Our Stories

Finding the Right Program to Grow On

Manager wanted business acumen—and found it at Vanderbilt

Jennifer Williams
OR Manager, Holding/PACU, and Pre-Operative Medicine Clinic, St. Thomas Joint Replacement, Midtown and West Hospitals

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2021

Jennifer Williams manages a joint replacement staff of 85 on two Nashville hospital campuses, which also means managing relationships with orthopedic surgeons. In an ongoing effort to strengthen her skills, she completed a leadership formation and development program in 2017; two years later, she was chosen to be in the first class of the year-long St. Thomas Leadership Essentials Program.

What made her interested in yet another year-long program? “I looked at many programs over the past few years, and once I came across the MMHC, I knew it was the right one,” Jennifer explains. “St. Thomas offers many leadership courses that I have taken advantage of, but the MMHC brings me the skills needed for business acumen that I was lacking. I want to bring the most to the table that I can, and this program is preparing me for my future work and helping with my current work.”

In fact, her group’s capstone project involved her own hospital, focusing on optimizing the patient and family experience with a new adolescent spine program at St. Thomas Midtown’s new surgical tower, a short walk from the Vanderbilt campus. “We all bring different strengths,” she says of the group’s members, “and we encourage each other very much.”

While Jennifer counts working in teams as a highlight of her Vanderbilt experience, the other, she says, was the way the program forced her out of her comfort zone, “learning and stretching myself in areas that I always felt weaker in.” She explains, “I was very nervous after my first week of school and feeling overwhelmed. [Director of Health Care Programs Burch Wood] helped talk me off the ledge, and I’m so glad I stayed in. I feel the ROI is fantastic.”

I looked at many programs over the past few years, and once I came across the MMHC, I knew it was the right one.