May 22, 2024
The Most Trusted

Photo: Mark Wemple

Wendi Goodson-Celerin, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Tampa General Hospital, started the hospital's clinical education department from scratch. It's how the hospital onboards new nurses.

Health Care

The Most Trusted

Mike Brassfield | 4/23/2024

Recently, Wendi Goodson-Celerin was going through her late mother’s things when she came across something that Wendi had scribbled in little-girl handwriting way back in elementary school: I want to be a nurse. I want to help people.

She chose nursing, she says, because her mother was a nurse. “I remember the respect the community gave her. She was the one everyone tended to come to.”

Goodson-Celerin started working at Tampa General Hospital 35 years ago and has been climbing the hierarchy ever since: charge nurse, clinical nurse manager, director of women’s and children’s services, director of clinical education, ICU director, then vice president of neuroscience and orthopedics. Last August, she was appointed senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “I’ve always wanted to be as close as I can be to the table where decisions are made that affect the practice of nursing,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to be in leadership and to really make a difference.”

Although she still makes time to walk the floors and meet patients, she spends much of her time thinking about “capacity, throughput, quality and safety” — sweating the details to make sure TGH’s teams have what they need to care for patients.

A nurse at heart, she’s big on listening. Listening to patients. Listening to staffers. “I just want nurses to know their value — that they’re respected. They’re the most trusted profession in the country. And that’s because nurses are there when patients are at their lowest. We feel it with them, we strive to make them feel better, and hopefully they get to go home.”

Tags: Healthcare, Feature

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