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Sue Thompson takes the helm at Trinity Health Systems

Pays tribute to inspiring, visionary role of predecessor — Tom Tibbitts

January 3, 2010
Messenger News

Over the last 20 years, I have been fortunate to a part of the development and growth of Trinity Regional Medical Center. During this time I have worked with many wonderful individuals who are passionate about providing the best health care to our community. Because of this, I am honored and humbled to be the new CEO of Trinity Health Systems.

During my work career at Trinity, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Tom Tibbitts. Through the years, he has taught me many valuable lessons:

First, create a vision. Tom has demonstrated an uncanny ability to look beyond today and see into the future. It was Tom's vision that put in motion the creation of Trimark Physicians Group, which has proven to be critical in stabilizing and expanding the availability and sophistication of health care services for this community and region. Additionally, the Trimark Physicians Group has assisted in recruiting and retaining additional medical and surgical specialists including the Iowa Heart Center to our community. Currently, we have 26 physician specialties offering care close to home. Tom has been inspirational to the employees, physicians and board members of Trinity during his many years of service. Trinity and Fort Dodge have been blessed by Tom's exceptional visioning skills.

Second, be positive. With every challenge we faced, Tom looked for the opportunity within. His positive attitude has been infectious throughout the organization as demonstrated by the employees' admiration for him. As an enormously popular CEO, Tom sincerely appreciated his employees and always treasured his walks around the hospital. Whether a new employee at orientation, or a retired employee attending the Christmas Tea, each individual who was touched by Tom's leadership sees themselves in a more positive light when they spend time with him.

Third, when you do the right thing, good things will happen. This has been Tom's mantra. His basic philosophy for decision-making, whether tough or easy, popular or unpopular, has always included weighing the decision based on doing the right thing.

Lastly, always have fun. Tom believes in incorporating fun into the workplace. During every employee orientation presentation he always shared with new employees, ''We spend more time at work than we do at home with our families, so we better have a good time and enjoy the people we work with!''

I have been blessed with Tom's guidance, support and mentoring during my time at Trinity. His coaching and encouragement have helped me achieve many of my career goals.

I have also been fortunate to have the support and guidance of the Trinity Regional Medical Center and Trinity Health Systems boards of directors. The boards' plan for Trinity's leadership transition has been a three year process - beginning in 2006. The plan provided a clear road map for moving our organization ahead during this transition. Although 2010 looks to be a year filled with change, I know that the employees and physicians at Trinity Regional Medical Center will work together with our boards to move Trinity forward. And I am confident that our employees and medical staff will do whatever it takes to provide the exceptional care our community deserves. There is no greater group of people that I would rather have on my team - our employees, physicians and board members are second to none.

As a professional nurse and health care administrator, I believe that health care is a calling. Health care is an extraordinary service that allows us the privilege of caring for patients and their families during their most vulnerable moments - when they draw their first breath at birth through life's ages, until their last breath of life. We are here to serve our patients. At Trinity Regional Medical Center, quality patient care and safety will always be our priorities.

In closing, Trinity Regional Medical Center remains focused on meeting the expanding health care needs of our community and region. The trust our community places in Trinity is something we do not take for granted. We work very hard to earn this trust and we are committed to providing the very best care humanly possible.

Finally, I will always be thankful to Tom Tibbitts for his leadership, his passion and his confidence in me. He has taught me many lessons about leadership and life. I am also grateful for a very supportive medical staff, for outstanding employees and for an incredible board of directors. Their persistent spirit combined with compassion and innovation gives them the ability to turn every challenge into an opportunity to improve and become an even stronger health care organization. Most of all, I am thankful for the privilege to serve our community. To each of you, I thank you and look forward to serving you.

Sue Thompson is president and chief executive officer of Trinity Health Systems and Trinity Regional Medical Center.



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