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From Staff Nurse to Quality Improvement Director

David Loose, RN, MSN
Director of Quality Improvement Eden Medical Center

Imagine having a career that offers education, travel, and an opportunity to climb the leadership ladder. This was David Loose’s experience when he was commissioned as a Nurse Corps Officer in the United States Navy right after graduating from Episcopal Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia. The year was 1971, toward the end of the Vietnam War.

He began his career as a staff nurse and then became a charge nurse of a floor. He took on the additional responsibilities of department head, eventually becoming an assistant director of nursing and then director of nursing.

Throughout his 25 year career, he served in a variety of nursing areas including Labor and Delivery, Ambulatory Care and Critical Care to name a few. “This served me well as I became more senior because it provided the background to understand health care as a continuum,” explains David. Throughout this time he demonstrated the importance of a commitment to the profession of nursing by serving in leadership positions in professional organizations and focusing on the development of new nurses and the mentoring of future leaders in nursing.

His message to young men who are thinking about going into nursing is simple. “Many people have a narrow view of a nurse. They see it as someone who follows the physicians’ orders.” He says that may be a part of nursing, but nursing today is much more. Nursing requires critical thinking and provides unlimited opportunities for growth. “There are so many different areas nurses can work in today: in huge medical centers in the major cities or small clinics in National Parks, on aircraft carriers or helicopters, with Doctors Without Borders in war ravaged areas of the globe, or simply serving in the community where you live,” remarks David.

To men who are already in nursing, David suggests being open to working in a variety of areas as a way to enhance your skills as a leader in the profession. With so many different specialties to choose from, he recommends not locking yourself into a decision right away as to where you want to spend the rest of your career. He says commit to continuing your education in whatever specialty you choose. He feels the best leaders are those that are well-rounded with both experience and education. “Most importantly, never lose sight as to why you became a nurse. That desire to help others provides the foundation, no matter what position you take in nursing. True compassion and caring is behind all that you do,” he says.

While in the Navy, David received his MSN in Nursing Administration and Community Health Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. His current position is Director of Quality Improvement at Eden Medical Center which is part of Sutter Health Care. David is a member of the Association of California Nurse Leaders and serves on the Healthcare Quality Certification Board. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Nursing Careers in California whose goal is to lead an outreach effort to achieve an adequate and diverse nursing workforce to meet the needs of California and promote nursing as a career.

Release Date: May 6, 2005

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