Paula McGuiness expected to stay at St. Joseph’s for a few years as an operating room nurse and then move on to other opportunities. Nearly 40 years later, she’s still at the hospital, now as the chief operating officer of the new St. Joseph’s Hospital-North.
“The surprise for me was that all of those great opportunities were here within St. Joseph’s,” says Paula. “I’ve been blessed that those who have touched my life allowed me to grow and saw things in me that I didn’t know were there.”
Paula eased into hospital administration in 1978 when she took over management of the operating room and then became director of surgical services. Next, she helped develop the open heart program, and then she helped design and establish the outpatient surgery center. Paula eventually became director of the surgical center and diagnostic imaging services for St. Joseph’s. In 2000, she started working on the design and development of the new hospital and became its COO in 2007.
“This truly has been an experience of a lifetime,” she says. However, opening the new hospital is just the beginning. “A hospital is not only about bricks and mortar,” she says. “It’s about choosing the right people, becoming part of a community, and meeting your financial obligations so you can maintain and sustain a healthy organization now and into the future.”
Commitment and community are reoccurring themes in a conversation with Paula. She talks about commitment to caring for the physical and emotional well being of patients and their families, her commitment to supporting her team and the leaders of the other St. Joseph’s hospitals, and the new hospital’s commitment to the local community. One way Paula plans to build relationships with residents is through educational programs about health issues and treatment options held in the hospital classrooms long before that care is needed.
The classrooms at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North are named for Paula McGuiness.