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By Emma Avila, email@example.com, writer for IU Health’s Indianapolis Suburban Region
Trish Harris, director of clinical operations at IU Health Tipton, reflects on her 15 years at the hospital and the teams who made her fall in love with her job.
Trish Harris was recently named director of clinical operations at IU Health Tipton, but her career at the hospital started 15 and a half years ago, when she applied for a nursing opening in the hospital’s Emergency department (ED).
“At first, I came and interviewed for the ED position, but then the ED manager thought I could work in the operating room (OR) as well,” she said.
Harris got the job, working part time in both departments. That didn’t last long though.
“I loved it so much here that I became full time, and I’ve been here ever since,” she added.
From there, Harris began taking steps toward management. She became charge nurse in the OR and worked closely with the department manager. When that position became available, Harris was named OR manager.
Around five years ago, the ED manager position became vacant, and Harris was asked to manage that department on top of her current one.
Additionally, she filled in managing the Intensive Care Unit and Medical-Surgical Unit when that manger had time off as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, in 2022, she also took on the role of managing Oncology. This is the only department she will continue to directly manager in her new position. The other departments will have managers that report to Harris.
“My role is to assist the Chief Nursing Officer in the daily operations of the building as well as support the nursing teams and clinical roles of the facility,” Harris explained. “I used to be boots on the ground, same as the team, so I can relate to them. I know when they’re busy what they’re going through. I know their struggles. It makes a difference.”
Harris isn’t from the Tipton area, but when she started working at the hospital, she fell in love with the facility and people quickly.
“Coming here was a culture shock at first for me. I was used to bigger facilities where you don’t know the people you’re passing in the hall,” she said. “I love that we know each other here. You feel like you’re part of a family and the people really do care about you.”
She not only got to know the team quickly but also the people seeking care.
“You learn your patients here because they’re coming from the community,” she explained. “It’s a true sense of community and a family. The team members here feel the same way. You definitely see that in the care they give to the patients.”
That is one of the things that keeps Harris at IU Health Tipton–the dedication and care of the clinical teams.
“They love their community hospital. They love what they do. They want to succeed and provide high quality care.”
Harris also appreciates that clinical team members cross train in other departments to be able to help if an area is short staffed or the patient need is high on a certain day. For example, in the departments she managed, ICU and Medical-Surgical nurses would cross train in the ED while surgical nurses would help in Oncology.
“They’re really functional. We have to be flexible like that to succeed and thrive here,” she said. “Wherever the patient need is, we have many resources to meet that here in the facility.”
Another thing that stuck out to Harris is the longevity of some of the team members. Many have been at the hospital for decades, and some have even brought family members to work at the hospital as well.
Harris said she sees herself having a long career at IU Health Tipton as well.
“I love my job. I love the teams. I love the patients. I can’t imagine myself ever leaving here.”
While she reflects on her career, Harris wants to encourage others to follow their dreams.
“I’ve always felt like IU Health has supported my journey and encouraged me to do what I wanted to do,” she said. “They’ve always provided me with the resources I needed to get to where I wanted to be.”
IU Health and Riley Children’s Health are looking for talented individuals to join our team. Those interested in a career in healthcare can visit iuhealth.org/careers to see what positions are available.