Women in Business

How Mercy's Chief Nursing Officer is Leading Her Team Through COVID-19

Mercy's Chief Nursing Officer Dea Geujen talks of caring for her team during a global health crisis.

By Lillian Stone

Jun 07 2020 at 5:26 p.m.

Dea Geujen of Mercy Springfield Communities
Photo courtesy Mercy.Mercy's Chief Operating Officer, Dea Geujen, tells how she and her team stay sane in a pandemic.

Biz 417: How do you stay flexible given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19?
Dea Geujen: My role as a leader is to remove barriers to help our experts at the bedside do their jobs, so I feel like it’s very important for us to continually assess our climate and culture. If there are members of my team that need something—unplanned time away, for example—it’s my responsibility to figure out how to honor the coworker. It comes down to the fact that our new normal is very, very different. For one, we conduct all of our meetings and process improvement discussions by phone now. That isn’t necessarily my style—I love to be with people—but it’s all about being flexible.

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Biz: How have you cared for your team during the pandemic?
D.G.: It’s about making sure you’re present with your team. I love being involved in celebrations, which are obviously a little harder; we’ve halted our monthly nursing awards since we couldn’t gather in large groups of people. Still, our nursing leadership team has a culture of having each other’s back. I’m equally grateful for how the nursing leadership team has prioritized the needs of our coworkers on the front lines. I’m so thankful for their adaptability in the face of constant change.

Biz: How do you show up for yourself outside of work?
D.G.: My teammates are great at holding me accountable in terms of being flexible with myself. A work friend taught me a trick that involves carving out some “vacation time” during the crisis—basically, finding 30 minutes to an hour to disconnect. I also try to focus on gratitude. I’m intentional about appreciating the good stuff in my life that happens with friends or family each day.

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