Meet Linda Burnes Bolton, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, who has forged a legacy of leadership spanning 45 years. We talked with her about her science heroines and why she loves her job.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Linda Burnes Bolton: My day begins around 5:30 am. It’s quiet. I can think, plan, and get a lot done. At 6:30 am, I meet with the medical center’s administrator on duty to receive a patient-status report and be informed of any unusual events.
The next several hours are filled with meetings across the organization. Regular meetings—including those with my team members—represent about 60% of my day.
I spend about 1-2 hours making rounds to see patients. That’s the best part.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
LBB: Engaging with patients and their loved ones. I always assure them they made the right choice in coming to Cedars-Sinai, where they will receive outstanding care.
It’s also rewarding to connect with staff who practice excellence in human caring in a variety of ways. All of the staff—including nurses, clinical partners, therapists, social workers, advance practice nurses, parking attendants, physician assistants, physicians, food service, transporters, and environmental service team members—provide excellent service to all who trust us with their lives.
Who is your science heroine and why?
LBB: My science “she-ro” is the late Marie Curie for her groundbreaking discoveries and application of science. I also have many nursing she-roes.
I’ll start with Florence Nightingale, whose book Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not called for the advancement of nursing science. Working beside her in the Crimean War was another pioneering nurse, Mary Seacole.
I also admire the late African-American nursing educator Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carnegie, author of The Path We Tread, a book chronicling the contributions of African, African-American, and Caribbean nurses.
Another force was Dr. Vernice Ferguson, longtime chief nursing officer at the Department of Veteran Affairs, who significantly increased the number of nurses earning doctorates during her tenure.
Other she-roes include Dr. Geraldine Felton and Dr. Rhetaugh Dumas, who helped form the American Academy of Nursing, the science-based nursing organization; Barbara Nichols, the first African-American to lead the American Nurses Association; and activist Margaret Sanger, who opened America’s first birth control clinic.