Nursing CEO merges strengths


“Cherish your identity as a nurse, partner with physicians, give back to the Ingram School of Nursing, and aim to contribute to the larger network of adjunct faculty for the School,” says Lynne McVey, BSc’81, MSc(A)’85. (Photo courtesy of Lynne McVey)

By Sophia Blankenhorn

Since its founding, as the McGill School for Graduate Nurses, in 1920, the Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN) has prepared its graduates to be leaders.

This year’s recipient of the Medicine Alumni Global Alumni Award of Merit for the ISoN more than exemplifies that tradition.

“I have been very privileged to have held many leadership roles within the world of nursing,” says Lynne McVey, BSc’81, MSc(A)’85.

The list is long, indeed.

McVey is the former Executive Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, the former Director of Nursing and Clinical Operations at the Jewish General Hospital, and a former Fellow at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in the Health Management for Nurse Executives programs.

And that’s not all.

She has also been Director of Nursing and Clinical Operations at the Jewish General Hospital, Co-Director of the Segal Cancer Centre, Associate Professor at McGill in Nursing and Psychiatry, and principal lecturer for Université de Montréal’s Health Administration program.

Add to these impressive “formers” her current job, at the helm of the Montreal-West-Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre (IUHSSC). As Associate President-Director General, she is responsible for improving access to health care for all those served by her territory.

The IUHSSC, which was created as the result of a provincial health care reform, brings together eight previously independent organizations. Ensuring smooth operations for this new single entity is a logistical challenge, making McVey, with thirty years’ experience in health care administration, an ideal person for the role. “I have had a lot of training in health care management,” she says, adding that she is grateful in particular for her experience at the Wharton Business School. “Mergers of health and social services are happening in high numbers across North America,” she says.

What is the secret to McVey’s leadership approach? A belief in the importance of partnership.

McVey, who very much enjoys working with students and recent graduates, recently co-authored an article with a then PhD student from the ISoN about the importance of nurse managers intentionally partnering with physician managers to co-lead. “There is a classic study that shows when you teach nurses and physicians together and provide a health care hospital environment where they work more closely together, you can reduce mortality rates by as much as 40% and complication rates by as much as 58%. And so, teamwork—between our doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists—is essential. The population deserves that these risks be addressed.”

It also means a lot to McVey to be working within the McGill network of health and social services. “It is of great pride to me,” she says.

Throughout her career, McVey has made a large effort to give back to the ISoN and to help, mentor and guide students where she can. “We need to work on the bridge between graduation and entering the workplace,” says McVey.

2017 is a big year for the ISoN, which this summer moved to a new, state-of-the art facility at 680 Sherbrooke St. West, where students can enjoy such benefits as an on-site simulation centre. “All learning that happens in simulated environments reduces risk and improves quality of care. It was forward-thinking and the right priority,” says McVey.

About the award that she will receive over Homecoming Weekend (Oct. 12–14), McVey says, “I feel so honoured. I am proud to have contributed as a nurse in my current role and to be able to make a public commitment to society to work on preserving our very highly valued and coveted public health care system.”

McVey is also happy about the award, because it may raise the profile of health care administration as a career option for students.

At the IUHSSC, McVey has to be sensitive to both the demands of young nurses at the beginning of their careers and the realities of the health care system. In the end, she explains, it pays to pay attention to nurses: “Nurses are 80,000 strong in Quebec and they are the profession in the largest numbers in the health and social services system.”

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One Response to “Nursing CEO merges strengths
  1. Elaine Lafave Walsh BScN'71 says:

    So proud to be a McGill nurse!
    Back in 1970, our 4th year class took one course with1st year medical students. I believe this was a first attempt by the Faculty of Medicine at promoting collegial working relationships between the two health professions.
    Congratulations Lynne.