Scott Garrard had degrees in management and health administration before deciding a good dose of clinical care would help him grow as a leader.
By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Some nurses will tell you they knew from the time they were in middle school that nursing would be their chosen career.
Others have taken a more circuitous route to the profession, giving up one dream to follow another, even when that means going back to school.
Scott Garrard falls into the latter category. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management, then enrolled in a master’s program in health administration. Part of that program involved an internship that just happened to be at IU Health Methodist Hospital, where he worked in operations.
From there he accepted a full-time job in IT project management at Methodist, then moved into project management with the operations team from his internship days.
In 2013, after seven years on the business side of things, the aspiring leader decided to make a pretty dramatic switch. He went back to school to get his nursing degree.
“I decided I needed to broaden my skill set,” he said. “I wanted to be in a leadership position but thought I was limited in what I could do because I didn’t have the clinical training.”
In his project management role, he worked with doctors and nurses and said he always was interested in clinical work, in medicine and patient care.
After graduating from an accelerated nursing program in 2014, he moved into a bedside nursing role and never looked back.
“If you would have told me when I got out of the nursing program that I would do bedside nursing for eight years, I would have said you were crazy, but I really fell in love with the work, the people I work with and the patient care aspect.”
Over the past eight years working on the cardiovascular critical care unit at Methodist, he began taking on more leadership responsibilities as shift coordinator and charge nurse while still filling in at the bedside.
The week before Thanksgiving, however, he left the CVCC and has since moved into yet another new role – clinical operations manager on 2 North, a cardiovascular surgical unit that cares for a lot of stepdown patients from the CVCC. He is now in charge of the day-to-day management of the unit from a nursing standpoint, he said.
“I still get a good dose of clinical care. I get to interact with patients, maybe not as a nurse directly, but by supporting nurses who are doing that work.”
Support and teamwork are critical in healthcare, never more so than in the past 2½ years through the pandemic, especially in the state’s largest hospital.
“It was incredibly difficult,” Garrard said. “We had to lean on one another, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally when things were really bad. Just getting through day to day was super hard.”
Still, he said, he never regretted his decision to enter the nursing profession.
“I looked at it as, ‘this is what I signed up to do.’ I felt like it was my calling.”
And working at Methodist, which routinely cares for the sickest of the sick, is both a challenge and a point of pride, he said. As construction on the new Downtown hospital continues across the street, he looks forward to the day when everything is under one roof, believing patients and team members at both Methodist and IU Health University Hospital will benefit from improved care, services and accessibility.
In his time away from the hospital, the married father of two young children admits to being a golf nut, going so far as to name his son Ryder. When he’s not on the golf course, you can find him hunting, fishing and spending time with family.
Photos by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist, email@example.com