Jennifer Ventress appointed

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 15, 2001

CNO at Edge Regional


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When the time came to appoint a new chief nursing officer for Edge Regional Medical Center, who better than a Troy native and one who has 20 years of committed service to the hospital.

Jennifer Colley Ventress has accepted her appointment by Community Health Systems with excitement, enthusiasm and a vision for the future.

"Edge Regional Medical Center’s goal and on-going efforts are to enhance our image in the community," she said. "I hope that my appointment will be a big step in that direction. I am totally – 110 percent – committed to Edge Regional and have been since I was in high school. I’m tremendously loyal to the hospital. I love my job. I love working with the medical staff, the hospital staff and the patients. This is where I want to be and, yes, I’m very excited about my appointment as chief nursing officer."

Ventress replaces Lee Anne Montgomery who transferred to a Community Health Systems hospital in Virginia.

When the opportunity was presented to her, Ventress was more than ready to accept the challenge and responsibility of managing a nursing staff of more than 100 professionals.

Ventress said hiring and retaining high-quality nurses and working closely with hospital physicians will be a top priority, but nothing will superseded her commitment to patient care.

"We have an excellent medical staff who all believe in the highest quality of care for their patients," Ventress said. "We are a hometown hospital and many of our patients are our neighbors and friends. Our commitment to them, as well as all of our patients, is personal."

Ventress said ERMC has a reputation of high quality patient care and, although her administrative duties have increased, her main interest will continue to be clinical.

"I’m not a sit-behind-a-desk kind of nurse," she said. "People are going to continue to see my face around the hospital because I’ll be in the clinical areas, working with patients and doctors, checking on patients and communicating with the families of our patients. After all, the patients are why we are here and they are our number one priority, always."

Ventress said she has worked with many members of the hospital’s medical staff for 20 years and she believes her ability to communicate well with them is an asset as she assumes the role of chief nursing officer.

"The staff knows me well and they know that my priority is quality care," she said. "The interest of the patient will always be my top priority. Our job is to make the patient’s stay as pleasant as possible. Sometimes a nurse’s job is to just be there for the patient, listening to what they have to say and to what their family has to say. Sometimes all they need is compassion – sometimes, a prayer."

For Ventress, her personal step up is just a continuation of the direction in which the hospital is headed.

"Edge Regional has well-trained physicians who believe in the highest quality of care for their patients," she said. Community Health Systems has invested heavily in the latest medical technology and that has been a factor in the hospital’s ability to recruit more high-quality medical professionals and talented specialists. We are moving forward and I’m excited about the direction we’re headed. We are moving forward; we are moving up and our image in the community is being enhanced with each step we take to make Edge Regional Medical Center the best hometown hospital, anywhere."

As for Ventress, whose career at ERMC began as a nurse’s aide when she was only 17 years old, she is "happily at home" and that’s where she plans to stay.