Retirement of a CEO: Linda Morrow
Linda Morrow was only 16 when the misfortune of finding herself in hospital for a minor injury made her look around and realize that she might want to work in health care herself. Fast forward 37 years and Morrow is wrapping up a career that has taken her from Registered Nurse to CEO of Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH).
Training at John Abbott College in Quebec where she was born and raised, Morrow started her career at Lakeshore General Hospital as a float nurse, working in units from Emergency to Obstetrics. She moved to Alexandria after meeting her husband, dairy farmer John Morrow (she also had other family, including grandparents, in Eastern Ontario).
Morrow completed her Emergency Nursing Certification when she arrived at HGMH, and started as an Emergency Nurse, taking on a full-time evening position. She built her skills further with inservice education, a CPR instructor course, by working on the finance and quality committees, and by getting more involved in projects at the hospital including computerization of the nursing workload and scheduling. Morrow says all these activities helped prepare her to take on leadership positions. "I never really planned to go into administration," says Morrow. "My career just led me there."
Highlights at HGMH
In 2001, Morrow became the Chief Nursing Officer and in 2006 became CEO. Of her early role as a nurse, Morrow says she liked the contact with patients and colleagues. "It's very gratifying when you're a frontline nurse. There's lots of unpredictability and challenge," she says.
But taking on the CEO role made her realize there was also satisfaction in the big picture view. "Health care's a big system. When you're a frontline nurse, it's much more patient focused. When you get into an administrative type of a role it is very systems-driven." Deliberate or not, it's a challenge Morrow has enjoyed. "Strategic planning really fun," she says. "Seeing those plans actually happen is quite satisfying."
Highlights of Morrow's leadership at HGMH include the Emergency Room renovation which started when she was Chief Nursing Officer, and after that, the establishment of Diagnostic Imaging, Ultrasound, Bone Mineral Densitometry, and Pulmonary Function Testing. More recently, the Pulmonary and Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs, and the Post-Acute Stroke Program have been milestones for HGMH. "That has been a great success. But it's not my success, really. I had the luxury of being able to take on those programs and the staff have done a great job," she says.
Plans for retirement include joining her husband in their shared passion for sailing. "We have a beautiful
43-foot Beneteau sailboat, so we're hoping to do some sailing on Lake Ontario this summer. If things go well, we may try to take our boat down south."
The other plan is to spend time with her grandchildren. In addition to three adult children in their thirties, two daughters and a son, Morrow now has two little ones to chase after, a two-year-old and an eight-month-old.
We wish you well in retirement, Linda. Good luck in your new adventures!