Christina Dempsey, a vice president of a large health care consulting firm, spends more time in an airport than her own home.
Not only does she spend her time traveling to hospitals, but Dempsey, who earned her BSN from Missouri State in 1998 and her MBA from Missouri State in 2004, is also busy speaking to members who belong to different health care organizations, and publishing articles and book chapters several times annually.
“My nursing degree and nursing experience have been of paramount importance in my success as a consultant, a speaker and a writer,” she said.
While most vice presidents have a background in sales or management, Dempsey got her start as a burn technician while in nursing school.
The BSN program gave Dempsey the education to pursue her management goals and quickly move from nursing into management—becoming a vice president of surgical and emergency services for a hospital in the southwest Missouri region.
In 2007, after finishing a collaborative project to improve patient flow in the hospital, she was recruited to join Patient Flow Technology, now Press Ganey Associates, where she currently runs the clinical and operational consulting division.
When Dempsey was approached to teach a nursing leadership and management course a few years ago she was honored.
She enjoys sharing her real world experience and “war stories” with her students, but feels the students teach her as much as she teaches them.
“If nurses do not understand how decisions are made in management and administration they will not be able to influence these decisions,” said Dempsey. “It's so important that all nurses realize that they ARE leaders and managers whether their titles say it or not.”
Dempsey’s course is one of the last that nursing students take before graduation. She says the course is intended to leave a lasting impression on decision making.
“I want the students to have a taste of what it is like and how decisions are made so that their transition from student to nurse is smooth and so that when they do decide to become a manager, they remember some key things that will help them be successful,” said Dempsey.
Teaching nursing students is something Dempsey enjoys so much that she can’t imagine not doing it and she is now working on completing her third degree program at Missouri State, a Master of Science in Nursing with a nurse educator specialization.
“I have formed strong bonds with the faculty in the nursing department both as a colleague and a student,” said Dempsey.
“Having worked with academia in a professional manner, I'm not sure this would have been possible anywhere else.”