Advancing to Leadership

Sara Dodds knew from the time she was a teenager that she wanted a career in the medical field. Witnessing her stepfather's battle with cancer, “I recognized the difference a care team can make in someone’s life,” she said. Choosing nursing, she took her first step toward this vision by joining BayCare as a patient care technician while still in nursing school.

Today, some 20 years later, Dodds is making a difference from a new post: She’s president of BayCare’s St. Joseph’s Hospital-North (SJHN). Her rise from entry-level bedside caregiver to hospital president, while unique, underscores BayCare’s robust career development programs offered to all team members.

“BayCare has a long history of advancing team members into leadership,” said Kyle Barr, chief team resources officer. “We have some of the best programs anywhere.”

Dodds utilized BayCare’s tuition reimbursement program to get her nursing, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and said she accepted every class and special project offered to her. With BayCare’s assistance and the guidance of BayCare leaders, who are encouraged to mentor their team members, Dodds advanced from registered nurse, to charge nurse, nurse manager and nursing director at SJHN before switching to director of operations. She was named president of the hospital in 2023.

“I worked for so many incredible BayCare leaders who mentored me and prepared me for that next role,” she said. “As long as you live the BayCare values, there will be a home for you here.”

A Workforce for Today and Tomorrow

BayCare supports its team members with tuition assistance, partnerships with academic institutions, technical training courses, internships, mentoring, succession planning, and much more. In 2022 and 2023, BayCare mapped out 33 career pathways in both clinical and nonclinical fields that team members can follow to progress from entry-level roles to higher-paying positions.

BayCare also conducts job fairs at high schools and forms partnerships with organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Suncoast and Tampa’s Future Career Academy to reach teens who plan to start working right after high school. “Some may not realize there’s a viable career for them outside of college,” said Will Davis Jr., manager of BayCare Workforce Development.

Busloads of high school students participating in the Future Career Academy visit BayCare facilities to see the kinds of jobs available in health care. BayCare also provides business panels, life coaching, and career presentations for the students.

“It opens up their eyes,” said Angel Brown, vice president of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion for BayCare. “ We need to get to them early and set them up for success. This can change these kids’ lives.”

2023 Workplace Accolades

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BayCare Team by the Numbers

In 2023:

  • Team members including employed physicians: 31,993
  • Employed physicians caring for patients: 802
  • Physicians and advanced practice providers credentialed by BayCare: 6,541 (includes employed and community-based physicians)

BayCare Invests in Its Team Members

In 2023:

$208 million: Medical insurance
$238 million: Retirement savings
$193 million: Paid time off
$14 million: Income protection
$70 million: Education assistance
$43 million: Rewards and recognitions