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Governor appoints St. Anthony nurse

Governor appoints St. Anthony nurse

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Hospital news

For more information, contact: Larry Blanc

First as a registered nurse, and now working in hospital administration, Gloria Larson focuses heavily on patient care and safety. Her more than 30 years of hands-on and management healthcare experience and education recently caught the attention of Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who's tapped Larson, Vice President of Patient Care Services at St. Anthony Hospital, for a director's spot on the state's Patient Safety Commission Board.

In a recent announcement, Kulongoski thanked Larson for her time, talent and effort in becoming a member of the newly-formed commission, and for her "willingness to be involved in public service." The state Senate Interim Committee on Rules and Executive Appointments is set to formally confirm Larson’s appointment on January 22. Her board term begins Feb 1, 2004.

Since 2000, Larson and her husband, Gary, have called Pendleton home. In her position at St. Anthony, she's charged with administering the nursing, home health care, physical therapy, pharmacy, respiratory services, diagnostic imaging, discharge planning, education, infection control, risk management and performance improvement departments.

Along with her more than full-time job, she's currently a student in the Oregon Health and Science University's (OHSU) RN to BSN program. She is already an RN, having graduated from a diploma school of nursing in Minneapolis, Minn. She holds a bachelor's degree in Health Facilities Administration from Minnesota's Moorhead State University and a master's degree in Business and Health Care Administration from City University in Bellevue, Wash.

She's worked at hospitals small and large, from rural St. Anthony with 49 beds to the prestigious Mayo Clinic's 1,012-bed St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. During her 10 years there, Larson was head nurse of the Mayo Clinic's cardiovascular surgical intensive care unit, where they performed more than 2,000 thoracic and heart surgeries a year.

"Gloria is an excellent choice for this board," said Jeffrey Drop, president and CEO of St. Anthony Hospital. "She's got the energy and the commitment to make things happen."

Oregon Department of Human Services Officer Grant K. Higginson recently invited Larson to attend an upcoming Portland, Ore., conference that will focus on taking the Patient Safety Commission from theory to practice.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the state of Oregon and the Oregon Patient Safety Workgroup, the two-day event in February will include discussion of HB 2349, the bill that authorized formation of the Patient Safety Commission. Scheduled presenters include Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Chief Operations Officer James B. Conaway, M.Sc., and the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Hospital and Primary Care Services Director Frederick J. Heigel.

Larson said she's looking forward to the conference and to learning about speakers' experience with challenges and successes in creating a culture of safety and a learning environment in which adverse events and trends are reported and addressed via an established reporting system.

"Healthcare professionals are charged with giving the highest quality of care," she said. "Folks trust that St. Anthony Hospital will provide the safest environment possible. As a registered nurse, my goal has always been to render thorough and considerate patient care. And in my management role, I am able to set forth policies and practices to assist staff nurses at the bedside to promote patient safety."

Larson currently is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives Board of Directors and the Finance Committee and Nursing Practice Commission. She's also chairperson of the Eastern Oregon Nurse Executive Council and does occasional work as a nursing instructor at Blue Mountain Community College.

"This is an exceptional opportunity to represent Pendleton and rural healthcare on the Eastern side of the state," she said. "Mixing with commission members, key legislators, state agency officials, governor's office staff and interested healthcare consumers should make for valuable discussions about patient safety issues currently being faced by Oregon hospitals, nursing facilities, ambulatory surgery centers, pharmacies and renal dialysis centers."