For years healthcare quality and safety efforts focused on the individual responsibility of nurses and other medical professionals. Today, the responsibility of quality and safety improvement is a system priority. Quality improvement professionals ensure the proper medical data is analyzed to provide the best care possible for patients. That is why SDAHO is recognizing Carrie Donovan with Monument Health, Spearfish Hospital as this week’s Healthcare hero. Carrie is the Supervisor of Safety and Quality Services. The SDAHO Healthcare Hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals across South Dakota.
Carrie Donovan understands the importance of her role and uses medical data to help her team make informed decisions. Although 28 years ago when Carrie first began her healthcare career, safety and quality services was not yet a department. “When I began in 1992, I worked in the clinical laboratory and at that time quality was not a service it was a new thing and when hospitals began discussing it, the laboratory was the first place they turned to, in helping with the quality effort. From there I went into quality, infection, risk management and patient safety.” Since 2003 Carrie has focused on quality and safety and she understands her role in assisting the healthcare team who serve the patients. “The people I work with are the best part of my day. I serve those who serve the patient.” Those who work with Carrie say she is a role model for their team providing the most up-to-date information to help the hospital make informed decisions. “She monitors and reports safety and quality data, not only to the frontline staff but to the over-arching system Safety and Quality Leaders.” Suzanne Campbell, Monument Health, Spearfish Hospital
Carrie is originally from Casper, Wyoming and came to South Dakota to attend college. After graduation she began her healthcare career here and has never left. “Working in a small community or a small community hospital teaches you to be resourceful. We don’t have the level and depth of resources that other facilities do, and it teaches you to work with your co-workers and get a job done even if it’s not within your job description.”
In 2009 Carrie worked alongside her County Emergency Management Team to talk about and create plans for a possible pandemic flu known as the bird flu, which did not turn out to be as impactful as expected. Fast forward to 2020 when COVID-19 reached western South Dakota, “ten years later I’m pulling those plans out and I’m activating them and that was surreal because when I wrote the plans, I never thought I would use them. COVID 19 turned everyone’s world upside down.” Carrie was forced to abandon her regular duties and oversee the Incident Command Center. “Carrie set up our COVID vaccination clinic in Spearfish for our local and surrounding residents. She was responsible for finding a location, preparing it for occupancy with internet access and computer set-ups, assembling the needed supplies for vaccinating folks, managing the vaccine ensuring that no dose was wasted, and recruiting help to staff the vaccination clinic.” – Suzanne Campbell, Monument Health, Spearfish Hospital
Carrie’s team say she was able to manage the patient schedule with minimal assistance and not one dose was wasted due to a lack of recipients. Carrie says while she was active with COVID-19 response efforts, her staff stepped up and took over her duties as needed. Once the high demand for vaccines was past, Carrie transitioned the vaccines to the regular clinics and returned the temporary clinics back to their original state. “Our community will forever be grateful for her efforts in the COVID vaccination efforts.” – Suzanne Campbell, Monument Health, Spearfish Hospital
As life begins to get back to normal, Carrie says there are a few positive things that came out of the pandemic. “I feel like our team at the hospital is closer than we have ever been, and we understand each other better and we are stronger. Our community in Spearfish was hugely supportive of healthcare and now people are more willing and accepting to talk about faith and allowing it to be part of our community and workplace. Those spiritual conversations are continuing after the pandemic and I’m happy to see that and I hope it continues.”
Like many healthcare professionals when asked how Carrie feels about being called a healthcare hero, she is quick to recognize others within the healthcare community that she feels are more deserving of the title and recognition. “To be honest, I was just doing my job because that is what I have experience in. Safety and quality encompass emergency management and emergency preparedness and death and disaster response, and I have done it for decades. I know all the players, I know who to call, and there was no one else who could do it. I was just doing my job.”
Carrie Donovan, congratulations on being a healthcare hero and thank you for all you do!
If you know someone that is a healthcare hero and would like to nominate them, visit us online and nominate them today.