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Hospital Week Spotlight: Eunice Halverson

Hospital Week Spotlight: Eunice Halverson

The Center for Patient Safety is proud of our diverse team and is especially proud of our Patient Safety Specialist, Eunice Halverson, MA, CPPS. Having spent much of her time in hospitals and health systems throughout her career, she now enters her sixth year with the Center. She is a valuable resource to all of our participating organizations. We recently sat down with Eunice and asked her a few questions…

Q: What first interested you in healthcare?
I landed in healthcare by chance, I guess.  I needed a job when we moved to St. Louis from Minnesota as my husband was in school.  I was offered a position at St. Mary’s Health Center in St. Louis and I’ve been in healthcare ever since.  I had never worked in healthcare and I loved it.

Q: Why is patient safety important to you?
I’m not a nurse, but I love that we can make a difference to patient outcomes without being a direct healthcare provider.  I was a risk manager for many years, so I know how many errors occur and I also know that improving processes directly impacts the likelihood of errors occurring.

Q: What do you miss most about working on the front lines (or in a care setting)?
I loved working in the hospital with all the front line providers.  They have such a passion for their patients.  We had a mutual respect for each other, always working to provide the best care for every patient.  I’m still friends with many of them.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at the Center for Patient Safety?
I love working with providers across the continuum of care.  Prior to coming to the Center, I had only worked on the acute care side, both in the hospital and at the system office.  I have learned so much about the EMS profession, and I find them very eager to learn how to improve patient safety.  CPS has a great team of patient safety professionals who all believe in the Center’s mission to be a leader in providing creative solutions and resources to improve patient safety.

Q: Based on your experience in the healthcare provider setting, and your experience at the Center, what is your message to other Hospital Professionals or Healthcare Professionals?
Don’t ever give up improving your delivery of care for patients.  Treat each one as if he or she was your loved one, always providing compassionate, safe care.

Q: What is your greatest achievement around patient safety (either in a previous job or current job)?
Wow – I’ve been privileged to achieve so many things in my career.  One of the highlights was assisting SSM Health become the first healthcare organization in the nation to receive the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award, which included providing safe care.  I also loved working with a team to develop and deploy the “Always Safe” program across the SSM system so that every employee, physician, patient and family member knew we were focusing on providing safe care.  Recently it’s been my privilege to lead development of the Center’s EMS Patient Safety Bootcamp which we debuted in Ft. Myers, FL early in March.  Improving patient safety is so much fun!

Q: What was the last book you read?
The Berenstain Bear’s Big Honey Hunt – I love reading to my grandkids!

Q: Who do you admire?
Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, past CEO of SSM Health, had a life-changing impact on my profession as well as my personal life.  She taught me that we can always improve, no matter what.  It is now the way I think:  how can I improve that process?