A New Way to Serve - HSNT Board Member Spotlight

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For a while, Melissa Winans had her sights set on the south primarily because of the weather. After growing up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spending most of her adulthood raising her family in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Melissa was ready for warmer pastures. She was tired of the cold northern winters and ¬wanted to retire somewhere away from the all the snow, so she started to plan ahead by looking for a new job. There were several criteria it had to meet: it had to be in a faith-based organization, it had to be a director-level position, and it had to be in North Texas.

In the fall of 2011, Texas Health Presbyterian of Denton gave her a call.

“They had a perfect job for me that checked all my boxes,” Melissa says. “I came down here around Thanksgiving time and started the following January, in 2012. I started as the Women’s Health director and within about a year I took on the Critical Care role. Then, when our [Chief Nursing Officer] left in 2014, I stepped in as interim and eventually took the position full-time.”

Like many in her profession, Melissa has gained much experience and continually added to her academic knowledge throughout her career. Aside from her 15 years at St. Cloud Hospital, Melissa has been in the nursing field from Day 1, starting with a Nursing Assistant course at her university and ending with her receiving her Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Melissa felt called to the nursing profession out of a desire to help people when they’re at their worst. As her career progressed, she ended up taking a less direct approach when it came to patient care, but she’s never felt like she’s stopped helping her patients at any level.

“I do miss direct care, but now I have the ability now to make sure those who are giving direct care have the resources they need…. So, your voice just changes. You’re still impacting the patient; you just have a broader reach now. I still get to see patients occasionally, but I think in this position I can provide so much more.”

When Melissa officially became the chief nursing officer for Texas Health Presbyterian, her viewpoint expanded beyond the scope of just her hospital. She began keeping up with the local politics and the needs of the community – and her vice president at the time, Louise Baldwin, sat on the board of Health Services of North Texas.

“She introduced me to all that HSNT does,” says Melissa, “and when she stepped down, she recommended my name. [HSNT’s CEO Doreen Rue] called, and I was very excited for the opportunity, because I’d been looking for a way to serve. My time may be all hospital-based, but I’ve got the ability to give something back.”

As a member of the Quality Committee of the HSNT board, Melissa helps to guide HSNT towards practices that increase the quality of patient care, such as the new phone structure that was recently implemented. Melissa was inspired by the level of dedication she saw in the other board members she worked with, and she had her own reasons for being just as passionate.

“The big ‘Why?’ that’s behind HSNT…I’ve been there. I’ve been the mom who was struggling to put change together to buy formula. I’m a success story, if you will, and I can see that same potential in every person who goes to HSNT, I can see myself there, and even though I’m blessed to be in this role, I know that we’re all one or two paychecks away from being in a predicament,” Melissa says. “People just need help, and HSNT is a helping hand up.”

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