The lessons in leadership we've learned from Dr. Jennifer Medves
This month, Dr. Jennifer Medves, Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director, School of Nursing, will be stepping down from her role after serving two terms here at Queen’s.
While Jenny will be deeply missed, her departure has caused me to pause and reflect on the tremendous work that she has done over the past ten years. To say that she has taught us a lot during her time in the Faculty of Health Sciences is an understatement. One of the biggest things that she has taught us, through her actions, is what the qualities of a great leader look like. Jenny is a visionary. About six years ago, she read the temperature of the Canadian healthcare system and she had a great idea. So she defined a need for a brand new program.
And make no mistake, Jenny executes. She took hold of this idea and this need for a new program, and she took charge. She moved what is now the Healthcare Quality program through the Queen’s process in record time. Where getting a program off the ground would normally take two years, Jenny got the program approved and through the hoops at Queen’s in less than half of that time. With foresight and planning and a little bit of elbow, the MSc in Healthcare Quality was born.
But she didn’t do it alone. As a leader, Jenny is a collaborator. She knows that it takes a village. So she co-opted cooperation from the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine and built a truly interdisciplinary program.
Part of being a great leader is just not being satisfied. Launching just one successful program wasn’t good enough for Jenny. Her drive to exceed expectations and bring things to the next level has put us in the situation where we are today. During Jenny’s tenure, the school has grown and improved by every measure. We now have more students, more faculty, and are in a more stable budgetary position. Our students perform better on the nursing licensing exams than students from just about any other school. And I think that it’s safe to say that she’s helped make our three schools, nursing, medicine and rehabilitation therapy, more integrated and collaborative than ever before. All of these successes are due to Jenny’s absolutely tireless work ethic and desire to do better.
Jenny hasn’t just been a leader in the Faculty of Health Sciences. She has served the University, as Vice Chair of the Senate and she has been a strategic leader for nursing in the province, as chair of COUPN.
Of all of Jenny’s many leadership qualities, I think the one that stands out most for me, is her undeniable passion. When she spoke at convocation last month, her theme was the purpose and joy of work. I truly can’t imagine a more fitting topic for Jenny’s final convocation address. Because I think that her goal as Vice-Dean has always been to ensure that her students and faculty alike, share in her strong belief that nursing is more than just a course of study, more than just a healthcare profession, but that it truly is a calling.
That’s the kind of leader Jenny is. She is a visionary, she executes, and she has a lovely blend of sharp elbows and never taking no for an answer. And then she looks at the success of the mountain she’s climbed and doesn’t stop to look down at the cheering crowds, but looks for the next mountain to climb.
All the while, she is motivated by her infectious passion for the profession of nursing. That is what has driven her to build a great school of nursing. And it is at the heart of the legacy she leaves.
Please join me in celebrating Jenny by sharing your stories and best wishes by commenting on the blog.