Thirty years ago, Anita Harden spent her time on the night shift tending to her patients as a nurse at Robert Long Hospital on the IUPUI campus, then at Methodist Hospital. Today, Harden oversees all of Community Hospital East's patients as the hospital's president.
My, how things have changed.
Long Hospital is now an academic building for the IU School of Medicine. Community East is part of the explosive growth of the Community Health Network. And the IU School of Nursing graduate with an MBA from IU's Kelley School of Business has transcended her own career expectations, starting her fourth year managing the approximately 2,800 doctors, nurses and staff who serve the 250-bed care facility on Indianapolis' near east side.
"I've been part of Community for more than 30 years, and it's still hard for me to believe I'm here," says Harden with a smile.
Making a major urban hospital like Community East work effectively requires several of Harden's favorite traits: teamwork and collaboration, the ability to learn and a willingness to take on - and overcome - challenges.
The latter has never been a problem for Harden. In the past 18 months, she's learned how to drive race cars ("it was something I'd always wanted to do") and started swim lessons ("better late than never," she quips).
So it wasn't a surprise to friends and co-workers when Harden - though she "loved the life of being a nurse" - began a move down a different career path. It started at Community Hospital North with her work with psychiatric patients, which had become her specialty.