Reflecting on her early desire to be a nurse, Cathy Knorzer, RN, MSN, WHNP-BC, NEA-BC, begins by recounting her journey in the profession. Now she serves as the Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospitals St. John Medical Center and shares her insights about being a leader.
I don’t recall aspiring to be anything other than a RN. Every research paper I wrote in high school was about premature infants. Upon graduation from the Diploma Program at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in 1985, I worked in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Akron Children’s Hospital. Later I worked 10 years in Labor and Delivery at Akron City Hospital. This led me to obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, followed by earning a Master of Science in Nursing degree and certification as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.
As a staff nurse and direct caregiver, I recall feeling almost euphoric at the end of my busiest shifts for being able to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Today as Chief Nursing Officer, I feel the same way after rounding on the units and interacting with the front line staff, patients, families or visitors.
My favorite part of nursing leadership is the ability to advocate for and empower our frontline nurses and management team. I strongly believe that positive healthy relationships are the most important factor to being a successful leader. Our teams must know and believe that their best interest is my best interest, their roles are equally important to mine. I can’t do my job without them. I value each and every one of them embracing a level of authenticity and acceptance of individual differences. Working from one another’s strengths not weaknesses will always help lead a team to success vs pointing out one another’s weaknesses.
I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of or leading every team I have had the pleasure of working with over my 35-year career. Today I am blessed and proud to lead the Nursing Team at University Hospital St. John Medical Center.