Always taking the high road
A member of the last graduating class of the Virginia Baptist Hospital’s College of Nursing, Kim Price’s warm sense of humor was made evident as she quipped, “they didn’t close the school because of me…it just moved to Lynchburg General Hospital!”
Kim began her career at Centra as an intensive care unit nurse before becoming the first Nursing Informatics nurse where she assisted with installing the first computer system at Centra. Also spending time as a director within the Finance Department, Kim explained that this role helped her to, “understand the business issues associated with healthcare and the importance of data in driving decisions.”
After serving as the Director of Centra Women & Children’s Services, Kim worked as the Chief Nursing Officer for Lynchburg General and Virginia Baptist Hospital during the “COVID years” which she described as the most challenging part of her whole career.
Reflecting on this time, Kim shared, “There was no one to call and ask, ‘what do I do in this situation,’ because no one had ever dealt with a pandemic like this before. It was intense, but we focused on keeping people alive and we made it through.”
Following this period, Kim took on her current role as Vice President of Patient Experience and Women & Children’s Health. In this position, she focuses on strategizing how the experience of care for both patients and Caregivers can be optimized at Centra. Constantly seeking out evidence-based information in addition to rounding with patients, Kim focuses on working with teams to figure out ways that they can improve care.
She explained that the Strategic Theme of “One Centra,” influences much of her work because the patients that Centra serves do not see a difference between inpatient and outpatient care. Whether they are visiting an urgent care in Forest or receiving cancer treatment in Farmville, their experience is all “Centra.”
When asked what the most challenging part of her role is Kim described how meeting patients where they are, attempting to meet expectations and explaining what we can and cannot do can be incredibly difficult. She went on to say, “Sometimes we can’t meet the needs that people expect to have met. As I help guide patients through their care journeys, I spend a lot of time listening. Sometimes all we can do is listen and cry with people. My personality wants to fix everything, but sometimes there are situations that I just can’t fix.”
While there’s no doubt that Kim’s heart for others has been made evident through her current role at Centra, there’s another title that she holds that communicates this same heart. As a ten-year member of Miriam House’s Board of Directors, Kim provides her wealth of healthcare knowledge and experience to the Miriam’s House Team as they seek to eliminate homelessness in Lynchburg. Kim explained that they serve as a strong partner to Centra because they are guided by evidence-based practices and focused on developing trust with families, particularly women and children.
She explained how Miriam’s House does an excellent job of helping individuals develop skills and perform necessary but often cumbersome tasks like opening a bank account all with the end goal of helping them to be self-sufficient. Kim went on to say, “You never want to have to discharge a mother and baby who are going to be homeless, and because of Miriam’s House, that’s never a reality. They always help us figure something out.”
When Kim isn’t at Centra, you are likely to find her traveling the globe! She loves to plan trips, and so far, Iceland is her favorite destination. In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Kim loved getting to hear the stories of the independent, strong individuals who call the country home. Her next trip? Traveling to Transylvania, Romania!
Kim has two sons, three German Shepherds and four grandchildren. One of her German Shepherds, Radar, also works at Centra as a pet therapy dog!
As someone with years of healthcare and community service experience, Kim’s closing thoughts were especially poignant. When asked what’s one piece of advice that she’s never forgotten, she said, “Carolyn Jacques, one of my mentors, who was the VP of Women & Children’s Health before me used to say, ‘Always take the high road.’ If anything has helped me through my 40-year career, it’s been to take a deep breath, pause, assess the situation and ultimately, take the high road.”