Maggie Conklin, BSN, MPH, officially started as Chief Nursing Officer for Novant Health UVA Health System Culpeper Medical System on June 13, but she’s been a familiar face since October 2015 when she began serving as interim CNO.
“I’ve been in nursing more years than I care to say, and nursing leadership roles for greater than 25 years. I’ve been a nursing leader across the whole spectrum – from public health and inpatient care to women’s health and birthing to being the VP of nursing with Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, North Carolina,” Conklin said.
“Throughout my career I’ve had a real adventurous spirit. Every area I’ve worked in has opened up new horizons for me and this job is a culmination of that. As I reflect back, it’s been a great ride so far.”
A career that spans the spectrum of care
Conklin’s career highlights are many: from starting one county’s first ob-gyn clinic for indigent women in her first public health role to serving as director for women’s and children’s services at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, where she balanced the complexity of more than 7,000 deliveries a year, working in a university setting alongside Wake Forest University and clinically coordinating the women’s services piece of the hospital’s north tower addition.
“The one thing that stands out in my mind is the night we moved the babies to the new 50-bed NICU – just the choreography and coordination of that. It was somewhere between 2 and 4 a.m. … and it was just surreal,” Conklin said. “Some babies had half a dozen IV pumps and ventilators and each baby had a team of four or five people, and it was amazing.”
Her time as vice president of nursing for Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro taught her equally about the opposite end of the spectrum of care, she said. “Everything we did was measured against the patient’s goals. And there was such a beauty to that,” she said. “I think about that as we provide care in the hospital, and how can we help patients achieve that self-determined care in a way that’s most meaningful and beneficial to them.”
Taking Culpeper to the next level
Good nursing leadership, for Conklin, takes “good relationship skills, communication skills, being able to reason and to think critically and bring different parties to the table.”
“It’s important to have priorities and goals in mind to work toward and to always keep at the forefront of what you do,” she said.
Her immediate goals? “Survival,” she said with a laugh before quickly adding with seriousness, “For me, it’s to elevate the professionalism of nursing here at Culpeper. We have an outstanding nursing staff and I think they’re sitting right on the brink of elevating that level of professionalism through shared governance.”
“I also want to ensure we’re practicing with a focus on evidence-based practice and always working in partnership with our physicians and the other disciplines we work with.”
Her role already is the perfect fit, she said. “There’s such a strong sense of synergy and teamwork here,” Conklin said. “And it gives me an opportunity to bring together my community and acute care experience so that we can improve the healthcare of the community.”