Bonner General Health CEO Sheryl Rickard reflects on 37 years By Sheryl Rickard
As I sit down to write this article—my last as the Bonner General Health (BGH) CEO—I feel a surge of emotions. I am filled with appreciation for the opportunity to lead this amazing organization, pride in the growth we have accomplished working together, humility for the things that didn’t go as well as I had hoped, and gratitude for everyone who has taken this journey with me. It has been a true honor and privilege to serve Bonner General Health and the Sandpoint community.
No leader accomplishes anything alone. Hundreds of people have been involved in the accomplishments we have experienced over the last 37 years that I have been at BGH, especially the last 19 years since I took the reins as CEO.
Being a hospital CEO has been much more than a job—it has been an incredible career filled with inspirational work and people. I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s dedication to putting patients first every day. A few of the accomplishments that I am most proud of are:
• Reinstating our BGH Foundation, which has raised well over $1 million to purchase equipment and/or improve the services that we provide. This group of people is generous with their time and talents, and we are so fortunate they have a passion for BGH and the care provided in our community.
• Growing our footprint by purchasing the property on Cedar and partnering on the Health Services Building. One of the highlights of my career was to name the Sky Bridge after Jack Parker, a 59-year member of the BGH Board of Directors and great leader, supporter and friend.
• The tremendous growth that we have experienced. Currently, 90 percent of our business is outpatient, which includes lab, diagnostic imaging, same-day surgery, rehabilitation, and medical clinics.
• The relationship between hospitals and physicians/providers has changed over the years, with many physicians/providers being employees of hospitals. BGH currently has 12 employed providers (physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants). We are excited that we will be adding more in the near future.
• Having a collaborative relationship with the other North Idaho hospitals has allowed us to stay independent while working together to improve the care provided in our region. Looking to the future, I have no doubt that BGH’s best days are still to come. John Hennessy, who will become CEO, is a great leader. He is one of the hardest-working, humble people I know. He will be leading a team that is strong, dedicated and passionate. The BGH management team, providers, staff and volunteers provide high-quality, compassionate care each and every day.
In closing, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our BGH Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to be CEO of this remarkable organization and for always steering our organization toward our vision. BGH would not be where we are today without their guidance and support.
I leave BGH with fond memories and with relationships with colleagues and co-workers that will continue forever.