Renee Blakiewicz, BSN, administrative director of clinical operations, Geisinger Community Medical Center
About ReneeRenee worked as a nurse’s aide while studying for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, then she worked as a staff nurse for more than 16 years. Currently administrative director of clinical operations at Geisinger Community Medical Center, she loves hospital operations and being “in the thick of things.” She says her favorite part of her career at Geisinger is the ability to grow and learn.
Two fun facts about Renee:
She would be a baker, if she wasn’t a nurse. She loves to make specialty cakes with fondant and an assortment of sweet treats.
She also lost 70 pounds over the past two years and will be running in her first half-marathon in April.
We asked Renee a few questions about her career journey, obstacles she’s faced and what International Women’s Day means to her. Here’s what she said:
Why did you decide to pursue a career in healthcare?
I don’t think there was one defining moment, where I thought leadership was for me, in fact, I was very quiet and introverted when I started my career. My voice came out when I learned I was much more than a task-doer, but I was an advocate for my patients and then for my staff. Healthcare/nursing is my love. I have always wanted to be a helper or caregiver and moving into leadership allows me to do this on a much larger scale.
Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced along your journey.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in my journey is being a perfectionist. I want it right and right all the time, and I couldn’t possibly be the one who broke something or made a mistake. What I found very quickly was I am human, and I make mistakes and through those mistakes I grow, and I learn. It really is amazing when you step back, after you beat yourself up and see the error for what it is and begin to make things better because of it.
What do you think is the biggest issue women face today?
I don’t think I focus as much on being a woman as I do the reality that I am a young leader moving through a very complicated world. I put my pants on the same way as others do, and I have a credible strong leg or two to stand on. I am very proud to be a leader, and I do not differentiate between male or female as I believe if you have the “IT,” you can make anything happen.
What advice would you give to other women looking to get into the healthcare field?
I would tell anyone looking to enter the healthcare field to do the right thing always for your patients. Be the voice for your patient even when it may not be the easiest message to convey or what folks want to hear.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s day is “Balance for Better,” focused on building a gender-balanced world. What does that mean to you? How can we make a positive difference for women everywhere?
I think as a woman, you must work on being the best version of you that you can be: mind, body and spirit. We can make a positive difference through focusing on our work, on ourselves and being positive, strong servant leaders.