It was decades between Lisa Nummi starting her career as a bedside nurse and becoming the CEO of HCA Florida Citrus Hospital last month, but she said her focus is the same: the care of patients.
Sitting at her office conference table, Nummi talked about her career, why she didn’t remain a hospital nurse, and instead climbed the corporate ladder.
“When you’re a nurse you can only take care of so many patients at a time,” she said.
And as a nurse you didn’t have much say about how resources were spent, she said.
What she wanted was more input when she thought patients would benefit from a change. To do that she had to move into administration.
Having begun as a nurse in pediatrics, pediatrics critical care and emergency medicine, she transitioned to adult emergency care and flight nursing.
By 1997 she joined the administrative ranks at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg as director of emergency services, and kept a side job as a nurse practitioner.
“I did that because I loved taking care of patients,” she said.
But administration opened doors that had been closed to her.
“I could influence the nurses working with me,” she said.
And she had say about how money was spent on the nursing floors.
She said she could ensure nurses had the equipment they needed and how patients were welcomed and assured they were in the right hospital.
It was during that time she also learned how other hospital departments played their role in the greater workings of the hospital.
She would go on to work at Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center in New York, become corporate director of emergency services at Community Health Systems, and an assistant patient care officer at University Community Hospital in Tampa.
Instead of going the chief of nursing route, Nummi said she opted to become a chief operating officer.
“That way I could influence the entire hospital,” she said.
But Nummi said that while her responsibilities and authorities changed, her focus remained the same.
“Everything we do is about the patient,” she told the Chronicle.
In 2016 she became the COO of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. She was also the COO at HCA’s Sunrise Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas, and in 2019 the COO of HCA Florida Blake Hospital in Bradenton.
She said that after being a COO overseeing the day-to-day operations of hospitals, moving to the top CEO position was a natural progression.
The new job in Citrus County allows her to influence entire health care in the community, Nummi said.
In her new job she can offer new service lines to match the needs of the community, she said.
And that’s most important in rural hospitals like HCA Florida Citrus.
“That’s where people need health care the most,” she said, adding that in “big cities there are hospitals on every corner.”
“So I think the community hospital is very important,” she said.
Also important is educating the public about available health care and the role healthy behavior has in people’s lives, Nummi said.
One of the strengths of HCA Florida Citrus Hospital is that “it has been in this community for a very long time and it’s been an important part of this community and the community has been important to the hospital.”
Since she’s arrived she said she’s seen a committed staff and a staff that understands they are caring for their neighbors and friends.
“It’s important to be needed and it’s important to deliver on those needs,” she said.
For now, her focus will be attracting quality staff to the hospital, educating the public about health care and screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies and lung cancer screenings.
Her father was a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. Her mother was a homemaker. She has two adult children.
She holds a doctorate in nursing from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio and an MBA from South University. She earned a Master of Science in nursing and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Tampa.