Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

July 2024



By Lois Thomson, South Florida Hospital News, for ACHE of South Florida

Kenneth Jones’ grandmother was a nurse, and because of that, he said he’s always had an interest in healthcare. Now, as Chief Executive Officer of HCA Florida NW Hospital, he finds himself in healthcare, but in a different capacity than he expected. “I really didn’t know about healthcare administration until later in my undergraduate progression,” he said, pointing out, however, that he had participated in leadership activities while growing up, including for student government, and served on numerous committees for professional organizations. He said being CEO at the hospital “is really a good mixture of healthcare and business and leadership; it kind of melded two of my passions.”

Jones credits part of his progression with becoming a member of ACHE – the American College of Healthcare Executives – in 2001. He said the graduate school program at the University of Minnesota encouraged students to participate, and he joined because he wanted to take advantage of the organization’s resources – conferences, literature, mentoring opportunities, scholarships. “I wanted to develop my overall leadership skills, and I really have used those resources to become a better healthcare executive.”

He is now putting that leadership into action by handling the day-to-day operations of this 289‑bed, full-service facility. Since being named CEO three years ago, Jones said his focus has been on the culture, the patient experience, workforce and physician engagement, and growth and overall market share in core service lines.

Regarding the workforce, he said, “Particularly coming out of the pandemic, we spent quite a bit of time stabilizing the ‘people’ part of our work.” This was done by physician engagement surveys and patient experience surveys. “A lot of it is listening to the voices of our patients and our staff and being more responsive to their needs.”

For example, Jones said staff has indicated they want a relationship, they want to know that leadership cares about them as people. “We have more than 1,000 colleagues who work at the organization, but we want to seem small and have our leaders and staff and physicians feel like they’re part of the core family. It’s the attribute we try to develop here at Northwest.”

Also important is recruiting and hiring new residents for key positions. “We want to continue to grow our workforce and our leaders so they can continue to do great things in and expand the services we offer to the community.”

One way to increase that growth is by encouraging up-and-coming leaders to join ACHE. Jones said he urges them to participate at the local level, whether on committees, volunteering at events, or being on panels. “Everyone can participate in some way. It helps them to personally grow.” Prior to coming to South Florida, Jones was the region leader of ACHE of the Chicago area.

Along with recruiting and growth, Jones said the biggest challenge of his work has been the tremendous disruption that has come from inflation, whether for supplies, purchase services, utilities, workforce costs – “All of that comes with unique challenges that we have to overcome. In each of those areas we had to be open to new ways of doing things, whether our school affiliation from a nursing standpoint, or our resiliency efforts around our supply chain, or creating alternatives from a purchase services standpoint.”

Jones said that above all else is remembering that “healthcare is about people serving people; so we have to make sure our people have the resources they need and remove barriers so they can be successful and responsive.” He said a patient doesn’t go to the hospital every day, so when they DO go, it’s important to be empathetic. “We have to try our best to solve their problems and remove or reduce their anxiety.”

In summarizing, Jones said, “All things really lead to an environment where our staff and our patients would want to recommend our hospital as a place for others to work and for others to receive care.”

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