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Misti Foust-Cofield: An Empathetic Thoughtful Leader Facilitating C.A.R.E—Courtesy, Attitude, Respect, and Enthusiasm

Misti Foust-Cofield | Chief Nursing Officer | Reid Health
Misti Foust-Cofield | Chief Nursing Officer

Success in every field depends on leadership. Great leaders combine inspiration, communication, insight, and direction to bring about effective management of organizations. When it comes to nursing, those characteristics are particularly crucial.

Team members who receive support find it easier to manage the pressures that arise from everyday challenges. Good leaders help in dealing with whatever disruptive factors that might cause emotional weariness and poor teamwork.

Misti Foust-Cofield, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Reid Health in Richmond, Ind., has a wealth of expertise in a variety of nursing positions, including critical care. She has spearheaded various staff initiatives to enhance culture and teamwork, with a particular emphasis on and involvement in improving the patient experience.

Foust-Cofield holds a master’s degree in healthcare administration from Franklin University and an accelerated BSN in nursing from Jacksonville University. She resides in Richmond but is originally from Preble County, Ohio, which sits on the other side of the state line, just a few miles away.

The following is an interview between Foust-Cofield and Insights Care, which discusses leadership, the healthcare sector, and her background in the field.

Misti, tell us about yourself and your professional journey so far.

I had the privilege of starting my own clinical journey as a SICU/Neuro ICU nurse at Halifax Medical Centre in Daytona Beach, Fla. We served as a Level 2 Trauma Centre for Daytona and many surrounding communities, caring for post-trauma patients and their families in the area.

About 14 years ago, I transitioned “home” to Reid. I came back to Reid as a bedside Open Heart Recovery Nurse and was blessed to work with many great physicians and colleagues. I moved through a variety of growth opportunities including Manager of CCU, Inpatient Director of Nursing, and eventually into the role of CNO.

Please tell us about Reid Health and its inception story.

Reid Health offers nationally recognized quality and technology with a personal touch that sets us apart. Our growing team is known for going the extra mile to make sure our patients and families are made to feel as comfortable and cherished as possible when they find themselves in need of our services — on the main campus or at one of numerous satellite facilities in the eight-county region of Indiana and Ohio that we serve.

We opened as Reid Memorial Hospital in 1905. Daniel G. Reid, an industrialist originally from Richmond, financed the construction. The hospital name was in memory of Reid’s wife, Ella, and their son, Frank, who both died before the turn of the century. In 1992, we changed our name to Reid Hospital and Health Care Services to reflect our growth into much more than an inpatient hospital. In 2015, we again changed our name, this time to Reid Health.

After almost 100 years at our original location, it became obvious the most cost-efficient and quality-driven option for continued growth would be a new facility. In September 2004, we broke ground at our new location on about 100 acres two miles north of our old home. We completed the move in September 2008, when the inpatient hospital opened its doors. Today, our health system includes a 271-bed hospital on our main campus and numerous satellite locations in the region of Eastern Indiana and Western Ohio that we serve. Reid’s service area is home to about 280,000 people and includes six Indiana and two Ohio counties.

We are accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), the Indiana State Department of Health, Medicare/Medicaid, American Association of Blood Banks, and the American College of Surgeons Community Cancer Program.

What are the key products and services of the organization?

In addition to our inpatient hospital in Richmond, Ind., Reid Health offers primary care and several specialty services at locations throughout our eight-county service area.

Key service lines include Heart & Vascular, where our providers have experience with the Watchman and TAVR procedures and cutting-edge treatment options to address conditions such as A Fib (Watchman) and aortic stenosis (TAVR). We also have an excellent cardiothoracic program to keep our community receiving open heart surgery close to home.

Other services include MSK, where we have made a particular commitment and investment in technology, including Mako and Mazor robotic systems for joint replacement and minimally invasive spine surgeries; Obstetrics and Gynecology services; Emergency Services; Surgical Services and Oncology.

Also, in 2019, we contracted with Wayne County, Ind., to begin offering ambulance services in one section of the county. Since then, we have grown to offer those same services to nearly all of Wayne County, as well as all of Union County in Indiana, and now have seven ambulances in our fleet.

What are the core values of Reid Health? How are you driving the organization to achieve its mission and vision?

In April 2021, we announced new mission, vision, and value statements to help govern decision-making over the coming years.

Mission: To lead our communities to well-being, one person at a time

Vision: Healthier people, thriving communities, trusted partner

Values: Excellence, Empathy, Integrity, Accountability

Those statements sum up our culture and give our team members a clear understanding of what’s important to us as an organization as we work to serve the needs of our patients and communities. For our patients and their families, the statements represent the level of care they should expect to receive from us.

In your opinion, what are the current challenges in the nursing industry? How do you aspire to turn them into opportunities under your leadership?

We’re doing our best to reimagine nursing and nursing leadership. We’re partnering to increase our workforce pipeline and are focused on restoring the passion in our workforce and team members.

We’re focusing greatly on the mental health and well-being of our clinicians and doing our best to enhance care delivery by leveraging technology and decreasing the stress on our bedside teams.

Amongst the heavy workflow, how do you ensure that your organization allows its staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Our teams have been incredibly resilient and have been so courageous during the pandemic to relentlessly serve our community. We’re acknowledging the importance of work-life balance by offering many of our meetings and communication through social media platforms and virtual options. This allows our teams to spend more time with their families.

We’ve placed tremendous focus on the mental health and well-being of our bedside teams, offering EAP services and a Code Lavender support team. We’ve also undertaken a remodel of all staff breakrooms to develop tranquil, serene environments that our teams can use to take a mid-shift break that’s not in a sterile “hospital-like” environment. We recently opened a childcare center to help ease the burden of finding childcare. This has been wildly successful, so much so we have a wait list for openings at the center.

We’ve been rounding to simply acknowledge the hard work of our teams.  They’ve been so committed to our community, and we are indebted for the service and amazing care they continue to render. 

Could you share with us any moment or event that impacted your professional life profoundly?

I’ve been blessed with many meaningful moments throughout my nursing journey. I’ve cared for a number of patients and families who have left a lasting impression on my heart and mind.

One patient who I resuscitated during a cardiac arrest still stays in touch, and her children and grandchildren know me. They typically reach out on the anniversary of our encounter and send me words of kindness and appreciation. It’s that type of appreciation that fills my bucket, and I’m the one being truly blessed.

As an experienced leader, what advice would you like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who wish to venture into the competitive industry that you are serving?

I would highly recommend anyone considering this career to do it! Do it with all your heart, mind, and soul. I would encourage others to be fearless and relentless to pursue your passion to serve others. This work is tough and can be stressful for not only the leader but their family.

Nursing leadership is more than a career, it’s a lifestyle and truly never turns off. If it’s who you are to the core, this is the appropriate field for you. Do not be afraid to fail and always be vulnerable and genuine to those who you’re privileged to serve. It’s the most rewarding career to serve others and to touch so many patients and families through the ripple impact of leadership.

What are the future goals of the organization? How does it envision scaling up its operations to reach 2022 and beyond?

We’re in the middle of an expansion that includes new facilities in key communities aimed at bringing more services and specialty care providers closer to the patients we serve.

As part of that growth, we’re prioritizing technology, seeking to make state-of-the-art equipment and systems available to those who entrust us with their care. That includes a first-of-its-kind project that began this year to upgrade inpatient rooms at our hospital to add smart boards and other features that are directly integrated with Epic, our electronic medical records-keeping system.

The project will allow us to use our recently purchased patient beds and a new call light system to their fullest capabilities, which will enhance patient care and consolidate work for bedside staff.

Give us a few of your awards or recognition that accurately highlight your company’s position in the market.

During my time as a CNO, my team worked together to achieve several accreditations, certifications, and other recognitions from national organizations that reflect our high-quality care, including:

  • Verification as a Level 3 trauma center for our emergency rooms in Richmond and Connersville, Ind.
  • Certification as a Primary Stroke Center from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP)
  • Accreditation for the Reid Health Breast Center
  • Accreditation for our Urgent Care locations in Richmond, Connersville, and Eaton, Ohio
  • American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines—Stroke Gold Plus award for best practices in stroke care
  • Accreditation for the Reid Health Care Pavilion
  • Accreditation for our Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programs in Richmond and Connersville

In addition, Reid Health was named one of America’s Best Midsize Employers by Forbes and received the 2022 Outstanding Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades.

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