The basket of candy on Kerrie Conroy’s desk doesn’t mean she has a sweet tooth. Rather, she’s a dynamic team builder who knows the way to a nurse’s heart is through her stomach.
Conroy, the new director of 2 South and 3 South, offers up candy to her team members. The price for a piece? The team member must tell Conroy something about themselves. The delicious ice-breaker is just one way Conroy is getting to know her large team.
Although she is new to SSM Cardinal Glennon, Conroy is not new to SSM Health Care. Her 15-year nursing career was spent at St. Joseph Hospital of Kirkwood and later St. Clare Health Center. She was most recently the team leader for Cardiology, Neurology and Monitor Techs at SSM St. Clare.
Conroy received her BSN from Maryville University and plans to take advantage of the Opportunity provided by SSM and Webster University to pursue her Master’s Degree in Nursing.
After working at adult hospitals for 15 years, Conroy was ready to continue learning and try something new. She was cautious about the opening at SSM Cardinal Glennon, but her interview at the hospital made a big impact.
“I walked into this beautiful space and just had a good feeling,” Conroy said. “There were little kids in high chairs throwing cookies on the floor and everyone was so just so warm and welcoming. I just felt like this is what I was supposed to do.”
Two months into the job, Conroy is enjoying her new team. She put out cards in break rooms and asked for feedback on what people would like to see in their jobs. She would love to focus on relationship-based care and what it means for families.
Asking for feedback is an important tenet of Conroy’s leadership philosophy.
“I don’t like the word ‘management,’” she said. “Everyone on the team is equally important; we just have different jobs. I’m kind of like the head coach. It’s my job to make sure we have a game plan and that my team members have the right education and equipment. But it’s up to the rest of the team to score the goals. We can stand on the sidelines and kick like crazy but it won’t get us anyway.”
Conroy’s leadership style makes her a terrific fit for SSM Cardinal Glennon.
“Kerrie is a fantastic addition to our team,” said Leann Zerkel, vice president of Nursing. “She brings not only clinical excellence but strong experience in creating great teams where employees feel engaged and excited about their jobs. We are excited for the energy she will bring to the teams on 2 and 3 South.”
When Conroy isn’t working, she likes to spend time with her family and friends. Conroy’s children are both grown and live out of town so she takes any chance she can to see them.