In February, our leadership team in Richmond hosted an inaugural celebration event where team members came together to celebrate last year’s successes. Before the event, employees across our Richmond market took a moment to nominate fellow associates in three categories: physician of the year, leader of the year and associate of the year.
It is our ministry’s pleasure to announce that Joanne “Jomi” Cooke has been named Leader of the Year for 2021!
Jomi graduated from Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing and recently completed 25 years as a nurse with our organization. Jomi is an authentic, exceptional nurse leader who embodies the core culture and leadership behaviors at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. She also serves as the administrative director of emergency services and behavioral health. Through team mentorship, she empowers and motivates others to deepen the impact of the work in the emergency department.
Jomi personally strives for excellence and encourages her team to do the same. Not only does she share the vision of the ministry, she creates the vision by articulating the “big picture” to her team and outlining the steps of how to reach their goal. Her strategic thinking and innovation have led to multiple creative transitions and improvements in the emergency department.
Throughout the past year, the emergency department at St. Mary’s Hospital has faced multiple challenges including high patient acuity, leading to long wait times for less acute patients, high boarding hours and COVID-19 restrictions for visitors. Jomi critically examined the department’s entire footprint and creatively structured the space to optimize the use of every inch.
In addition to Jomi’s leadership in striving for excellence with the emergency department team, she actively coaches and mentors her team. She does this by providing professional development and empowering their growth.
Jomi is a positive yet realistic presence who leads through example. She actively does rounds, greets patients and fulfills immediate clinical needs, such as starting IVs or drawing labs. She also encourages her team to provide compassionate patient care.
During a pandemic, it is difficult as a leader to challenge an already tenuous and exhausted team. However, Jomi flexed her leadership style to give her team members the structure and support they needed. While striving to deepen our impact, Jomi also encourages her team to deliver optimal outcomes.
For example, following a physical assault of an associate in the emergency department, Jomi began to actively voice concerns regarding the increasing risk of violence against health care providers. This event ignited a passion for protecting staff and empowered her to facilitate a market-wide change, bringing the impact of violence on health care providers to the forefront of ministry initiatives. She championed a no-tolerance stance for violence in our facilities. The impact of Jomi’s courage and action has far-reaching effects across our entire ministry.
And lastly, Jomi is committed to our mission, her team and her patients. Her loyalty is exemplified through her two decades of commitment. Her ability to remain positive and resilient while facing such adversity has been extraordinary. Our organization and our ministry are stronger with Jomi as a leader.
Congratulations, and thank you, Jomi Cooke!
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