Chad Dunavan, who has been with Medical Center Hospital for the past 16 years, has hit a home run and will be stepping into a new role as the chief nursing officer at the hospital. While Dunavan has deep roots in the hospital and oversees close to 600 nurses, his story actually begins with baseball.
Dunavan was a centerfielder in the Seattle Mariners farm system during the 90’s but was released in 1995. From there the centerfielder had to figure out a new profession, and with a bit of guidance from his family he decided on nursing.
“When I was released by the Mariners in 1995 I was thinking about what I would do for a career,” Dunavan said about life after baseball. “So my mom suggested that I enter the medical field because there would always be jobs there and I decided to go to nursing school.”
From there the former baseball player graduated from Odessa College in 1996 as a licensed vocational nurse and went to work with MCH the same year. But Dunavan knew he wanted more and so he went back to OC and became a registered nurse in 1998.
Still wanting more, Dunavan moved on through the rotation graduating and receiving his bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in 2000 and his master’s degree from Walden University in 2013.
“I knew that eventually I wanted to get into management, so I went back to school, got my degree and it has really worked out well for me,” Dunavan said.
The first management job Dunavan had experienced was supervising the nurses in the intensive care unit at Odessa Regional Hospital and said there was some transitioning within the process.
“It is really a progressive growth,” Dunavan said. “I learned the clinical pieces; time management and really just focusing on the best care possible.”
When Odessa Regional Hospital bought Alliance Hospital in 2007, Dunavan made his way back to MCH in a managerial role as the director of nurses in 2008. But he would soon climb the nursing ladder at an accelerated pace and was eventually covering four floors, and the emergency department as a divisional director.
Again there were some learning curves in the transitional period for Dunavan.
“As a director you are really focused on one unit and there is a lot of work that goes into that and when you get into the divisional level things change,” Dunavan said about his new position. “You have less people reporting to you but of course you have more responsibility on you to ensure that everything flows from the top down.”
Shortly after, the nurse of many roles would again be moving up in the medical rotation as he applied for the chief nursing officer position at MCH earlier this year.
Rene Rodriguez, who has worked with Dunavan for 10 years, said he had always known Dunavan had the leadership skills to succeed in the position.
“Having worked with Chad for 10 years, he has always had leader qualities and good advice throughout my experience. He is very straight forward type of leader and that’s what I like,” said Rodriguez “There is no question on what the expectations are.”
So because of his determination, experience and support Dunavan was named the interim Chief Nursing Officer but the interim title would later be removed and the former baseball standout had landed a solid hold on the position.
“I was excited about stepping into the role; I never thought I would be in this role at this age,” Dunavan said about his new position at MCH. “But there are always things to learn and things that are changing but this has really helped me grow.”
Rodriguez was also excited to learn that his colleague had received the job and said he knows the expectations will be set very high.
“I expect him to set high standards so we can expect the same from our nursing staffs,” said Rodriguez. “I have no doubt that he is capable of that.”
Although he has risen through the ranks, Dunvan said the bottom line remains the same and that it is all about caring for the patients.
“Nursing is a tough job. It is something where you’re out there with people who are in the hospital and don’t want to be and we have to be that support person for them,” said Dunavan. “I just like being around the people; I think we have a great working team here. We have the same goals and want the same outcomes. We want to make sure that MCH is known for providing the best care in the area and that’s what we talk about day in and day out.”
Contact Jared Wilson at 432-333-7786