Mary Todd, clinical nurse coordinator of the mother and baby unit at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, has been a nurse for 25 years, a career choice she made when she was just 3 years old. "My mother was a nurse, as well – she didn’t tell me what to do, but I’m sure she had something to do with it," Todd said. "Growing up, she was the best role model I had – couldn’t ask for a better role model – I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was 3.
"My mom worked in cardiac for a while, but then went to women’s health – in fact, just before she retired, I was her charge nurse – for the last couple weeks before she retired I was her boss, so that was kind of fun."
Growing up in California, Todd earned her BSN from California State University, Fullerton. Todd started out working on a medical/surgical unit for the first 10 years of her nursing career, doing a bit of everything. But for the last 15 years, mother/baby has been her specialty.
"Mother/baby was always my love – even while in med/surg I always wanted to get into the postpartum area," Todd said.
"They kept telling me I needed experience, but I thought ‘How am I going to get experience if you’re not going to orient me?’ I finally got my foot in the door and that’s been my love ever since."
Todd moved to Colorado eight years ago from California with her family. "Growing up in California, I thought I’d never leave, but after moving to Colorado, I don’t miss it a bit," Todd said. Upon moving to Colorado, Todd worked at Littleton Hospital for seven years on the mother/baby unit. During her time at that hospital, she also taught at Arapahoe Community College, which she said she really enjoyed.
Teaching, although challenging, was a great experience, Todd said. Even though she had to give up teaching to work in her current position at Sky Ridge, Todd said she is still doing a fair amount of teaching. "It was kind of bitter/sweet stopping my teaching, because I got a lot of satisfaction out of teaching," she said. "I knew also that I would be doing a lot of teaching in my position here."
Todd said she has been really impressed with the success of Sky Ridge so far. One of the biggest surprises for Todd has been how many babies have been delivered. In the hospital’s first month of being open, more than 30 babies were delivered. "I have to say I’m really proud because we’ve had so many deliveries already," she said. "We’re really cookin’. Many people thought we wouldn’t have patients, and we’re showing them we will."
Todd, who has been a staff nurse and a head nurse in the past, said her new work as a clinical nurse coordinator at a new hospital has been a lot of work, but rewarding. "It’s been a real challenge to be part of a start up, and it’s been a wonderful experience – everybody here has been awesome."
In fact, Todd said her current job has been tough, but one of the most rewarding moments in her career. "I’ve never done a start up of a new hospital," she said. "Having to have the flexibility and working with all the different personalities of the staff has been challenging. But again, like I said, I think we have cream of the crop people with excellent skills. The people I’ve been working with are great. It’s been smooth so far.
"It’s been a real challenge and a real honor to even be in this position," she said. "I’ve never been as happy as I am now. From day one, it’s just been all positive."
Looking toward the future, Todd said she would like to further her career and get a master’s degree and maybe go into management, but said she may also stay in women’s services.
"Patient satisfaction has always been a priority for me," she said. "I love the interaction with the patients on the floor – we’re going to be the best women’s unit around, and I think we’re off to a good start.
Todd, who used to work nights, is now enjoying working days.
"I loved working nights, but now everything seems to be more in balance," she said. When she is not at work, Todd said she enjoys spending time with her husband and their children. "We really like to go out on our boat when we get the chance." She and her family also enjoy skiing and football.