TAMPA — Passionate, motivational, innovative, a team builder, a true professional — these are just a few of the terms former colleagues at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Melbourne use to describe Jeannette Skinner, its former CEO.
Those attributes, coupled with an impressive resume, are likely what earned her the new position of administrator of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa.
It also is what prompted her to move from the east- to the west-central section of the state with her husband, Max, and their two sons.
Skinner has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s in business administration. She is board certified in health care management by the American College of Healthcare Executives in which she is a fellow and acted for a year as president of the South Texas Chapter.
The hospital’s new leader has accumulated 18 years of progressive hospital and health care system executive-level experience in which she has held roles from chief nursing officer to chief operations officer and chief executive officer.
Skinner is a member of the Children’s Hospital Association and the Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals.
“I’ve always found the greatest amount of joy in working with kids,” she said. “They are the most resilient population and are so grateful for what we do for them. There is nothing better than seeing them smile.”
She came on board March 24 at a hospital that specializes in orthopedic pediatric care for children from birth to age 18. Nestled on the University of South Florida campus, it employs 175 people and served about 12,000 patients last year.
“She hit the ground running,” said Alicia Argiz-Lyons, the director of development and marketing. “She’s a woman of action.”
Skinner said one of her first objectives was to meet with her team of department heads and ask them to prioritize their needs in an effort to take the institution to the next level. As a result, she’s added more staff.
In addition, she made it a point to network with area business leaders and educators.
She hopes to improve public awareness of the hospital and its diversity of services, which include, among others, inpatient and outpatient treatments for spinal deformities, neuromuscular disorders and sports injuries as well as foot and hand deformities/injuries.
Skinner also wants it known that the hospital serves youngsters throughout Florida and South Georgia, and while it accepts most insurance plans, no child is turned away because of a parent or guardian’s inability to pay.
Tampa’s Shriners hospital, she also noted, has a 24/7 nurses’ referral phone line and a direct line for parents wishing to inquire about its services. It is (813) 866-7740.
Another driving factor that led Skinner to apply for the position is the hospital’s affiliation with USF.
“The proximity of the university is great, and it’s wonderful to have involvement with the next generation of clinicians,” she said.
“You can tell there is just a new energy that has evolved,” said Jamie Santillo, the hospital’s public relations specialist.