By Leanne Nyirfa

The role of a hospital chief executive officer (CEO) is to provide leadership in order to create the best possible environment for patients to heal. In a faith-based hospital like St. Paul’s, where core values are based on respect, compassion and holistic care, CEO Jean Morrison believes the best healing occurs when everyone – patients, physicians and health care personnel, staff and volunteers – feel valued and appreciated.

Jean Morrison is the CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital.  Photo by Electric Umbrella

Jean Morrison is the CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital.
Photo by Electric Umbrella

“I truly believe a person’s ability to heal physically is closely connected to their spiritual and psychological state, and that physicians and employees who feel respected and valued for their knowledge and skills are better equipped to provide care that focusses on healing the body, the mind, the spirit and the soul of our patients,” says Morrison. “This is the kind of compassionate care the Catholic Grey Nuns provided when they founded St. Paul’s and I believe that’s what makes our hospital so special.”

That’s why every day, Jean makes it a priority to demonstrate compassion herself by letting people know their work is appreciated, and inspiring them to be respectful, and compassionate themselves.

“One of my goals is to encourage everyone to pay it forward with compassion – to model our mission, vision and values as much as I can.”

She does that by being out interacting with employees, patients and their families, participating in staff huddles, attending manager meetings to review quality and safety indicators and to see how everyone’s doing, and sharing employee success stories as much as possible.

As a non-Catholic working in an independent Catholic facility, Jean says the adjustment to leading a faith-based hospital wasn’t difficult because throughout her entire life, she’s always tried to lead with respect and compassion in mind. She grew up spending time in a store her parents ran, where they taught her to respect and serve all people. And those are the same values she tried to instill in her own family.

“In our home, we tried to teach our children that everyone is to be respected regardless of their beliefs and opinions,” says Morrison. “I think that’s one of the reasons why I have such a strong emotional connection in my work, that’s just the way I live my life.”

Jean says although there are always day-to-day challenges, the Mission Office and Spiritual Care staff at St. Paul’s help make that aspect of her job as CEO easier.

“I think the biggest part of Catholic teaching is about living in the image of God and the healing ministry, and in that regard, I feel so blessed to have our mission and spiritual care staff to rely on when I have questions of my own.

“Knowing that health care providers in our hospital feel valued and respected, and that those feelings ultimately translate to better patient care gives me great satisfaction and adds a lot of meaning to my life. It’s a wonderful environment in which to work and heal.”