'The mom away from mom': Watkins is the business woman of the year
Ask almost anyone around Castleview Hospital in Price who they would go to for advice or a solution to a problem and they will say two words.
Watkins who has worked at the hospital for 28 years is a stalwart for everyone who works or visits there.
She epitomizes the boss/friend/advisor/confident role that many people would like to play, but never do.
"Terry is not only the CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) of the hospital but the mom away from mom that we turn too," stated Christine Hammer who works at the facility. "Any problem, personal or professional, she is the 'woman.'"
And for this year she is not only the 'woman' for those at Castleview, but also the Sun Advocate's business woman of they year.
A native of Carbon County (born and raised in East Carbon) and one who attended public school here (a graduate of East Carbon High), Watkins demonstrates daily the care and compassion it takes to be a nurse.
But as anyone knows, being a nurse is more than just caring. In fact an old adage in the nursing profession says that if all it took to be a nurse was to care, anyone could be one.
But just anyone can't be one. It takes high levels of education, a willingness to get your hands dirty and facing what are sometimes awful, grueling hours day after day.
Some of that is past for Watkins now since she was promoted to the director of nursing at the hospital five years ago, but now the problems are different.
However the rewards are are similar.
"It's always been about seeing people get better from illnesses or injuries they have had," said Watkins. "We work hard to keep patients safe and healthy. There have been patients who think things haven't gone so well when they are here, but for every one of them, we have 99 people that are happy with what transpired in our hospital."
Watkins has had the experience to direct others with great skill and understands their problems. After graduating from Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) with an associate degree in nursing she worked for seven years at Utah Valley Regional Hospital. Then came the chance to return to Carbon County and to work at the new Castleview Hospital in 1980.
During her years at the hospital she has managed just about every department including the ER, the ICU, the wellness program, occupational therapy and the OB. During that time she also was able to get a bachelors degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix and then a masters from the same school in nursing education and administration.
All this experience and a way with people has led to great leadership according to many of her coworkers at Castleview.
"She leads others with compassion and inspiration," said Laura Wissmar, respiratory manager at the hospital. "She exemplifies our motto to always 'do the right thing' for our employees, physicians, volunteers and patients."
While Watkin's education and experience is important, her sense of duty, integrity and humor apparently serves her well in a business where high stress is common from day to day.
"Terri has managerial responsibility for nearly 200 employees and manages a portion of the hospital that generates millions of dollars in revenue," said Jeff Manley, CEO of the operation. "Terri's integrity, work ethic and sense of humor make her an extremely valuable member of the management team at Castleview Hosptial."
With all that responsibility, somehow she also manages to have a family life too. She has six kids, three of her own and three from her husband's first marriage. And she keeps what is important in perspective.
"One of my great successes in life was that fact that we blended our families together so well," she said. "That's a hard thing to do without a lot of bickering and fighting and we never had any of that."
That blend of children has produced seven grandkids and "one on the way," she said with a smile on her face.
Outside the workplace her interests includes sewing ("I wish I was better at it because I grew up with a mom who was a home economics teacher"), crafts and particularly reading. She says she is not a great cook, but gets by.
"I admire the fact that she knows how to maintain a balance between her career and her family life," said Denise Sanchez, the manager of the ER. "Whether you are a seasoned nurse or a new graduate from CEU, you can count on Terri for guidance and compassion."
Frustrations? As with all jobs there are some.
"I guess my biggest frustration is the way the rules of Medicare keep changing," she stated. "You just get a program started and they change the rules on it."
Watkins spends a lot of time looking at nursing procedures and comparing them with national trends to be sure the staff is up-to-date on the treatment and care of patients.
"The interaction I have with staff, nurses and doctors is very important," said Watkins. "We want this to be the best hospital it can be."
Some of her time, like all employees at Castleview, is spent deflecting criticism of the facility, and clearing up misunderstandings about the hospitals role and the quality of service it provides to the community.
But according to some, if people would just look at what she does and how she operates, that would change many of those negative thoughts about the hospital.
"Terri is the perfect example of someone who is dedicated, knowledgeble and proficient at what she does," said Elaine Bowman, marketing coordinator for the hospital. "These attributes benefit the entire community of people who use the hospital's service."