “But we always instilled a feeling and culture that the patient was going to be okay. Our motto at The Frist Clinic was, ‘We’ve got this. Don’t be afraid to live.’”