Sometimes you just know what you’re going to do for a career very early on. For Mary Hardin, that job was nursing.
Mary has been named the new Vice President of Patient Care Services/ Chief Nursing Officer at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, replacing the retiring Ursula Butts. Mary took over for Ursula in December.
Mary comes from a family of nurses. Her mother, Joyce Tudor, was a nurse at CMH and area doctor’s offices for years, her brother is a nurse practitioner and her aunt is a nurse. Mary was encouraged by her mom to enter the field and after helping her mom take care of her ill grandmother, Mary knew what she wanted to do.
“I entered the Brunswick- Lunenburg-Mecklenburg Practical Nursing program at CMH in September 1986,” Mary said. “While in the LPN program, CMH hired nursing students to become nursing assistants and I was hired May 1987 as a nursing assistant on Lower West, aka Skilled Care.”
Mary was a Licensed Practical Nurse after graduating from the CMH program in 1987 – the program’s 25th class. Her mother graduated from the very first class. Mary started her additional educational road to becoming a registered nurse in 1989 with Barton College. Mary has a master’s degree in nursing from Walden University.
Mary was born at the original CMH and is from Bracey, VA. She attended LaCrosse Elementary and then Park View Junior and Senior High Schools.
She has held quite a few jobs at CMH through the years. She was a nursing assistant on Lower West for five months and once she graduated as an LPN, she worked five years on West, before earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 1992. Mary has been a charge nurse, team leader and a staff nurse through the years, as well as patient care coordinator, nursing supervisor for two years, education coordinator for three years and for the past 20 years, she was the Director of Oncology at the Hendrick Cancer & Rehab Center. Mary even found time to be an adjunct nursing instructor at Southside Virginia Community College for two years. Hard work has never bothered Mary.
Mary’s varied experience at CMH made her an ideal candidate for the Vice President of Patient Care Services.
“We had several qualified candidates for this position, but Mary’s vast experience, demonstrated leadership attributes and the respect she garnered from her co-workers and colleagues made her stand out as our top choice,” said W. Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital.
Mary has a message for the citizens of Southside Virginia and Northern North Carolina. “I want the citizens of the community to be able to trust in our care.” She continued, VCU Health CMH’s nursing mission is to “deliver safe, effective care that produces outcomes in a manner that allows nurses to leave at the end of the day proud of what they have accomplished, knowing their care has made a difference.”
And making a difference is very important to Mary Hardin.
“I can make a difference in serving our patients and families, by inspiring and engaging team members by operating with transparency to sustain our culture of excellence in care,” she said.
Mary’s management style is that of a servant leader. “I want to be a role model as a leader,” she added.
Mary feels her last 20 years at CMH have helped prepare her to be an empathetic leader. “I have learned such valuable lessons about life from the oncology patients and their families. They keep me humble to know life is precious and how important people and relationships are to us. I have also learned throughout my journey in oncology how important spirituality and faith is for me and for others,” she said.
There is an adage in health care that the only constant is change, and Mary can cite many examples of change in her career.
“When I entered into nursing, I wore white uniforms and a cap. However, it was short lived and transitioned to colored uniforms by 1992. Wearing gloves to bathe a patient was considered offensive to a patient and of course now our nurses wear gloves for most patient interactions. So much has changed in 30 years as patients have shorter lengths of stays and the focus is now more on the patient experience,” she added.
Mary foresees many challenges and changes moving forward as well with reduced government reimbursements, staffing challenges and addressing the nationwide shortage of nurses.
But one thing is clear, Mary Hardin is ready to face those challenges with a smile and a kind word.
Mary has been married to Jimmy for the past 26 years and they have twins, Jon and JoBeth. She will be gaining a daughter-in-law this June. In her spare time, Mary enjoys singing and dancing, although she claims not to be a good dancer – just a dancer who enjoys dancing. She’s an active member of South Hill United Methodist, where she is in the choir and leads the children’s music ministry and helps with a teen Bible study.