Massachusetts General Hospital makes history by celebrating its first endowed chair in nursing.

Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP, chief nurse and senior vice president for Patient Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital, was honored as the inaugural incumbent of the Paul M. Erickson Endowed Chair in Nursing during a celebration on May 17, 2016, in the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation.

Dr. Slavin attributed Dr. Ives Erickson’s success to her motto: “If you keep your eye on the patient, you will always be headed in the right direction.”

Of the 86 endowments under the MGH Endowed Chair/Scholar Program, the Paul M. Erickson Endowed Chair in Nursing is the first to advance the field of nursing. The chair was made possible through lead donors Jack Connors, Ralph and Kathy Verni, Dan and Margie Sullivan, and Mark and Lisa Schwartz and contributions from more than 350 other individuals, corporations and foundations.

The celebration was bittersweet, as the chair is named for Ives Erickson’s late husband, Paul Erickson, who passed away in June 2015. Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Mass General, wore a New York Yankees cap in homage to Mr. Erickson’s cherished baseball team and remembered Mr. Erickson as a dedicated spouse and inspiring ambassador for Mass General, attending countless hospital events over the years.

Highlighting Tremendous Strides

The evening highlighted some of the tremendous strides that have been made under Dr. Ives Erickson’s leadership over the past 26 years, including Mass General being the first hospital in the state to earn Magnet Recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2003. Dr. Slavin attributed Dr. Ives Erickson’s success to her motto: “If you keep your eye on the patient, you will always be headed in the right direction.” He commented, “From day one, Jeanette has provided that strong voice for the patient.”

Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP
Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, DNP

“In a sense, it feels like he (Paul) is being reunited with Jeanette,” said David Torchiana, MD, president and chief executive officer of Partners HealthCare. “The chair will live on and serve as a lasting legacy to his memory.”

Linda Lewis, RN, former director of the Magnet Recognition Program, described how she traveled extensively as an appraiser and recognized many qualities that set Mass General apart. She said, “MGH is known for its nursing wisdom. It’s because of leaders like Jeanette who have role-modeled confidence, risk-taking and compassion.”

Excellent Care and Teamwork

Reflecting on her path to today, Dr. Ives Erickson conveyed gratitude for three facets of her life—her decision to become a nurse; moving to Boston and marrying Paul; and her encouraging and loving network of family, friends and colleagues. Collaboration—with Paul and her colleagues—has been at the core of everything she does.

“Paul cared deeply about this hospital…the mission, the work, the teamwork, the way we took care of patients as a village,” Dr. Ives Erickson said. “We did become a Magnet hospital, which is an indicator of excellent care and is also an indicator of excellent teamwork.”

“The first chair in nursing should go to the best,” Jack Connors, former Partners Board of Trustees chairman, said. “You, Jeanette, are simply the best.”

Dr. Ives Erickson is also an instructor at Harvard Medical School and professor at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. As chief nurse and senior vice president, she oversees clinical practice, research, education and community service, serving 4,300 nurses, health professionals and support staff. Additionally, she serves as the chair, Chief Nurse Council, Partners HealthCare System.

Endowed Chair Honors the Best

Dr. Ives Erickson’s work has received numerous awards, including the American Organization of Nurse Executives Prism Award, UMass Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Community Commitment and Service, and the Boston Business Journal Champion in Healthcare Award. She has published extensively in the field of nursing, and the texts she co-authored were honored with second place awards from the American Journal of Nursing’s prestigious Book of the Year awards for 2015.

“The first chair in nursing should go to the best,” Jack Connors, former Partners Board of Trustees chairman, said. “You, Jeanette, are simply the best.”

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