Dr. Victoria Rich is currently the chief nurse executive and associate executive director at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. She shares with us her education background and how earning her Ph.D. was beneficial to her career and problem solving in her line of work and everyday life.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Victoria Rich)

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Victoria Rich)

What is your educational background?

“I received my B.S. in Biology, B.S.N. in Nursing, M.S.N. in Nursing Administration and my Ph.D. in Nursing Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.”

What is your background in nursing administration?

“I practiced as an emergency room and intensive care nurse at a rural community hospital. After two years, I became a shift coordinator, then was staff coordinator, nurse recruiter and clinical director of intensive care. I then finished my M.S.N. and accepted a position as an associate director of nursing at a larger community hospital. I advanced from associate nursing director to vice president of nursing, then VP nursing and operations and then to Sr. VP of clinical operations. I became the Sr. VP of clinical operations of four community hospital systems after a move to Florida. In 2002, I accepted a CNO position at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania and adjunct professor at PENN.”

How did education fuel your success?

“The most valuable educational decision I made was to obtain a Ph.D.. First of all, it gave me confidence in myself to write and express my own opinions with knowledge and passion. Secondly, it transformed my life by having me think in complex ways that enhanced my appreciation of multiple perspectives. I have come to understand that life is not linear as Newton suggested, but complex with many solutions and perspectives and that many life problems are wicked and a solution today probably is not the solution tomorrow. The pathway to a Ph.D. must be a learning, developmental journey of degrees, but without emotional growth and development to respect diverse approaches and continuous learning, one cannot be a leader. The nursing profession must prepare the beginning nurse at the baccalaureate level; our patients and families deserve nothing less.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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