WARREN — Cindy Russo’s entry into health care and career trajectory in the field were marked by times when she listened to good advice from good people and formed meaningful relationships that opened doors to new ones. opportunities.
From a 17-year-old in high school taking advice from her guidance counselor, to being pushed by a supervisor into a nursing management role, to a friendly conversation that later led to a job offer with Steward Health Care here in the Mahoning Valley are points in its history that Russo highlights as trainers.
“You just think about all the connections you make and why to me it’s so important to develop those relationships and have good networks…I’ve just had really good mentors and making those connections has helped me. helped in my career trajectory, as well as finding new places and new opportunities,” Russo said. “It’s always something I tell myself, I want to be able to do this for other people too.”
The final opportunity to be presented to Russo was the role of president of Trumbull Regional Medical Center, a position she assumed on July 1.
Russo, 63, from Vienna, recently sat down with this diary as she increasingly acclimatizes to having the office nook.
She joined Steward Health Care in 2021 as Chief Operating Officer for the Ohio and Pennsylvania Region with over two decades of hospital and healthcare leadership experience.
In this role, Russo was responsible for departments such as laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, select outpatient departments, Trumbull Regional and Sharon Regional Medical Center facilities, and offsite subsidiaries.
His appointment to this position dates back to a period of transition in his career. She was working with a job search representative who put her in touch with Robert Rogalski, now Steward’s regional president for Ohio and Pennsylvania. He had worked with the job search company.
“We had a conversation, it was great… we had a conversation (because at that time the position was not something that was available. We were just talking about each other’s experiences and so on and we found out his neighbor was the president of Central Maine Healthcare while I was there as COO (chief operating officer),” Russo said.
The moment apparently left a mark on Rogalski. When the COO position for the Ohio/Pennsylvania region opened up, he called Russo and offered her the job, she said.
Prior to joining Steward Health Care, Russo held several leadership positions at Lewiston, Maine-based Central Maine Healthcare, including interim president and chief operating officer. Additionally, she previously served as President and Executive Director of Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass.
She spent most of her career at Hartford Healthcare in Meriden, Connecticut, before becoming Vice President of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Operations at MidState Medical Center.
Her entry into the field of health, specifically nursing, is the result of a meeting with her guidance counselor from high school and following the advice of this person.
“A lot of people will say that since they were little they wanted to be a nurse. That wasn’t me. met the guidance counselor who was also a good friend of the family, and I walked in and said… “I want to start looking for schools and I want to be in special education,” and she said, “No, you don’t.
Russo asked the obvious questions – what and why?
One answer, because that market would be saturated, “but more importantly, because I know you and I know the type of person you are and I think you should go into nursing,” Russo said, recounting what the counselor had said at the time.
That sealed the deal and Russo went into healthcare.
“To me again, that’s eye-opening. In my career, what I’ve learned is good advice from good people, and making those connections with good people and getting good advice has never let me down. leads to error,” Russo said.
This was another great piece of advice that applied to health care management.
“It never crossed my mind to go into management, to go into leadership. I always thought I would be at the bedside looking after patients and I said, what, that’s why I went to school, that’s why I’ll always be good,” she said. “(But) a supervisor tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I had a position to fill and that I would like you to speak about it.”
Russo took a chance and went in that direction. She learned to love the work, but had to overcome the feeling at first that she was betraying her profession.
“Like I was abandoning my patients in a way, so for a while I kind of swayed back and forth. I did a bit of nursing management as well as bedside nursing, but then on further reflection I said that if that is indeed where my skills and opportunities lead me, I have the opportunity to then influence the care of these patients and that’s when I was like, ‘OK, you can walk away now’, because I felt that at that moment , I wasn’t abandoning my patients, but I had the opportunity to influence their care in a different way,” Russo said. .
At Trumbull Regional, Russo was already familiar with hospital operations and the new position of president, but there is still a learning curve.
“I’ve served as president/CEO of several hospitals, a few home care agencies, but this market is different, this community is different and that’s where I think my learning curve is – for learn about the community, our physician base more than I’ve ever known before,” Russo said. “I think it’s important, I think it’s really important for the hospital to play a very important role in the community, and as a leader within that organization, it’s really important to have a connection to the community.”