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January 25, 2021

Sherri Hess: Hands-on Healthcare Leadership in Action

As the world continues to evolve, you’ll find experienced, dedicated people on the front lines creating opportunities, meeting challenges head-on, and serving as an example to those they lead.

Sherri Hess, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at Banner Health, and faculty member in the University College Healthcare Management program since 2011 (and recently the Health Informatics program), is one of those leaders.

With more than 30 years’ experience in healthcare as a registered nurse, including 21 as a healthcare IT leader, Hess currently serves as the strategic liaison between clinical leaders and IT. Banner Health and Hess are leading the charge when it comes to nursing informatics, addressing information and knowledge needs of healthcare professionals and patients to improve outcomes in quality, safety, and patient satisfaction.

Hess and her team also focus on improving efficiency for the clinical staff to give them more time with patients and less with paperwork.

This focus proved to be invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as healthcare professionals found themselves needing more time to treat patients, spending less time on administrative tasks. Decreasing documentation and streamlining electronic health records for COVID patients became a priority.

“Initially, our focus was creating disaster documentation to prepare for the surge, decreasing what and how often our nurses and respiratory nurses had to document,” Hess related. “Since, they are caring for more patients, they do not have time to spend documenting. In Arizona, we are so full, we need all hands on deck to help our staff care for patients.”

Hess, a registered nurse, also takes the all hands on deck call seriously. In addition to leading nursing informatics efforts, she rolled up her sleeves and volunteered to vaccinate front-line healthcare workers, canceling her own holiday travel plans to help with the effort.

“That is why I became a nurse – to always step up when needed – no matter the ask,” she said. “I believe the only way to get this under control is to get everyone vaccinated. If I can take my holiday or weekend to assist, it’s my calling.”

According to Hess, who will continue to administer vaccines over the next few months, the Banner site she assists at has ramped up to vaccinating 1,700 healthcare workers per day.  

University College Healthcare Management and Health Informatics programs are on the leading edge of the health industry thanks to dedicated people like Hess. Her experience and dedication are what helps to train students to become leaders.

“Sherri throws her whole heart, soul, and brains into everything she does. She is a dedicated leader, a cheerleader for the nursing profession, a glass ceiling breaker, an innovator, an educator and an all-around amazing human,” says Rachel Rogers, academic director for the Health Informatics program. “Sherri understands the value that technological innovation can bring to healthcare but also understands that in order to successfully introduce new technology into healthcare settings, the end-users need to be included in the implementation process from end-to-end. Like many nurses, she is willing to do whatever it takes to do what is right and best for patients and healthcare providers. She’ll advocate for bedside clinicians in high-level meetings and then toss on a pair of scrubs and give COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Interested in learning more about our Health Informatics graduate program (and taking a course from Hess)? Visit the University College website.

Photos courtesy of Sherri Hess.

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