New CNO focuses on his bedside roots

His mantra: Patients first
Oct. 28, 2015

Medical Center of the Rockies’ new chief nursing officer, Ryan Rohman, has moved fairly quickly up the administration career ladder, but his feet are still planted firmly in patient care.

“We need to continue to grow and thrive but the most important part is to provide the highest quality, safest patient care with the best service,” Rohman said. “If we do those things, then we will grow. If we do those things well, our costs will go down. If we focus on those three things, we’ll be the best.”

Rohman started his nursing career at Poudre Valley Hospital’s Surgical Unit in 2003 and within his first few years, held leadership positions in various hospital committees.

Medical Center of the Rockies’ new chief nursing officer, Ryan Rohman, discusses hospital business with Clinical Director Barb Ochsner.

“I went into nursing with the ultimate goal to help people during their most vulnerable time. But what I realized in leadership is that I might touch those people less, but my scope of influence is greater,” Rohman said. “That gave me the passion to do more of those roles and to grow in leadership because I realized how many more lives I could impact in a positive way.”

Rohman’s nursing career evolved over the years into more administrative roles. From a bedside RN he advanced to a surgical unit educator during a pivotal point in the system’s history — the opening of a second hospital in Loveland in 2006-07. Rohman then became program manager of PVH bariatrics while also holding a nurse manager position in the surgical unit.

Then he switched gears and served as PVH’s director of Perioperative Services. When the hospitals became part of UCHealth, he became senior director of Perioperative Services for both MCR and PVH. And before being appointed as MCR’s new CNO in September, he served several months as the hospital’s interim CNO.

Although Rohman has added more credentials after his name and meetings to his schedule, he’s committed to maintaining the kind of close connection to patient care that he had as a bedside nurse.

For Rohman, the “bedside’’ has sometimes been in remote locations. In May 2014, he spent 10 days on a medical mission that traveled up the Amazon River with 30 other medical professionals, stopping at remote villages to provide primary health care services. The group cared for 1,500 patients.

“As an administrator, you are tasked with making large organizational and system decisions, which can make it challenging to touch patients. You have this incredible influence, but also can feel the challenge of staying connected to what’s really important,” he said. “I’m sure others feel that way as well. When you take care of thousands and thousands of patients, you can lose sight of the importance of each one of those interactions to that individual.

“As a senior leader in an organization, I don’t want to lose sight of the patient, touching lives and influencing them. The (medical) mission helped me achieve exactly that — maintaining that patient focus. It reminded me how people come to us, scared and vulnerable, and we have an opportunity to lay a stethoscope on them and make clinical decisions that may help in their journey. I don’t want to lose sight of that, and I don’t want any of our staff to either. Our visitors might be going through that for their very first time, and I want us to make that experience the best it can be.”

Another way Rohman plans to stay connected is to “throw on some scrubs and really help” at the bedside level. He’s working on a strategy to be able to assist in units at least once a month in addition to his staff rounding as CNO.

Rohman’s caring nature and desire to help come from his parents, he said. His mom was a hospice volunteer care coordinator and his dad was a veterinarian.

“I was always surrounded by some form of health care,” he said. “It was never really a question of whether I’d go into health care – that was my passion – but it was after shadowing in different hospitals that I decided I wanted to play that key role with patients and their recoveries as a nurse.”

And even though Rohman has developed policies and led initiatives, the highlights of his career still revolve around the patient.

“I don’t have one specific defining moment, but the moments I think of are patient care,” he said. “It’s those patients I’ve helped; the families I’ve helped; and what they’ve said. It’s not those initiatives but those patient interactions. It’s for those reasons that I work tirelessly, where I gain my passion for what I do. Those experiences are why I’m a nurse.”

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.