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The Exec: Jerry Mansfield, PhD, RN

Updated: Feb 6

In this podcast, I talk with Jerry Mansfield, the first executive level leader for nursing and patient experience at Medical University of South Carolina, a Magnet-designated hospital for four consecutive years (2015-2019), Jerry is directly accountable for the practice of nursing (more than 2,000 FTEs) and establishing the strategic direction for patient care experience and engagement across all care delivery sites. By blending operational detail with sound strategy he creates innovative care delivery models, projects, and programs.

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A structure, process, and outcomes champion, Jerry drives enterprise-wide improvements in patient safety and quality, staff engagement, and financial performance.Jerry has a reputation for building interprofessional teams and inspiring change in difficult circumstances. Jerry received his Diploma in Nursing from Saint Vincent Hospital School of Nursing, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Xavier University, a master’s degree in nursing administration and a PhD in public health from The Ohio State University.

Jerry holds appointments as Associate Professor for the College of Nursing and Clinical Associate Professor in the College of Medicine, Department of Public Health Services at the Medical University of South Carolina. He also holds national appointments as Past President of the RWJF-ENF Alumni Association (now known as NurseTRUST); Member, National Advisory Committee of the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program; Member, Board of Directors, the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research; inaugural Member, Nurse Executive Council of The Beryl Institute; and National Advisor, Clinical and Nursing Advisory Board of the O’Neil Center for Patient and Family Engagement.

Jerry Mansfield’s Prescription for Success:

Number 1: With humility, develop a pattern for self awareness and deep reflection. Some people may do that through sports activities, some may do it through journaling, some may do it through hobbies, or interactions with family.,.but you’ve got to make time for yourself to step back.

Number 2: “Access ongoing learning and become a student of leadership every day.”

Number 3: “Approach each challenge as if you have something to learn or discern about it. Every problem presents itself with a variety of conflicting opportunities and as I might be charged to help handle that situation, one of two things are going to happen. [Either] I’m here to discern what I am supposed to do with a group of people to help move the problem along to a potential solution or I’m here to learn something about my leadership because we don’t do things right all the time–we make mistakes and we might stumble.”

Connect with Jerry:

LinkedIn: @JerryAMansfield


Notable quotes from Jerry’s interview:

At the end of the conversation, [the nurse] walked to the door and she said, if you need anything else, you have your call light. And at that moment, I looked up to the ceiling–in my experience–heaven. And I said, that’s what I want to do. I want to make that difference in other people’s lives.
Face to face interactions on a periodic basis with people who really know how to facilitate a conversation really opened up my eyes to how you work with people to work through a problem.
I can’t be all things to all people, I need teams that help offset where [I’m lacking].
(On becoming a student of leadership) If you look back into the early years, there have been profiles of leadership over time, some we admire, some we may not admire as much, but what they did was they motivated people to do something or led people into places that they had not yet known they could go.
So, for me [leadership] is not just a title and it’s not just a set of formal or informal education, or you just happen to read the leadership article from Harvard Business Review, or you saw a movie on it, you’ve got to start to live it every single day.
I find that there are some individuals [who] are more open than others to what people are trying to tell them. And it’s certainly been my experience that when I have heard something and then I’ve heard it again or it’s come [as] a similar concept from a couple different angles, it’s important for me to look at that. And yet I see people in leadership roles [who] are getting that kind of feedback and either ignore it or argue themselves out of it. I think over time that defines their style and then all of a sudden they find themselves either effective or ineffective because of it.
Some people might be more influenced by a leadership track and do that early on. Yet I don’t think there’s any science [to] suggest that anybody who doesn’t have that, can’t be a leader. It just might be a little more challenging or difficult. But I think more importantly it’s ‘do you want to have a positive impact on the product or the group in which you are working or trying to serve.’ And if you want to influence that in a positive way, then [it’s] something you’re going to have to work at. It doesn’t come with…the credential or the title that that puts you in that spot.
We all work with people that are not always on the same page as us and sometimes can be quite cantankerous. But sometimes I approach those situations, if those things are getting surfaced in a meeting, then we might have an opportunity, if we work through it together, to come up with an even better solution

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