Advocating for our nursing community: Q&A with Jesus Cepero, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC

November 14, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,

Jesus Cepero, Ph.D., R.N., NEA-BC, joined Michigan Medicine in May 2017 as the chief nursing officer (CNO) for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital (C&W). Starting Dec. 23, he’ll also serve as interim chief nurse executive for Michigan Medicine when current CNE Marge Calarco, Ph.D, R.N., NEA-BC retires.

Cepero recently sat down with Headlines to discuss how his CNO role fits into the Michigan Medicine operational structure, his day-to-day priorities to support nursing services and what he loves about the Michigan Medicine community.

Q: You’re the Chief Nursing Officer for Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. What does that role entail?

JC: As CNO, I am responsible for leading all aspects of nursing practice to ensure the quality, safety and successful execution of strategic initiatives across C&W. As a member of the C&W leadership triad, I work closely with Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Chris Dickinson and Executive Director Paul King. Together we review and champion quality, safety and operational initiatives to meet the needs of our patients, families, staff and community. As CNO, I believe it is imperative that I lead with integrity and listen to the nurses I serve. An important part of my role is to partner with staff through our shared governance model to remove barriers and support improvement initiatives.

Q: You mentioned your triad partners. Both C&W and UH/CVC have a triad leadership structure  a physician, nurse and administrator partnering to lead together. What are the advantages of this type of collaborative leadership?

JC: Triad leadership models are an emerging norm in health care. My previous organization (Meritus Health System in Hagerstown, Maryland) was also led by a triad. The model recognizes the importance of nursing leadership to patient care and operational decisions. The partners are equally responsible for collaboration within the triad and with the MPLAN dyads at the unit level. Having different expertise and relationships throughout the nursing, medicine and administrative avenues helps us navigate issues and processes more efficiently. The triad partners are mutually accountable for outcomes, which drives the success of the organization.

Q: What do you consider a particular highlight of the C&W segment?

JC: It is evident to me that Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital is an amazing hospital-within-a-hospital. We’re a recognized leader for women’s services, seeing a number of complex patients that specifically seek the unique skill sets of our staff. We are the No. 3-ranked gynecology program in the nation and the only ranked gynecology program in the state of Michigan. We’re leaders in the field of high-risk pregnancy care — we delivered 4,641 babies last year, many to high-acuity, complex-care mothers.

Q: Beginning Dec. 23, you’ll serve as interim CNE as well as CNO. What are you planning to prioritize during this time to help ensure a smooth interim period and leadership transition?

JC: I am fortunate to follow Dr. Marge Calarco. Under her leadership, nursing at Michigan has grown into a strong community known for leading the nation in innovation and excellence in patient care.

I am committed to continuing to build upon her legacy as a visible, accessible and engaged leader. I look forward to serving the nursing community over the coming months as we continue to strive to provide the finest care to those who chose to place their lives in our hands.

Q: You joined us from an outside institution. So far, what’s your favorite thing about Michigan Medicine, specifically the nursing community at Michigan Medicine?

JC: The achievement of Magnet status and the overwhelmingly positive reaction within our nursing community was incredibly exciting. It’s a coveted accreditation and it brought a lot of pride to nursing at Michigan. The commitment and engagement our nurses have in their work inspires me to work with them and on their behalf as we all continue to pursue the highest levels of excellence in nursing care to the patients we serve.