Build­ing team­work through tough times

DAVID MAR­SHALL Chief nurs­ing and pa­tient-care ser­vices of­fi­cer Univer­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch at Galve­ston

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - By Steven Ross John­son

David Mar­shall, chief nurs­ing of­fi­cer at the Univer­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch Galve­ston since 2001, faced one of the big­gest crises of his ca­reer in 2008 when Hur­ri­cane Ike hit the Gulf Coast. Its fe­roc­ity forced the hos­pi­tal to close for a month. Full op­er­a­tions weren’t re­stored for nearly a year.

Mar­shall stepped in as in­terim chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, serv­ing as the hos­pi­tal’s pub­lic face in keep­ing pa­tients, con­sumers and the com­mu­nity in­formed on the progress to­ward restor­ing full ser­vices. “The re­spect and trust earned over the 25 years of be­ing a part of UTMB served to calm the fears of ev­ery­one,” said Bar­bara Bonifi­cio, di­rec­tor of nurs­ing ex­cel­lence at UTMB.

It took even longer for Mar­shall and his staff to re­gain its Mag­net Recog­ni­tion for nurs­ing ex­cel­lence from the Amer­i­can Nurses Cre­den­tial­ing Cen­ter of the ANA En­ter­prise, which it ini­tially won in 2005. Main­tain­ing the des­ig­na­tion re­quired two con­sec­u­tive years of data, which the hos­pi­tal couldn’t pro­vide be­cause of the clo­sure.

The hos­pi­tal’s abil­ity to re­gain Mag­net sta­tus in 2012 was a re­mark­able achieve­ment, given the tur­moil at the fa­cil­ity dur­ing the shut­down. A few months af­ter the hur­ri­cane, the hos­pi­tal had to elim­i­nate 2,400 staff, in­clud­ing 400 nurses. “This is a team ef­fort,” Mar­shall said in an­nounc­ing restora­tion of Mag­net sta­tus. “Ev­ery nurse at UTMB played a part in this in­cred­i­ble achieve­ment.”

For his ex­em­plary skills in run­ning UTMB’s nurs­ing pro­grams over the past 15 years, Mod­ern Health­care is pleased to award Mar­shall its 2016 Ex­cel­lence in Nurs- ing Award for se­nior-level nurs­ing ex­ec­u­tives.

Mar­shall had no idea he would wind up a nurse when he left high school in North­east Texas. He wanted to study to be an ath­letic trainer in col­lege. But the Pitts­burg, Texas, na­tive took a sum­mer school course for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as a ba­sic emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cian to “help me bet­ter re­spond as an ath­letic trainer,” he re­called. “I had ro­ta­tions in the emer­gency room and the in­ten­sive-care unit at a hos­pi­tal and got to see what nurses re­ally do and thought it was amaz­ing.”

Not long af­ter re­ceiv­ing a nurs­ing de­gree from the Univer­sity of Texas at Austin in 1982, he en­tered a nurs­ing res­i­dency pro­gram at the Univer­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch in Galve­ston. That be­gan his 33-year af­fil­i­a­tion with the aca­demic health cen­ter.

Mar­shall be­came a staff nurse at UTMB in 1983 but was ap­proached af­ter only 18 months on the job to take over as an as­sis­tant nurse man­ager. “I was able to build good re­la­tion­ships with peo­ple,” Mar­shall said. “I think based on that I was seen as some­one peo­ple would fol­low and that I would make a good leader.”

So be­gan Mar­shall’s rise within nurs­ing man­age­ment, but it wasn’t with­out its pit stops. By 1993, Mar­shall had earned a de­gree from South Texas Col­lege of Law in Hous­ton. He then worked at a small Hous­ton law firm for three years, but on week­ends he was a nurse su­per­vi­sor at UTMB.

“I didn’t en­joy prac­tic­ing law like I had en­joyed work­ing at the hos­pi­tal,” Mar­shall said. So he re­turned to work full time at UTMB, where he be­came di­rec­tor of nurs­ing and, in 2001, CNO.

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