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Monica Smith

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, Boone Hospital Center

Job description
I’m a member of the senior executive team with direct accountability for developing, executing, and managing all services delivered by Boone Hospital Center. This includes hospital (inpatient and outpatient) and home health ad hospice services. In addition, I have authority, accountability, and responsibility for the definition of policy and procedure and standards relating to the provision of nursing care and practice throughout the organization.

Professional background
Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in nursing from the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and more than 30 years of nursing and operational experience, including roles as COO, CNO, service line director, director of patient care services, advanced practice nursing, and staff nursing in critical care and trauma. In addition, I’m a fellow of American College of Healthcare Executives and board-certified as a nurse executive.

Grew up in Austin, Texas, and went to high school in St. Louis until going to MU. I consider Columbia my hometown now.

Years lived in Columbia
Since 1987.

Favorite volunteer/community activity
Heart of Missouri United Way Day of Caring.

Favorite recent project
Although highly challenging, I have held the role of incident commander for Boone Health since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Leading an organization through a tumultuous and unprecedented time with the goal of patient and staff safety while developing programs to support the workforce has been challenging yet rewarding.

A Columbia businessperson you admire and why
I admire Dr. Dianne Lynch, president of Stephens College. Dr. Lynch had a collective vision to develop a creative nursing school partnership with Boone Hospital Center. She embraced what is needed to become a nurse and developed a program that supported students, becoming entrenched in health care from day one. Working with Dr. Lynch on this vision and making it a reality has inspired me to be a more creative thinker and leader — never saying no, just saying how can we do it!

Why you are passionate about your job
I am passionate about making a difference for the people who dedicate their lives to serving others. I consider myself a servant-leader. My goal is to break down barriers, develop programs or services, and provide resources or support that make their work easier given the challenges in health care.

If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would
Continue to find ways to serve others through authentic leadership and nursing.

Why you are passionate about your company
Boone Health is special. I have worked in many different health care organizations, and I value that Boone puts their people first. Many would think that we should put patients first. This is true; however, Boone and I both believe that if you put your people first, then this creates an environment where patients will have positive outcomes in care and experience. Boone is a large organization with a small, family vibe. We have high standards to which we hold one another accountable, making Boone an excellent place to work and to receive health care.

What people should know about your profession
Nurses are highly organized and resourceful, exceptional leaders and outstanding critical thinkers. Nursing is extremely challenging — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But however challenging the profession of nursing can be, it is also extremely rewarding. To share in someone’s experience at the beginning of life, the end of life, or in between is a gift and a honor. As a health care executive, having a nursing and health care background brings insight, experience, and leadership to best drive operational and patient outcomes, which complements and supports the organizational mission.

The next challenge facing your industry
Workforce. Throughout my career, there has rarely been a time we have not experienced a nursing shortage. The pandemic, coupled with an aging workforce, has significantly impacted the ability to fill critical health care needs. Identifying new models of care delivery will be paramount for the future of health care and nursing.

Biggest lesson learned in business
There is a cost to provide care. How one can articulate and demonstrate tangible and non-tangible returns on investments to achieve a goal is an art.

Your next professional goal
I have committed to life-long learning. As a leader, executive, and nurse, continuing to learn how to provide exceptional care and service is a constant goal. One way will be to identify new leadership roles that stretch me professionally.

How you want to impact the Columbia community
By leading the delivery of high-quality care and services to the citizens of Boone County and beyond. I also am a board member of Heart of Missouri United Way. Being a volunteer board member allows me to continue to help others outside of health care. I will also serve as the American Heart Association’s Go Red chair for 2022. My role will help influence how we can educate women and the community on heart health. Columbia is an incredible place to live and raise a family. If I can use my expertise, knowledge, and influence to make Columbia a better place to live, then I meet my personal and professional goals of making a difference.

Greatest strength
Authentic servant-leadership and excellent communication skills.

Greatest weakness
Wanting to fix everything for everyone.

What you do for fun
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, fishing, hunting, and being anywhere near water.

My husband, Jeff, is a professor with the MU School of Medicine Department of Radiology. Caitlyn, 17, is a senior at Hickman and plays basketball and track; Morgyn, 16, is a sophomore at Hickman and is manager of the basketball team and does track.

Favorite place in Columbia
Tailgating at MU football games and going to the games (preferably not in a pandemic).

Accomplishment you are most proud of
Instilling in my girls that you can be a full-time mother while having a highly successful career. I want them to know that they can do anything they put their mind to without giving up personal and professional goals.

Most people don’t know that
I am quiet and more on the introverted side.

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