Earlier this year, we spoke with Nicole Hubbard, TeamHealth Co-Chief Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) about her role at Tampa General Hospital (TGH), serving on the TeamHealth National Advanced Practice Clinician Council and the role she plays in her community.
Nicole serves in many community roles as a mentor, an advocate for the voiceless and a catalyst for positive change. She embodies the modern woman balancing work, family and volunteerism. Nicole is the Co-Chief Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at one of the largest TeamHealth anesthesia practices in the country. With 15 years at TGH, she not only represents 160 of her colleagues but serves on TeamHealth’s National Advanced Practice Council as one of five representing anesthetists nationwide.
In her community, Nicole serves as a founding board member and Vice-Chair of the Heart Gallery of Tampa and appointed to the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women. Nicole has played a key role in all aspects of the Junior League of Tampa before becoming President in 2016 – 2017. As President, she spearheaded a community-wide human trafficking training and initiated the creation of the first human trafficking awareness mural in downtown Tampa.
For those who may not be familiar with the CRNA profession, could you describe what you do?
Hubbard: A nurse anesthetist practices anesthesiology in a team-based collaborative environment. Depending on the practice, there are anesthetists that practice fully, and then others by themselves under a surgeon or a physician, then there are others who are an all-CRNA practice with no anesthesiologists. The group that I work in is a collaborative team approach with an anesthesiologist and a nurse anesthetist that does each case. A nurse anesthetist is responsible for everything from a pre-op to talking with the patient to analyzing and coming up with an anesthesia plan, putting the patient to sleep, obviously shepherding and watching them through the surgery, and then waking the patient up and making sure they’re comfortable and leave the recovery room just like they came to us.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background and training?
Hubbard: I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Florida State University in Tallahassee and then moved to Tampa, Florida and started working in the cardiovascular surgical ICU that recovers open-heart patients. We did liver, lung and kidney transplants in the transplant center. I worked for three years in the ICU, and then went back to school for my Masters of Science in Anesthesiology at Barry University in Miami, Florida, and then came back to what I knew at TGH as a new nurse anesthetist. I’ve now been there for 15 and a half years as a CRNA, so I started, and I never left I loved it so much.
Could you tell me a little bit about your position as chief CRNA at Tampa General? Chief CRNA is not a position that necessarily exists in some other practices.
Hubbard: We are a really large practice and have 160 CRNAs when fully staffed, so I don’t do this alone. As Co-Chief, I am responsible for working with clinical recruiters as well as the Vice President of Talent Acquisition and our Vice President of Operations to stay competitive in the market through initiatives like creating and leading a market analysis, vetting and interviewing prospective new hires, onboarding and orienting new hires and dealing with day-to-day issues that may arise. I am also on TeamHealth’s MIPS Leadership Council and responsible for educating the CRNA’s on MIPS requirements and working with the TeamHealth MIPS team and VP of Quality and Assurance to be sure our practice is compliant and maintaining the best standards and quality of care.
As Co-Chief CRNA, I am the first line of communication for CRNAs. My colleagues know when they have an issue in the OR, with a team that they’re working, or with a colleague, that they can always count on me to listen and take action when necessary. As a Co-Chief CRNA, I work closely with our VP of Operations and our Assistant Facility Medical Director to streamline processes, increase engagement and improve retention. I am working full-time in the OR, too, so I experience a lot of the same things that my colleagues do. Being a Chief CRNA is a trusted position that requires the respect of your colleagues and peers.
Could you tell me about your other leadership responsibilities at TeamHealth?
Hubbard: I am an appointed member of the National Advanced Practice Council, a group of certified registered nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, representing the different geographical regions and service lines of TeamHealth. I am one of five that represent our anesthesia service line nationwide.
One of the founders of TeamHealth, Dr. Randal Dabbs, is the champion of this council. He meets with us at our monthly meetings, annually at the National Medical Leadership Conference, and also for a two-day meeting in Knoxville at TeamHealth’s National Service Center for our advanced practice clinician (APC) retreat specifically to address APC issues and develop best practices. APCs makeup nearly a third of the clinicians of TeamHealth and provide care to a third of the patients, so TeamHealth really values our role. The mission of this council is to represent TeamHealth APCs nationwide, so we are the voice to the executive and physician leadership of TeamHealth.
Leadership as a CRNA is kind of unique at TeamHealth, but what advice do you have for those interested in pursuing leadership?
Hubbard: I tell students all the time: “If you want to learn something or be a part of something, then take the initiative to ask.” So, if people are interested in leadership opportunities, then they should let their Chief CRNAs know. Everyone needs a succession plan; I’m going to need someone to replace me one day. We all need to be thinking about how we can help develop each other and our colleagues.
From an administrative or a leader’s point of view, we need to be able to recognize our colleagues that put in 120 percent and really go above and beyond. As a Co-Chief CRNA, I am always looking for colleagues who are engaged and interested in working on certain projects, able to attend meetings around the hospital that my schedule may not accompany, able to orient new hires, participate in task forces, etc. There are plenty of ways to engage CRNAs who are willing to put in a little extra time and go that extra mile. The leadership opportunities are limitless at TeamHealth, and as an experienced leader in my community, this is one of TeamHealth’s opportunities I value the most!
What do you enjoy most about practicing with TeamHealth or what are some of the biggest benefits of practicing with TeamHealth in your experience?
Hubbard: The fact that TeamHealth has a National Advanced Practice Council is a true testament that TeamHealth is a company that values the APC role and recognizes the collaborative relationship between the APC and the physician leads to best practices in providing quality and cost-effective care. TeamHealth provides leadership training to CRNA and physician leads and truly invests in the future of TeamHealth’s leadership. You get on this council by being recommended by the president of your group and then you have to be accepted onto it, but it’s quite a coveted thing.
TeamHealth respects and values the advanced practice clinicians and they recognize how important we are to the practice.”
We have open CRNA opportunities throughout the state of Florida! Join a team that supports you and recognizes your impact in providing excellent patient care.