Dana Bledsoe’s entire career has been dedicated to children’s healthcare. She’s worked with several of the top 10 children’s hospitals including serving the Children’s Hospital of Orange County as the vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. She began her work at Sacred Heart as president of Sacred Heart Children’s and Women’s Hospital last May.
“I started as a pediatric nurse,” said Bledsoe. “I was always passionate about the care of children. They are resilient, forgiving—they have a zest for life. There’s something special when your job is to play.”
Bledsoe was recruited to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital to head the partnership of SHCH and Nemours, a children’s health system that provides physicians and outpatient clinic services. The two separate entities will work together to provide seamless services.
“It will be able to bring a sub-specialty to the community,” said Bledsoe. “We provide the hospital services and families that we care for—whether they’re seen at Nemours or the hospital – will see the same doctor and likely see some of the same staff. Information about patients’ care should be consistent, which will be a great benefit.”
Bledsoe said she wants to focus on partnering with the community so that the Children’s Hospital and Nemours have a meaningful presence.
“And to design a system that allows us to meet the needs of the community in a way that makes sense to the community,” she said.
With the partnership, more jobs will need to be filled.
“We are looking to recruit for the next five years, more physicians, more jobs,” Bledsoe said.
As Bledsoe leads the growth of Children’s Services at Sacred Heart, she also hopes to maintain the hospital’s reputation.
“I was recruited here to expand our region and continue the great work that has been in place for the past 43 years,” she said.
Bledsoe points out that Pensacola has one of the approximate 200 children’s hospitals in the country. The next closest children’s hospital is in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Having a children’s hospital in this area is an amazing, precious gift,” she said. “The ability for children to receive the specialty care is a distinct advantage and with that is a great responsibility to this region.”
Bledsoe wants to teach the community about the positive effects Sacred Heart Children’s Hospitals and Nemours will have.
“One of our challenges is to really educate the community what a jewel the hospital and Nemours is,” she said.
In the 14 months that Bledsoe has lived in Pensacola she has been enjoying the scenery as well as the community.
“This city has the nicest people in the world, I can’t say enough about how warmly the community has welcomed me and my family,” she said. “And I love driving on the three mile bridge.”