Leadership in Nursing
Professor Glenna Lou Nelson
November 21, 2006
Leadership Interview: Deb Towns
Deb Towns is the nurse manager of the cardiac rehabilitation program at Memorial Medical Center. She is an R.N. whose leadership position is unique because she also created the program she is in charge of. Deb had a vision and used her leadership skills to see that vision become a reality.
The cardiac rehab program began because there was a need. One of the qualitites in an effective leader is the ability to recognize a need and take action to make that need met. Deb began her nursing career after graduating from West Shore Community College by working briefly in Grand Rapids before settling at MMC in the mid-eighties. She worked as an R.N.. In a variety of settings including Med/Surg and CCU. While working in these capacities Dr. Persson approached her a number of times about the need to have a rehab program for cardiac patients. This patient population was not being served locally. Deb would agree with him, saying "Yes, it would be nice to have a rehab program," and that would be it. Then in 1990 Deb's first child was born. At the same time the CCU needed a manager and Deb was filling in as an interim for the department. This position had a very demanding schedule that included weekends, being on call, and rotating shifts. The hospital was not actively interviewing for a CCU manager and what was supposed to be an interim position now did not have a foreseeable end. With a newborn at home, Deb needed more flexibility in her work schedule. This was the turning point that spurned Deb to take action to meet the needs that were before her.
The answer to Deb's personal dilemma took the shape of creating a cardiac rehabilitation program. Deb could see that working in this specialty would give her the family-friendly schedule she desired. She took the initiative to approach Dr. Persson to see if he was still interested in having a...