Birthing Center manager Julia (JP) Profit Johnson, BSN, RN, doesn’t hesitate to empty the trash or pick up a night shift. The same is true of designing a childbirth education program so that local mothers can stay close to home or asking the CEO to invest in a new nurse development idea. If it’s needed she’ll do it. Last December, JP walked across the stage at Oklahoma City University graduating with her bachelor’s degree in nursing with honors. After completing an associates nursing program in 1998, JP believed that too was needed. “I always wanted to go back and get my bachelor’s degree and decided that 2016 was the year that I would complete that goal,” she explains. “That was always my goal.”
Going back to school and working full-time managing the Birthing Center is no small accomplishment. Graduating with honors is an even more notable feat. To make it happen, JP had a plan. “The turnpike and I became good friends,” she jokes. “Every day I took that drive I would refocus. In the solitude, I would have a chance to get all my checkmarks in place. I tried to use every minute as an opportunity for growth or mental reflection. I wanted to reflect on my purpose.”
That purpose is anchored in the culture of Bailey Medical Center – to always do what is best for patients. “My staff and the physicians were amazing,” JP says. “My department rallied behind me.” Though she was out of town once a week for classes, JP was anything but absent from her department. “I would check-in before I hit the road and would come back that night and spend time with the night shift. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my entire team, the administrative team and my Bailey family.”
It is the support JP has come to know and expect in her eight years at Bailey that has allowed her to tackle challenges and achieve goals. “We are a family here,” she adds. “You can go to anyone in this organization with a concern or idea and you will be heard, supported and encouraged.”
When JP wanted to help mothers stay close to home preparing for birth, she developed the curriculum, trained staff and launched a community-based childbirth education program. “At Bailey, our mission is to provide health care in your backyard,” she adds. “I didn’t want mothers to have to drive to Tulsa to get the education they needed. Today, we have three instructors. I’m very proud that I created that program and that it continues today.”
When JP needed to reduce agency costs and recruit uniquely trained and experienced nursing staff who could serve in several capacities – labor and delivery, postpartum and newborn nursery, she presented a plan to Bailey Medical Center CEO Keith Mason. “I had an idea for a program to recruit experienced labor and delivery nurses with a strong desire to learn women’s care and partner with Hillcrest Medical Center,” JP explains. The program would allow nurses to train during a clinical orientation on Hillcrest labor and delivery, mother and baby and newborn nursery units and return to Bailey as full-time LDRP nurses. “We needed an innovative approach. Our CEO, CNO and HR Director said, ‘Go for it!’ That was the first time we had done anything like that. It fit our model and our culture.” Not only did it solve a challenge, JP’s program was recognized by the Oklahoma Hospital Association. In 2015, she received a Spirit of Achieving Cost Savings Award.
As a leader, JP says she is guided, again, by doing what is best for patients. “I really want my staff to have ownership in this department and to really understand the why – to ensure the best patient care,” she explains. “I lead by example and do not expect things from my staff that I will not do. That means if I need to work a night shift, clean a room or empty the trash, I will do it. I really try to be fair in the decisions I make.”
Backed by the support of her team and her hospital, JP says she is fortunate to go to work every day and know she’s making a difference. “I love Bailey,” she adds. “I feel the people that I work with genuinely have a sense of compassion for the profession of nursing. Because of that, our patients feel empowered leaving here that they can take care of their babies.”
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