Claremonter sees good changes for women in nursing

Claremont resident Gudrun Moll, who has been San Antonio Regional Hospital’s chief nursing officer since 2015, has adapted well to her new home.

Ms. Moll, 56, and her husband, Heinz, live in the Village. The tree-lined locale reminds her of their homeland.

“Most of the towns in Germany have a pedestrian zone,” Ms. Moll said. “In Claremont, we live on Twelfth Street, and we walk the town every weekend when we walk our dogs. I really enjoy it. It has a family atmosphere. It’s quiet, but it has a lot of things going on. It’s a like an oasis in Southern California.”

The Molls immigrated to the US from Grevenbroich, a small town near Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1997. They both became US citizens in 2003, and have lived and worked in New Jersey, San Diego and Oxnard since their arrival. Their daughter and granddaughter live in San Marcos, in north San Diego County.

Ms. Moll earned a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix and second master’s, in business administration, from Edinburgh Business School, the graduate school of business of Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

She came to the US in 1997 not knowing what to expect.

“And it was a dream from my perspective,” Ms. Moll recalled. “Compared to Germany, here was nursing heaven. You were so much more autonomous, and you had so many more options: you could get your doctoral degree, work in the community, and in the hospital there were so many different roles. I always liked that flexibility in nursing.”

She hadn’t planned on a career as a CNO, but after her boss at an early job left on an unexpected medical leave, she stepped up, and her path was altered. “I got into leadership nine months after graduating,” she said. “I went to my boss and said, ‘I’d love to be your leader. I have no idea what to do, but if you want me, you can have me.’”

The leap of faith paid off. She now oversees some 900 employees, a number that includes everything from nurses and respiratory therapists to social workers and staffing office coordinators at Upland’s San Antonio Regional. The facility has more than 2,300 employees overall.

She arrived just in time to see the hospital open its new, four-story Vineyard Tower.

“Our patients and staff love it,” she said. “It’s wonderful.” The addition features 92 new, state-of-the-art private rooms. “I don’t like anybody being sick, but if they’re sick, I do hope they’ll come see us.”

Perceptions have changed quite a bit in the time Ms. Moll has been working in the US, she said. “I think now there is a lot more respect for what we do,” she said. “And what I’ve seen is that people listen to the chief nursing officer now, and that may not have been there in past years.”

A chief nursing officer plays a crucial role in a hospital, Ms. Moll said. “I don’t think a lot of people know what it is that we do. There are a lot of things hospitals are measured against, from the government agencies, to patient satisfaction, and we oversee this and so many other things.”

Her job encompasses managing San Antonio’s nurses, attending all medical staff meetings and myriad other duties, both clinical and administrative. Her skills as a both an advocate and a diplomat have been honed over her 28 years as a nurse and 13 as a CNO.

“I’ve worked in several hospitals, in different states and two countries, and my experience has taught me that you not only look after your nurses, but you look after the whole house, because what’s good for the nurses is sometimes not always good for the whole house.”

—Mick Rhodes


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