This month, Darlena Chadwick, MSN, MBA, FACHE, Vice President of Patient Care for the Queen's Health System and Immediate Past Presdietn of ACHE Hawai'i-Pacific Chapter, took
time to share insights into her background and approach to leadership.
Describe for us your unique path to leadership.
My career started in the Air Force right out of high school and the Air
Force Reserves for over 20 years. The Air Force taught me discipline and the
importance of teamwork.
My daughter Tabatha was diagnosed with cancer and as
you can imagine, everything in my life changed, including my career path. I was
amazed by the nurses and the wonderful compassionate care they gave to my
daughter and family. I knew then that I wanted to make a difference in
the pursuit to end cancer, and decided to go to nursing school.
Once my career started as a nurse, it was difficult
for me as a prior Master Sargent in the Air Force not to be in a leadership
role. For those who know me, I embrace change and always strive for excellence.
I approached my CEO and requested a leadership position which accelerated my
civilian leadership path. I have continued to work in Oncology my entire
nursing career, in order to be that person that can affect policy
changes and lead programmatic development.
During my early leadership at Queens, we quickly opened
a comprehensive cancer center and started the first hospital based navigation and
survivorship program to better serve our patients and their families. I
continue to grow as a leader and have taken on many other areas of focus (Neuroscience,
Imaging, Pharmacy, Lab, Pathology, Hamamatsu Joint Venture and of course
Oncology); all of which I still find fascinating and challenging.
Tell us of an individual who influenced you the most and why:
My daughter Tabatha. She is a smart young woman that
is also career oriented, yet always manages to be a great mom and role model to
my two amazing grandchildren. Strong and courageous, she doesn’t let anything
stop her from pursuing her dreams for herself and her family. Tabatha’s resilience
and sense of humor help carry me through life with a positive attitude.
Who or what influenced your leadership style?
I’m so fortunate to be able to say I have never had a bad
boss. Every person I’ve worked for has
influenced me in a unique and different way. My team is incredible and has
taught me that kindness really does matter.
What were important early leadership lessons for you?
Never think you know everything - I learn daily. Be humble and
get to know your people.
What types of professional development activities did/do you find of value and why:
I attend as many learning opportunities as I can. ACHE has
been an organization that allows for growth, development, and the opportunities
to network with other leaders. I attend Congress, networking events, and stay
current with other healthcare executives across the country.
Are there any habits, practices, or activities you established to further cultivate
your leadership style?
Rounding - being visible is extremely important and helps me to
listen, learn and provide support to others.
What advice would you give to those looking to advance in the area of health care
administration and leadership?
Go for it! It is the most rewarding job you can ever hold. Again,
be a visible leader and know you can make a difference!
What are some things you've done in terms of influencing your facility's organizational culture?
I actively participate on numerous committees and
believe you have to get involved to make things better. I bring back
information to my organization on many topics like diversity, burn out in the
work place and evidence based practice. This creates conversations that change
the culture for the better.
Mahalo, Darlena, for sharing your story and thoughts with us!