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A female team member at the front desk of a BayCare Fitness CenterIn 2016, BayCare President/CEO Tommy Inzina announced a goal for the health system: By 2021, he wanted BayCare to rank nationally in the top 20 percent of large hospital systems on measures of the quality of health care provided to patients. He knew that it would take a committed, fulfilled and happy workforce to reach that goal. BayCare’s more than 29,000 team members achieved Inzina’s goal in 2019—two years early.

The health system already had begun sweeping workplace honors that are awarded nationally and locally: Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For; Fortune/Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces in Health Care and Biopharma, Best Workplaces for Women, Best Workplaces for Diversity and Best Workplaces for Millennials; Becker’s Healthcare’s 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare; Training magazine’s global, all-industries Training Top 125; and the Tampa Bay Times’ Top Work Places. All 14 of BayCare’s acute-care hospitals achieved Pathway to Excellence designation, which recognizes hospital systems that have positive practice environments where nurses can excel.

How was all that success achieved so quickly?

It’s partly a matter of BayCare’s culture. The words in our Values statement are highlighted in foot-tall, illuminated letters on the lobby walls in our Clearwater headquarters. Trust. Respect. Dignity. Responsibility. Excellence. The words apply to how we treat our patients, our customers and each other. Our Values create a for-all environment where all team members, regardless of where they work or what they do, feel valued for their authentic selves and translate that to extraordinary care.

It’s partly a matter of mission. BayCare’s Mission is to “improve the health of all we serve through community-owned services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care.” Our 29,045 team members understood that though the CEO’s goal was ambitious, achieving it would benefit our patients, and that’s a mission that matters to all of us.

It’s also this: BayCare is built around a Quality Model that emphasizes the concept of continuous improvement. To power the workforce’s drive to be ever better, BayCare supports team members with competitive salaries and benefits, the opportunity to advance their education through tuition assistance for certificate and college-level study, leadership training for those who aspire to higher roles in the organization, a voluntary Employee Assistance Program for team members and their dependents who are experiencing a rough patch in their personal lives, and an environment that encourages and rewards hard work, initiative and innovation.

Spotlight: Team Member Angel Brown

Angel Brown was 17 years old and had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. College wasn’t affordable for her Plant City family, so it wasn’t on her radar screen. She didn’t even know what fields of study colleges offered. “I didn’t see the world as a big world,” Angel recalls. “I saw it as a very small world. Small and quaint.”

However, like most teens, she wanted to earn some money, so she applied for an evening receptionist job in the weight management clinic at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. Two years later, she transferred to a daytime receptionist job in the busy human resources department. And the door to a bigger world began to crack open.

From her desk, Angel watched and listened as hospital team members and new applicants for jobs visited the department. They came from all walks of life. They had held all kinds of jobs. They were looking for new opportunities. Angel’s eyes were opened to possibilities. She wondered, if they could do it, could she?

Getting Help, Moving Up

Her lack of higher education was a hurdle, but as a BayCare team member, she was eligible for the health system’s popular tuition assistance program. She used it to earn an associate degree at Hillsborough Community College, then a bachelor’s degree in human resources management at St. Leo University. 

“Basically, BayCare paid for my education,” Angel said.

She worked hard, and soon more opportunities came her way at BayCare. A nurse staffing coordinator job, then a supervisory role in staffing. An entry-level BayCare recruiter post, then recruitment manager.

Today, that 17-year-old kid who had no road map for life is 48 years old and director of Talent Acquisition and Employee Health at BayCare. Eighty people report to her. She’s regularly sought out by headhunters representing other employers but sees no reason to leave the organization that helped her grow as a person and a leader.

“I feel like BayCare invested in me. It stretched me. It still stretches me,” she said, smiling. “I just feel blessed. BayCare is the greatest place to work. It’s not about the money. It’s about how you can make a great place greater.”