For Rockledge Regional Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer, Mary Sue Zinsmeister, the opportunity to lead the nursing operations through this positive change is a role she embraces. In just 10 months, Rockledge Regional Medical Center has lowered emergency room wait times to 16 minutes, made almost every room private and has the best patient satisfaction scores in the last 6 years.

Since joining in August 2017, Zinsmeister continues to be a part of an evolving healthcare company, which includes branding its cardiac service line. The Heart and Vascular Institute at Rockledge Regional Medical Center has brought on four new physicians as well as the latest technology in cardiac procedures, such as the using the Impella heart pump and performing the convergent procedure for atrial fibrillation. Rockledge Regional Medical Center is also expanding its orthopedic service line, as well as introducing its Signature Maternity program, a luxury birthing experience that includes a pregnancy concierge to guide mothers through their birth plan, Smart TVs, in-suite refrigerators and much more. Throughout these changes, Zinsmeister continues to lead with premier care for the patient in mind, as well as a dedication to ensuring nurses are valued and empowered to voice their patient care concerns.


When we have our nursing call for the central division, the main focus of the call is about sharing our best practices in quality and patient safety. I’ve never experienced that with any other company. Steward Healthcare is making a profound impact on the communities it serves. The health system, which is led by physicians, invests in patients, keeping people healthy through an innovative coordinated care model aimed at helping people get back to their families, their jobs, and good health, rather than back to the hospital.


I’m a doctoral candidate, and one of the things you learn in the doctorate of nursing practice program is how to use research, literature and standards of care to develop policies and procedures that focus on the highest level of care for the patients. That’s something we do here: we look to see if a policy may need to be changed or updated to ensure our patients are receiving exceptional care. Since I’ve been here we’ve started three nursing improvement committees to implement positive change at the hospital.


Throughout my years as a nursing leader I have found that if you have engaged, satisfied employees, everything else falls in line. I previously had the honor of working for a hospital that achieved Magnet status and also received the gold standard recognition by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center. I’m proud to bring my knowledge and experience from that facility to Rockledge Regional Medical Center and look forward to the opportunity to implement some of the standards here as well. One recognition program we recently began is the DAISY Award. The DAISY Award honors extraordinary nurses and recognizes them for their “super-human” work they provide our patients and their families. It’s a high honor for nurses to get this international award and we really celebrate those honored.

Another initiative we’ve been working on is the “Walk In Your Shoes” program. This program allows departments to send a team member to another department for a brief period of time so they can have an appreciation and an understanding for the unique and important role each department plays in providing exceptional patient care.

We also have started a shared governance program that is a structure for shared decision-making among staff nurses and leadership. It currently consists of two primary councils that are leading the researched based discussions for implementing new and exciting changes in nursing practices that will benefit the specific needs of the patient.


Over time as a leader, you learn a lot of patience. You learn to not always make assumptions and to really consider all angles of the situation before making decisions. It’s a systems view of the hospital and everything that is happening. You need that global view in order to make the right decisions to move the hospital forward. I find it rewarding to be a member of the leadership team at Rockledge Regional Medical Center where over 2000 employees are engaging in the positive changes taking place. 

“Over time as a leader, you learn a lot of patience. You learn to not always make assumptions and to really consider all angles of the  situation before making decisions.” – Mary Sue Zinsmeister