Regina Masters, DNP, has experienced some of the toughest challenges in her 10-year tenure as director of nursing for Continuing Care Hospital this past year. Despite the challenges, Regina said she’s humbled and blessed to be recognized as the Continuing Care Hospital Leader of the Year award recipient.
“I always try to remember my purpose and what I’m here for,” Regina said. “I am here to support the staff caring for the patients, and that includes staffing, supplies and ensuring smooth processes. I also talk to the staff about our purpose. I try to remind them that we’re here for a purpose, to serve the patients and the community and to do the best we can.”
Doing the best she can do has taken Regina far in her 30-year nursing career. She became a nurse in 1988, following in her mother’s footsteps.
“I always wanted to be a nurse, helping people and providing a service to the community,” Regina said.
More than 20 years in several leadership roles at Saint Joseph East prepared her for her current role, but the transition from short-term to long-term acute care was a learning curve.
“People think [long-term acute care] is like long-term care in a nursing home, but it’s not,” Regina explained. “The patient must have an acute care need, and stay about 25 days compared to the [three- or four-day] average length of stay in a short-term acute care facility. These patients are often high acuity and very complex.
“Deciding on which patients to take can be like a Rubix cube. We get referrals, and we have nurse liaisons who go through referrals and assess the need for acute care. We have a little more control over who we take, but most come from within the Saint Joseph system.”
Daily operations as her role’s primary responsibility, Regina’s goal is to make sure her staff has everything they need to provide quality care, keep communication lines open and support staff. Outside of her role, she works on a variety of quality improvement projects to highlight the work the staff does to improve patient care and remain efficient as a hospital.
Regina hopes to teach in the future, passing on her knowledge and experience to the next generation of nursing leadership. She also enjoys music and spending time with her family on the lake in her free time.