Richard G. Cuming, RN, MSN, EdD, CNOR, NEA-BC, is the vice president and chief nurse executive for Einstein Healthcare Network. Dr. Cuming is a member of Einstein’s senior leadership team. He is responsible for the day-to-day operations and strategic direction of nursing services at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, Einstein Medical Center Elkins Park, MossRehab, Belmont Behavioral Health, and Willowcrest Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

(Photo Courtesy of Richard G. Cuming, RN, MSN, EdD, CNOR, NEA-BC)

(Photo Courtesy of Richard G. Cuming, RN, MSN, EdD, CNOR, NEA-BC)

Can you describe your duties as a health care administrator?

“As a nurse executive/health care administrator, I am responsible for the overall quality of nursing care provided at all our facilities. This is achieved by working with a dynamic group of nurse leaders and in concert with our shared governance leadership. At Einstein, we have a very mature shared governance model where direct care nurses are routinely involved in decisions affecting nursing practice. We measure our success through a number of different metrics including patient outcome measures such as those captured in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators, patient’s perspectives of care as reported in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, and through general human resource measures such as employee turnover rates, and employee engagement scores.”

How has education prepared you for your career as a nurse and in health care administration?

“Education has played a pivotal role preparing me for my role as a nurse executive. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are both in nursing science and this has given me a really solid foundation in our professional underpinnings. My doctorate in adult education/human resource development (AE/HRD) with a minor in advanced nursing administration built upon my prior studies and added the HRD element, which has been very useful many times over the years – when thinking about team development and succession planning as two examples. Professional certifications have also been important educational experiences in my preparation as a nurse exec. I am certified as an advanced nurse executive (NEA-BC) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Preparing for that exam was a great experience and provided competence with the various standards of nursing administration practice as supported by the American Nurses Association. Nurse leaders across the country are encouraging direct care nurses to become nationally certified in their specialty practice areas. It’s really important that we lead by example and also become certified in our specialty.”

What continuing education is required for your role?

“Nursing, like other health care professions requires the adoption of an attitude of lifelong learning. While formal, degree earning education may be complete, our quest for learning and new knowledge is never over. As a nurse executive, I am a member of several professional organizations such as the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. Additionally, I attend a number of professional meetings each year and read a variety of professional journals each month. It’s really important to pay attention to local, regional and national best practices and trends, and to bring these practices back to our home organizations when applicable.”

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

“If you’re just starting out as a nurse leader, the best advice I can give you is to find someone you respect to serve as your mentor. If you’ve been a nurse leader for some time, the best advice I can give you is to always be a mentor to a less experienced colleague and to always have a mentor yourself. Personally, I’ve always had a mentor, and I try to always be a mentor. Attend local and national conferences to learn about practice developments and develop a networking group. Get involved in local professional associations, too. Finally, pay attention to the direct care nurses you supervise and adopt a culture of shared governance. It’s really important that direct care nurses are involved in shaping the practice environment where they work. This is where you’ll find the leaders of tomorrow.”

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