Ronnie Sloan entered the medical field to make a difference. Sloan started his career as a respiratory therapist and later transitioned into an administrative role. In a previous role, in which the hospital he worked partnered with another system, he felt the focus on caring for patients and making a difference in their lives became lost. Hearing an administrator at The Outer Banks Hospital speak at a conference, Sloan recognized Vidant Health’s commitment to personal care that he missed. That longing to make a difference in the life of his community drew him to Vidant, where he now serves as president of The Outer Banks Hospital.
What makes The Other Banks Hospital an exceptional place to serve, Sloan notes, is a hard-earned culture of focusing on people. The family atmosphere at the hospital is a major factor in attracting talented and compassionate caregivers. “It takes years to build that culture. It takes just days to lose it. That’s something we all focus on: don’t let us lose the culture,” he says.
Cookouts, birthday lunches and an employee experience team who focus on making the hospital a great place to work all build a culture in which people are valued. Those people make the hospital a great place to serve. “I love the people here. I love their caring, compassion, dedication, teamwork and effort. This staff will rise to any occasion,” Sloan says. When recruiting team members, The Outer Banks Hospital searches for people who fit that culture and really want to make a difference in patients’ lives.
Jennifer Schwartzenberg, director of community outreach and development, is a perfect fit for the culture that Sloan believes in so deeply. “She has an enthusiasm for her work and for the community. You would think Jenn has been here 20 years. She gets to know people and gets tied into the community so quickly that it’s just amazing,” he says. Schwartzenberg coordinates community initiatives and works with local non-profit organizations to facilitate funding requests. She also works with the fundraising arm of the hospital as part of the development council.
That opportunity for heavy involvement and investment in the community drew Schwartzenberg in January 2016. “As soon as I saw the opening I thought, ‘the hospital has such an amazing stamp on this community.’ There’s so much outreach done to raise awareness and help people in this community that it seemed like a natural fit to me,” she says. The closeness of the Outer Banks community makes Schwartzenberg feel honored to be able to live and work in a place that allows her to extend what she cares about personally into her professional life.
Schwartzenberg echoes Sloan’s statement that The Outer Banks Hospital has an incredible family environment. “The camaraderie and the team environment starts with Ronnie and filters its way down. I see how others carry themselves here, how they interact with patients. It makes me proud,” she says. “From the moment you walk in the door, it's a warm and inviting environment - from volunteers to leadership to nurses to doctors.