Aruna Vadgama, RN, MPA, CPHQ, BCSP, BCPE, COHN-S, CHRM, is a Surveyor for Joint Commission International (JCI). Vadgama brings demonstrated expertise as a healthcare nurse executive, healthcare consultant, and a workplace safety engineer specialist to her role as Surveyor for the Joint Commission International Accreditation.
Prior to joining JCI, Vadgama served as an Assistant Vice President for Quality Improvement Systems for the South Coast Medical Center, and as a Vice President for the Menninger Clinic. In these positions, she was responsible for the Patient Safety, Accreditation and Quality Management Systems, Utilization Review, Infection Control, Medical Records, Risk Management, Medical Staff Credentialing, and Clinical Performance Management departments. Vadgama served as Executive Vice President for the Health Resources Corporation, an international consulting company where she provided consulting to 400 clients. In her role as Deputy Health Commissioner for the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, she designed the Right to Know Law program for managing hazardous chemicals for the community.
Vadgama feels strongly that nurses must self-identify as a nurse/RN when climbing into leadership positions. She mentions one instance when she was called to be an expert for an international engineering conference, and they were surprised/enamored by the fact that she is a nurse. From that moment on, she has always worn the title of NURSE with honor. In reflecting on her position as an international surveyor for JCI, Vadgama shares her advice for nurses leading in the many facets of health care – especially in this time of crisis and COVID-19:
- Approach everyday with passion, accomplish your tasks at hand and don’t be afraid to speak up – “We nurses are the ambassadors for our patients. We are at the bedside 24/7. We are key in diagnosing our patients’ needs via using our clinical judgement and analyzing our nursing assessment data for developing our patients’ care plans,” says Vadgama.
- Keep the big picture in mind and don’t get bogged down with bureaucracy.
- Know the History and value it; however, challenge it to transform the “status quo”: “The healthcare system is very hierarchical – whether we like it or not.” Do not be afraid to stand up to it.
- Never say NO to new challenges. Always be ready to volunteer to be a team member for committees, research projects, and a lead for education.
- Never Stop Learning. I am learning everyday.
- Consider your options for career growth beyond the hospital healthcare systems. There are vast opportunities in health care and always keep your eyes and ears open for when those opportunities call.
- Explore expanding your horizons beyond the USA. There are a lot of leadership opportunities available to jump start your career goals both here and abroad.
- Leadership is not learned it is ingrained within your self. Use it..we humans are the tools. Make it happen.
Vadgama has spent 12 years as a JCI surveyor traveling all over the world to help hospitals and healthcare systems reach accredited status. She is also a Certified Yellow Belt with JCI.