Meet Your Neighbor: St.Vincent’s Kimberly Nealon
Kimberly Nealon, the unassuming administrator of the new St.Vincent Medical Center Northeast at Exit 10, turns the “spirit of caring” into more than just a tagline for the hospital — this year’s title sponsor of the St.Vincent Geist Half Marathon & 5K Presented by Comcast.
For Nealon, the “spirit of caring” is the secret of her success. From RN to top exec, she’s always had her patients’ best interest at heart. Her story started over 20 years ago when she was an undecided Indiana University student.
“I was in my sophomore year, and my mom said, ‘You can’t be exploratory forever,'” Nealon remembers with a smile. “I didn’t have this calling to become a nurse at first, but it has been very fulfilling career.”
Her first position with St.Vincent was working weekends at their sister hospital, Saint John’s in Anderson. She then began working at St .Vincent Carmel Hospital in the Emergency Department where she later became the Director of Emergency, Endoscopy, and Short Stay Department.
As plans were being drafted for the Exit 10 hospital, St. Vincent executives asked Nealon to be a part of the project. From blueprint to groundbreaking, Nealon was immersed in the new hospital and eventually was asked to head up the new venture.
“I’ve felt connected to this area and this hospital since we started the project,” said Nealon, an Anderson native who lives just a few exits northeast of the hospital off of I-69 and a few blocks away from her childhood home where her parents still reside.
By day, Nealon is responsible for overseeing 70 St.Vincent doctors, nurses and support staffers. By night, she “supervises” three teenage children (Sarah, Kelly and Garrett) and husband Ryan.
You won’t find inspirational corporate posters or cheesy hotel lithographs on her office walls. Nealon opts for family photos from recent vacations or school activities instead. Her disarming persona sends a silent but strong message to her staff and patients that a caring mom, wife and nurse is at the helm.
“When I first went into management, I was afraid that it wouldn’t be as fulfilling as being at the bedside. But then I found that you have an opportunity to provide a bigger impact by making sure each one of the associates is excited and enthusiastic to provide a high level of care. I really love working here.”
After Nealon moved into her new third floor office in August of 2008, plans were drawn up for a community block party featuring free food, games and fun for area neighbors. Much to everyone’s surprise, over 3,500 people attended.
“We just love outdoor opportunities, scenarios that bring communities together. That’s why we are so excited to be supporting the Geist Half Marathon,” Nealon said.
Soliciting volunteers to work the Geist Half Marathon is an easy task at St.Vincent, according to Nealon. “As I walk through the halls, I’m often times stopped by staff saying, ‘You know I’m going to volunteer for the race; put me down on the list.’ I really don’t even have to ask.”
St.Vincent Health will be providing the race day medical staff and support for the 13.1 mile race course. Doctors, nurses and medical staff will be positioned throughout the course in the event someone has an unexpected health issue. At the center of the rest and recovery area will also be a mobile hospital manned by St.Vincent emergency room doctors and nurses.
“The spirit of caring goes into whatever we do, including the Geist Half Marathon. We’re here, we’re available, we’re close.”