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Meet Sheryl James, CCMH's new Surgery Director

Meet Sheryl James, CCMH's new Surgery Director

Sheryl James knows the Operating Room. The new Director of Campbell County Health (CCMH) Surgical Services has been an OR nurse for 25 years, most of it in Wyoming.

Her love of surgical nursing began in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) as a new registered nurse and she never wanted to do anything else. During her years in Cheyenne she worked as a team leader in orthopedics, a charge nurse, supervisor and manager. Cheyenne Regional gave her the opportunity for her BSN degree from Regis University, reinforcing her love of learning and overcoming new challenges.

Sheryl learned about the Studer Group while in Cheyenne too—she attended Studer leadership training and was part of Cheyenne’s Standards of Excellence Team.

Looking for a path to a new leadership opportunity, she took a position as Director Surgical Services at Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie. While working at Ivinson, Sheryl completed a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Walden University.

“Their systems are very much like the ones here,” said Sheryl. “I learned Meditech there, and they use MIDAS. A lot of what I learned can be applied here.”

Sheryl came back to Wyoming from a position in Racine, Wisc., where she managed 15 surgical suites and 150 FTEs. She started a robotics program there that included six surgeons performing 30 robotic cases a month.

“That hospital was bigger, but the work is the same,” said Sheryl.

In what seems like a surprising coincidence, Sheryl’s hospital in Racine had begun a partnership with Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Wash., the same facility CCMH visited last month to learn more about process improvement. She will be completing a certificate in LEAN leadership training from Racine, and has already decided where to place her new department’s visibility wall and production board, concepts gleaned from her LEAN training.

When asked what brought her to CCMH, Sheryl talks about the opportunity to work in a new surgical department, and the experience of managing a Cath Lab.

“I have a niece and nephew here,” said Sheryl. “They always talked about how much they loved Gillette. There’s a real sense of pride in community here.”

Sheryl’s first priority in her new position is to get to know her staff and learn their jobs. She’s also reading up on Cardiology and helping her staff learn to identify waste in their work processes.

Sheryl’s husband, Bill is a chef in Cheyenne, and they have three grown children and a two-year-old grandson. Family is very important to Sheryl, and she plans to display an extensive photo wall in her new office. Her hobbies include reading, camping and fishing—and riding her Harley.

“I don’t ever want to stop learning,” says Sheryl.