This article can be found in the Winter 2016 edition of the Alumni Magazine.

July 12, 2016

At 45, Mike GeRue knows success, as his career history attests. Since completing associate and master’s degrees in nursing at the University of Saint Francis, he has advanced steadily through the ranks of the Parkview Health system.

Now chief operating officer for Parkview Heart Institute, GeRue oversees the entire hospital footprint, including day-to-day operations, quality, growth, finance, marketing and—most importantly—“the delivery of care to our patients,” he said.
GeRue attributes his progress to lifelong learning and an early relationship. “I’ve been with Parkview for 25 years,” he said. “I started in high school as an orderly and it has been a wonderful journey.”

That early hospital experience drove him to study biology at IU, and then enroll in the Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program at USF in 1999. After graduating, he found nursing satisfying, but yearned for further growth. “After 10 years I wanted more than bedside patient contact. I could care for two patients and their families a day. Now I can impact thousands through program direction and development. I desired management and leadership opportunities, so I pursued a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program to continue toward my goals.”

After completing the MSN with a nursing administration focus in 2009, it’s all been momentum at Parkview, fueled by the desire to change and learn. “I have been the proverbial ‘stair-stepper’ through my career,” GeRue said. “I went from a charge nurse to a manager while returning to school. I was appointed director and expanded that role, and then I was promoted to senior vice president, and now COO.”

He shares his story with new hires walking in shoes he wore not that long ago. “When I speak with new staff, I share this: ‘Sixteen years ago I was you, a new graduate, and a new nurse. If you so wish, you too can aspire for leadership opportunities, and to do so you must be a continual learner. Don’t stop learning. If you do, you’re behind the technology and understanding of the healthcare industry.’”

Students and graduates should know the shifting healthcare landscape affects every aspect of the field, GeRue said. “Healthcare is evolving, with more focus now on cost, quality, population health, access and ‘telehealth,’ which combines telecommunication and information technologies to provide clinical healthcare at a distance.

“As we shift from fee-for-service to value-based care based on outcomes, cost and patient satisfaction are now a team effort. With the government and insurance providers more involved, it becomes getting value for the healthcare dollar,” GeRue said. “Our cardiac care is team-based in other ways. We provide over 10 specialized clinics. Patients come in with a specific health history and go to the appropriate clinic, where the physician, nurse practitioner, pharmacist and case coordinator work together. It’s a one-stop shop that enhances quality and convenience.”

That means diverse career options for healthcare workers through partnerships with local educators like USF. “Nursing provides a great opportunity for those who wish to provide care to people who need it most. It’s USF’s role to produce programs with alumni who want to stay in northeast Indiana to help us provide high level healthcare. This ensures a skilled workforce and new people to provide care in our communities.”

“When I speak with new staff, I share this: ‘Sixteen years ago I was you, a new graduate, and a new nurse. If you so wish, you too can aspire for leadership opportunities, and to do so you must be a continual learner.” -Mike GeRue, ASN ’99, MSN ’09, COO, Parkview Heart Institute

USF’s faith-based education was a clear choice for GeRue. “It was very important that the school’s mission and values mirror my own. I could have chosen multiple other schools, but loved the USF program. I loved my ASN experience, so naturally I chose USF for my graduate degree.”

USF rewarded his professionalism, and further aided the adult learner through course format and excellence. “As an MSN candidate, I was already a nursing adjunct professor, so I was salaried and receiving a tuition credit as an alumnus,” he said. “The majority of the work was online, so the flexibility made it easy. My adviser was brilliant, and USF had great clinicians, mentors and motivators along my journey. They worked with me to balance my coursework and incorporate my career experiences.”

GeRue is using these skills to work with many on finding ways to improve regional healthcare. “I am indebted to Parkview for investing in me professionally and personally,” he said. “I will be here, because I want to continue to shape the future of our community healthcare. I am blessed to serve every day.”