In order to improve patient satisfaction, Bob Dent believes in improving and expanding the nursing program for Colorado.In just over a year as chief nursing officer and associate administrator of 36-bed Sterling (Colo.) Regional MedCenter, a not-for-profit hospital, Dent has started to develop a registered nurse training program in northeastern Colorado and has asked to sit in on a state task force to develop policies and legislation to support the expansion of the nursing program. "We want to increase the number of nurses that are certified in Colorado," Dent says.
His passion for healthcare started when Dent, 39, was in high school and joined the Medical Explorers Group, which teaches young people about different aspects of healthcare to pique their interest in pursuing a career in the field. While volunteering at a local hospital, he found his calling in nursing. "I had always been fascinated with healthcare and always had a keen interest in nursing," Dent says.
He went on to receive his associate's degree in applied sciences from South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, and then worked for five years as a registered nurse for Methodist Hospital in Lubbock, Texas (now known as Covenant Medical Center, an 868-bed hospital). In 1993, he served as a nurse turned administrator for 611-bed Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz., until 2005.
During his time at the not-for-profit hospital, he received his bachelor's degree in nursing in 2000 and his master's degree in business administration and healthcare management in 2004 from the University of Phoenix, where he also works as an online faculty member teaching healthcare leadership classes.
Dent says one of the accomplishments he is proudest of in his career is identifying the need for divesting the long-term-care business and expanding subacute care in the 2002 Banner Desert strategic planning process. He worked with the staff, residents and their families--along with help from outside agencies--to effectively transition 110 residents, some of whom had resided in the home for as long as eight years, to other facilities while meeting their personal and emotional needs.
Since serving as CNO at Sterling, Dent has pursued leadership excellence, and clinical outcomes have exceeded the 75th percentile of all hospitals in the country, with patient-satisfaction scores increasing from the 7th percentile to the 80th.
Dent credits his pursuit of excellence to having a goal, ensuring his staff is aware of the expectations and plans of the department, and from there building a foundation. "When things get chaotic, as they do in healthcare, it's good to have a vision," Dent says.
Currently, Dent is pursuing his passion for building a stable foundation for the nursing program in Colorado.
He believes part of his success is because of good mentoring. Banner Chief Operating Officer Rhonda Anderson, a mentor of Dent's for 51/2 years, says he is one of the most outstanding nursing professionals she has seen.