A Conversation with Brittni McGill

Year of the Nurse blog - Brittni

Brittni McGill, MSN, RN, CCRN, is Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma. She has a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelors in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma. In the following, she talks about her personal satisfaction working in a supportive profession that is not just a job but “a calling.”

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I became interested in healthcare in high school. I grew up in North Dallas, Texas, and my school had an off-site pre-healthcare program. After high school, I enrolled as a premed student at the University of Oklahoma and I participated in shadowing rotations with physicians. I quickly noticed the interaction differences between physicians and nurses as it relates to patients and their families. That is when I decided to pursue nursing. There was such a personal connection and ability to help people.

I gained experience as a NICU/PICU and neonatal transport nurse, and various cardiovascular service line leadership roles. I served as the director of nursing for a pediatric rehabilitation hospital and interim co-chief nursing officer at Norman Regional before accepting my current role in 2018.

I chose Norman Regional as an organization because it has a family atmosphere. You aren’t just an employee ID number. My plan all along was to go back home to Texas, but I had a job waiting for me after graduation in Oklahoma. I met my husband here and life quickly happened. We’ve built our family in the Sooner state!

How do you see your role as a Chief Nursing Officer?

I don’t ever want to be disconnected from the bedside, especially knowing that my decisions can impact patients and clinicians. No matter what leadership position I have, there are days when I’m still in scrubs. I want to keep my clinical skillset strong and demonstrate that I have hands-on experience. It helps build bridges, which are essential, especially in nursing.

What is a typical shift like for you?

I start each day with a schedule, but I often respond to shifting needs and refocus my attention to wherever my team needs me. I travel between multiple hospital sites and wouldn’t say that I have a typical shift because my role is always evolving.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

The most satisfying part of the job are the opportunities. Everywhere you turn there are big challenges and opportunities to do something new. It’s never static. Nursing is invigorating and I love to learn something from every challenge and then move forward with more knowledge. It’s not a job, it’s a calling.

How has work changed since the pandemic?

COVID-19 has been the most challenging season professionally, and it’s compounded by everything going on in our communities, with schools going virtual, job layoffs, and political unrest. Our nursing leaders are familiar with natural disasters and have systems in place for that, but this has been something new. Nurses are affected by all that is happening both at work and at home, and we need to rely on each other for support. It’s o.k. to have an emotional period. Nurses are nurses because they care deeply about others. So, we continue to strive to be in tune with each other and help each other. Nurses are known for being solution-driven and that’s the approach we are taking in response to COVID-19.

What do you do to find calm or rejuvenate yourself?

I like being in my car traveling between locations. It allows me to think more clearly and listen to music. It’s a calming sense of productivity. I often find myself being more productive outside the hospital.

What do you want to tell young people seeking a nursing career?

Take advantage of every opportunity given to you and actively seek out opportunities. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Always look for ways to do something better. Healthcare needs you and the new and innovative ideas you can bring.

If not a nurse, what would you be?

A party planner. I love to decorate. I love a theme and I love a schedule. All those things happen at an event.

About the Series

The World Health Organization (W.H.O) has designated 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. Over the next several months, we will celebrate nurses’ contributions to the healthcare profession through a series of conversations with top nurse across specialties. Read previous posts in the series, Celebrating the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, A Conversation with Sarah A. Cypher, A Conversation with Allie Janous, A Conversation with Sheila Burns, and A Conversation with Kate Hellmich.