With Houston’s population expected to continue to grow at a quick rate, one of the necessities of the health care industry will be in pediatrics. Shannon Holland, assistant director of nursing at the Texas Children’s Hospital Newborn Center, shares how her education and training in nursing has helped to make her career successful at one of the leading pediatric hospitals in America.

Assistant Director of Nursing Shannon Holland (photo courtesy of Shannon Holland)

Assistant Director of Nursing Shannon Holland (photo courtesy of Shannon Holland)

What degree program did you study?

“I have a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Louisiana Lafayette and a master of science in nursing in Healthcare Systems Management from Loyola University New Orleans.”

What does your current position entail?

“I am currently responsible for day-to-day operations of a 76-bed NICU 4 and a 55-bed NICU 2. My responsibilities include ensuring evidence-based and family-centered patient care is performed, staff is competent and well trained, staffing is appropriate, operations run smoothly and many other quality and operational duties.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role? 

“My education provided an essential foundation to becoming a good nurse and a good nurse leader. My BSN focused on teaching me the basics needed to transition into clinical care. Because of my undergraduate education, I was able to learn the specialized skills necessary to be successful in an intensive care environment and progress to a manager role. My MSN prepared me to pursue a true passion, leadership. My graduate program incorporated business and healthcare seamlessly. This allowed me to learn many aspects of business including finance, organizational management and project facilitation.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education since beginning this position?

“Yes. Texas Children’s continually invests in developing leaders. Shortly after becoming assistant director of the Newborn Center, I participated in a year-long transitional leader program. This program was conducted in conjunction with Rice University and created to provide organizational exposure, leadership development and valuable leadership skills. In this program, I was partnered with a mentor in a different area of the organization. She was a tremendous help and allowed me to experience things I don’t see in my daily work. Texas Children’s also supports the Advanced Quality Initiatives program. The skills learned in this program are a basis for ongoing learning, research and quality improvement.”

Do you have any advice for people who would be interested in pursuing a similar career?

“If you’re at all interested in health care, go for nursing. There are so many opportunities for nurses, bedside care, leadership, care management, advanced practice, risk management. The list goes on and on. Nurses are different than other professionals, we’re defined by caring and that is extremely valuable. The ability to deeply impact patients and families is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.