IU Health Morgan looked significantly different in 2012 when Jason King, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, first walked in. Back then, he said the facility had the kind of reputation that made employees embarrassed to wear their name tags out in public. A decade later it couldn’t be more different. Today, the facility is leading the hospital system with the lowest turnover rate percentage-wise, is exceeding its goals for patient satisfaction, and earning international recognition.
“I think people when they come in here, they don’t know what to expect of this facility,” King said. “I think they’re pleasantly surprised when they walk in those doors to see how clean it is, how friendly it is. Most of our team members live here in the community and I think it’s important to them to give great care to their neighbors, their friends, and their loved ones. They take a lot of pride in it. It makes leadership for me very easy. I’m not forcing anyone to do it, they want to do it. They’re motivated from within, and I think it really shows.”
BECOMING A HEALTHCARE ADVOCATE FOR PATIENTS
Originally from Florida, King came to Indiana in 1994. He previously dropped out of college and worked in retail management – a job that wasn’t particularly fulfilling for him.
“I tell people I got into healthcare on a whim,” he said. “People always say, ‘I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up.’ I never thought about healthcare but once I got into it, I enjoyed it.”
The only career path available at the time was practical nursing so he became an LPN through Ivy Tech and continued there to earn his associate degree. He continued with his higher education at Indiana Wesleyan and Ball State before earning his doctorate in 2017 from IU School of Nursing at IUPUI. He started his career at entry level in 2001 and continued to work his way up.
King came to IU Health Morgan on Oct. 1, 2012, as the Chief Nursing Officer. He added Chief Operating Officer to his title in 2019.
“People always ask about getting into leadership,” he said. “They ask ‘do you miss getting to interact with the patients?’ The way I see it, as a nurse on the front line, you have that opportunity to advocate for that patient in a one-on-one setting. But as you get into leadership, the ripples you make in the pond, so to speak, get larger. I feel like instead of one-on-one, getting to make a difference in one person’s life, I can make a difference for all of the people who enter the doors through my leadership and advocating for my patients and my community.”
While he may have gotten into healthcare “on a whim,” it developed into his passion. He said people always tell him why they chose to get into healthcare but for the longest time, he didn’t truly understand why he did. In 2014, he had the opportunity to serve as the hospice nurse for his father, taking care of him intimately and sharing special moments in the time before he passed.
“It was in that time that I understood what my ‘why’ is,” he said. “We are blessed to take care of other people’s loved ones in the same manner. When people come to us in their most vulnerable times, in the emergency room, or wherever, it brings me back to that. Again, I don’t have that one-on-one interaction anymore but if I can create an environment so that my team feels safe providing that care, then I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do. We’re very fortunate that people put their lives in our hands and we have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to make a difference in someone’s life.”Read the Full February 2024 Edition Here