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Education Is Essential For A Chief Nursing Executive

Jane M. Mericle is the Operational Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. She has over 35 years of experience in the field of healthcare. She has a certification in Executive Nursing Practice and has served in roles involving patient care, management and administration.

(Photo Courtesy of Jane M. Mericle)

Can you describe your duties as a health care administrator?

"I serve as an Operational Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive for Nemours / Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE. In this role, I have responsibility for a clinical and operational portfolio that includes elements of clinical care, quality and safety, patient and family experience and financial performance."

How has education prepared you for your career in healthcare administration?

"As a young nurse, I had a brief experience in management. I very quickly learned that I wanted to return to school for more formal education in leadership, business and policy. My graduate education was timely and invaluable. I chose a graduate degree in health science and clinical leadership where I studied in many schools of the university including medical, nursing, economics, business and law. While I had been in healthcare many years as a nurse, this allowed me to study with a diverse group of healthcare professionals in order to better understand the many facets of health care."

What continuing education is required for your role?

"While I have mandatory education requirements to maintain my professional license, in my current role, continuing education in other areas is critical to success. In the rapidly changing landscape of healthcare, both formal and informal education is essential. I attend conferences and national meetings to continually learn what others are doing, understand new models and theories, research and outcomes and best of all, to network with other executives in and outside of our field of healthcare. I also was so fortunate to have a few strong professional mentors and sponsors who intentionally gave me opportunities and progressively increased areas of responsibility and accountability to grow my leadership competencies and skills."

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

"Begin by pursuing a strong formal education. It will be the foundation you build on for the rest of your career. Find your passion and align your career with that. Always know every job is important.... None is too small. Stay focused on your current job and commit to excellent performance in every role and with every project and assignment. Don't be afraid to try new things, experiment and take risks. Find a mentor/ sponsor who can challenge you and help facilitate your professional development and growth. See every day as an opportunity for learning, and seek other professionals, executives and networks to enhance learning opportunities. Above all, never assume you have "arrived." Learning will be ongoing for the rest of your life, and by being open to that, your growth and potential will never be limited."

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. She reports on various topics such as: Social Media, Local Events, Entertainment, Food and Drink and more. Her work can be found at

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