By Vanessa Orr, South Florida Hospital News, for ACHE of South Florida
Jessica Miller, BSN, MBA, is passionate about the healthcare industry. She is not only committed to making sure that patients receive the best possible care today in her role as the chief nursing officer at St. Mary’s Medical Center and Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, but to ensuring that the industry moves forward as well.
“As a nurse, you take care of individual patients, but as chief nursing officer, I am responsible for taking care of many patients and my nurses,” said Miller. “I love the fact that as an administrator, I can have an impact on their quality of care from where I sit. While it’s been challenging throughout the pandemic to retain nurses who are feeling burned out, my job is to keep them engaged and passionate about patient care while trying to provide optimal resources,” she added.
Miller, whose parents were both nurses, knew from an early age that she wanted to pursue a healthcare career. “My mother is a hard-core, bedside clinical nurse, and my father took the administrative route,” she explained. “This was what we talked about at the dinner table while I was growing up.
“My decision to enter healthcare was reinforced when I worked in retail during college to get pocket money,” she added. “I hated it. Every hour seemed like a day, and every minute seemed like an hour. I knew then that I was definitely made to take care of people.”
Miller graduated from Miami Dade College with an associate degree and went on to earn her MBA and BSN at Florida International University. She served as group CNO at Miami Dade Tenet and Florida Medical Center before taking her present position in December 2021.
In 2018, Miller joined the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) on the advice of board member Madison Workman, FACHE. “He said, ‘Jess, we’re young leaders, so we have to get involved and get active,’” explained Miller. “And I’m so glad that I did.”
As a member of ACHE, Miller recently took part in the 2022 ACHE-SF Healthcare Leadership Development Case Competition, judging the work of college students who hope to be healthcare’s next generation of leaders. She also attends many of the organization’s educational events and takes part in networking events as well.
“What’s interesting is that you see that everyone is going through the same struggles, even in different parts of the nation,” she said. “When we all share information about things that work and don’t work, it makes us all better. I often bring back PowerPoint presentations and ideas from educational events for us to try.
“It’s also exciting to get to meet so many different people in healthcare, which I believe helps the industry as a whole become stronger,” she added. “There are rockstar leaders out there and meeting them can help you learn why they’re so successful.”
Miller, who will sit for her fellowship this year, believes that it is important to fully commit to the profession. “Becoming a fellow means that you’re passionate about healthcare leadership, and that you’re aligned with the vision that it’s not one company versus the next, but that you are all responsible for getting healthcare to a better place,” she said.