First Things First

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New CNO Veronica Martin shows individuals that they count with her

As Veronica Martin knows well, establishing relationships is a major part of being an effective leader, which may be why she’s been so successful just six months into her new position.

“It’s important when you go into a new organization to get into the hearts of the staff and to build relationships with direct reports and peers,” says Martin, vice president and chief nursing officer at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL. “It’s very important to me to have close connections with the staff and to be an approachable leader they’re proud to have.”

To achieve that, Martin makes a point to be around the nurses, not just in her office, hearing their voices about work-related issues. Recently she had the opportunity to award a staff member her 35-year work anniversary pin. Rather than having a director make the presentation, Martin wanted to congratulate the nurse personally and celebrate her achievement. “It lets them see I care about them,” she explains. “They’re people first and employees second.”

Martin came to All Children’s in September 2015 with more than 20 years of nursing experience. Previously she worked in leadership positions at Shriners Hospital/Health System, WellStar Cobb Hospital in Georgia, and at Tampa General Hospital, among others.

“Veronica is such a compassionate person who always keeps the patients and families at the core of how she approaches everything,” says Roberta Alessi, vice president and chief operating officer at All Children’s Hospital. “She takes a multidisciplinary approach to improve care, partnering with physicians, advance practice providers, nurses, and all ancillary and supportive staff. She is a mentor and role model and is respected by all.”

“She takes a multidisciplinary approach to improve care, partnering with physicians, advance practice providers, nurses, and all ancillary and supportive staff. She is a mentor and role model and is respected by all.”
— Roberta Alessi

Martin is particularly pleased to return to pediatrics. After speaking at a recent fundraising event, she was approached by a former patient—10 years old—who had just finished chemotherapy treatment. “She raved about our wonderful nursing staff,” Martin says. “That reminded me that we make a difference in the lives of so many patients and families.”

One of Martin’s goals for the hospital is to earn Magnet Recognition from the American

Nurses Credentialing Center, the most esteemed distinction an organization can receive for excellence in nursing. Being a Magnet hospital speaks to the facility’s leadership, quality care, commitment to safety, and professional practice of nursing.

“In my role as chief nursing officer, I’m fostering an environment that supports those things,” Martin says. “My responsibility is to develop future leaders, encouraging and motivating them, so they can function at their full potential.”

Photo by Allyn DiVito

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