Guest Editorial: An unwavering commitment to care and community

New chief nursing officer at PeaceHealth introduces herself to the community

Toni von Wenckstern

My career has afforded me many opportunities, and I say without hesitation, I am grateful it has brought me to Vancouver.

In January, I started my new role as chief nursing officer at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, a hospital with a long-standing commitment to its mission and the community. I am proud to say I am now a part of the team.

Toni von Wenckstern

I moved here from Houston, Texas, where I served as the assistant vice president for nursing and operations of the Red Duke Trauma Institute, Medicine Service Lines and Ambulatory clinics in the Texas Medical Center. I bring 30 years of experience in various nursing and clinical leadership roles, including oversight of the busiest trauma center in the country.

It’s important to me to not only work within a strong healthcare system, but also to be a part of the local community outside the walls of work. I have been warmly welcomed on all fronts. PeaceHealth is truly a part of this community and its history. Its roots are deep, and its commitment unwavering.

I am impressed by the pride within this organization. The staff and physicians are proud of the history and relentless mission to care for the community in a loving and compassionate way. The services that are offered include the entire life span. From newborn deliveries with the ability to care for the tiniest babies in the Level III neonatal intensive care unit, to the cardiac, stroke, trauma and hospice patient, PeaceHealth’s physicians and nursing staff are highly trained and passionate about the care they deliver.

My focus as the new chief nursing officer, without question, is the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate care. That is the top priority of everyone here at PeaceHealth Southwest, every day, every time. We want the community, including our caregivers and families, to choose PeaceHealth in times of health and times of need.

I believe it also important that our staff work in an environment that promotes their personal and professional growth. I have been impressed with the daily meetings where staff verbally give accolades to each other from the previous day’s work. These “thank yous” showcase the personal, amazing, patient-centered stories that happen every shift, every day.

Just the other day an elderly woman was going down the hallway with her family on the way to surgery. The staff found out it was her birthday. The whole team suddenly began singing “Happy Birthday.” It brought the patient and family to tears. It’s simple everyday moments of grace like this that are a part of who we are and how we serve.

In closing, I wake up every day thankful for my new role and the opportunity to be part of this incredible community and team of caregivers. I am dedicated to continuing the great work already underway to ensure the people of southwest Washington receive the compassionate, high-quality care they deserve.

Toni von Wenckstern, RN, MS, is the new chief nursing officer at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

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Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start ClarkCountyToday.com.