Nurses at UofL Health have an advocate behind them. As senior vice president and chief nursing officer at UofL Health, Shari Kretzschmer is committed to the growth and advancement of nurses at our organization.
According to Shari, nurses are always nurses. While she may not be at the bedside today, she leans on her time as a bedside ICU nurse and as an oncology nurse practitioner to help drive the decisions she makes daily.
“Nurses are the backbone of UofL Health and without them, we would have never gotten on the other side of a pandemic or work through the growing pains of a new health care system,” Shari said. She joined our organization as CNO of UofL Hospital and the Brown Cancer Center in 2014. She was named CNO of UofL Health in 2020.
When asked about her goal for UofL Health, Shari strives for our nursing team to achieve big goals. She wants UofL Health to be recognized for excellence in nursing in the same breath as nursing at Vanderbilt University, Duke University, Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic.
Shari believes the way to achieve this is by believing in ourselves, rolling up our sleeves and working together across the system. Another way she sees this happening is by listening to the voices of our nurses. She enthusiastically talks about the importance of nurses using their voice to help impact patient care not just at the bedside, but our entire system.
Collaboration is another key factor in her approach to nurse leadership. Leaders within the unit all the way to the facility’s CNO have the responsibility to work together to achieve common goals and advocate for change that will forward the care our nurses give to patients every day.
“Being a part of an academic health care system allows us the resources to collaborate and innovate with others so that nurses can develop outside of the box solutions,” said Shari. “It’s truly invigorating and exciting.”
Aside from her nursing leadership roles, Shari has also volunteered for a leadership role in a whole new league: little league baseball. For two years, Shari coached her son, Matthew Kretzschmer, and a small group of boys for a local little league baseball team. Her son had signed up to play, but there were not enough coaches to create teams for all of the boys who signed up.
“I didn’t want any of the boys to be disappointed, so I raised my hand to take a team,” said Shari. “I knew nothing about how to coach baseball, so I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a book titled, ‘How to Coach, Manage and Play Little League Baseball.”
Shari’s newest challenge is running for a vacant director-at-large seat on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA). She’s ready to not only help empower nurses at UofL Health but the greater than 90,000 nurses across the commonwealth of Kentucky.
“Growth only comes from change.” As you can tell, this is a quote that Shari lives by. Whether it is her personal growth with working with the little league team, or professional growth by helping improve the nursing staff, she is always willing to step outside of her comfort zone and try something different, especially if nurses can benefit from her help.
If you see Shari making rounds at your facility, be sure to introduce yourself and give a warm “hello” to your CNO. She would love to get to know you!