After getting her bachelor’s degree, Close began her career as a graduate nurse and then became a charge nurse at DeKalb Memorial.
Several important jobs followed. Chronologically, here are just three before coming to Dukes:
• Director of operations, outreach and nursing officer for regional diabetes center, Parkview Hospital, Fort Wayne.
• Chief executive officer, LaGrange Community Hospital, LaGrange, Ind.
• Director of cardiovascular and neurosciences service lines, St. Mary’s of Michigan, Saginaw, Mich.
Close said she moved into management “not because I didn’t like being a nurse, but because I liked overseeing patient care and the outcomes as much as I liked the bedside care [of being a nurse].
“I also felt very strongly early in my career that direction on how to deliver care is best given by those with clinical experience. That is not always the opinion of my peers, or business experts. I know the impact of decisions I make on patient care firsthand. I think it makes me a better administrator.”
Close says her professional philosophy is “to provide the most advanced care technology close to home. No pun intended.”
She continues: “Being sick, having an emergency, needing surgery are not fun experiences. We see people in the worst situation for the most part. Having to travel back and forth to the big city for health care stresses the whole family and support system in so many ways, adjusting work schedules, traveling, the expense of it all. I want to help make that experience a little easier on the individuals.”
Close says hospitals will need to think differently about the delivery of care, especially with physician shortages. “That may mean we will all be using nurse practitioners as requirements change to require doctorate-level preparation for nurse practitioners.”
She thinks independent, stand-alone hospitals won’t exist in five years. “[They] will merge with systems to allow greater buying power for supplies and equipment. It is just too costly to be in health care by yourself.”