Brenda Bartholomew proud to be named Gunnison Hospital CEO

Brenda Bartholomew, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Gunnison Valley Hospital, is seen here holding her grandson Stetson Olson.

Brenda Bartholomew, who was recently named the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gunnison Valley Hospital, has major plans for the future of the hospital.

“I’m excited that the Gunnison Valley Hospital Governing Board has trust and confidence in me,” she said.

Bartholomew will be the first woman to ever hold the position.

“I’m pretty proud of that and think it’s a great honor to represent women,” she said. 

Bartholomew is not new to administration. She has served as the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) since 1997. Originally, when the hospital was much smaller, she took shifts on the floor, as well as doing administrative work. But today, she admitted, “My nursing is a little less polished. You would not want me to insert an IV in you at this point.”

Bartholomew grew up in Mona, Utah. She met her husband Jeff Bartholomew before his mission and wrote to him while she studied at Snow College.

After Jeff’s mission and the couple’s wedding in 1989, they traveled together to study at Weber State University.                 Brenda began her nursing career in Ogden, then worked at the Mayfield Manor in Mayfield, then transferred to a job in the Gunnison Valley Hospital operating room (OR).

After 24 years as CNO, Brenda felt the need to move “onward and upward.” She earned her master’s degree in healthcare organization and leadership management.

As CNO, she was at her desk full time, hiring and mentoring nurses, writing policies, developing programs, doing employee evaluations, conducting meetings and watching over the budgets.  She was responsible for the nursing, surgery, laboratory, respiratory, environmental services, and the dietary departments.

Bartholomew plans to keep Gunnison Valley Hospital on its current track, which is giving quality care in a friendly, competent way, she said.

“People are the most valuable asset in taking care of a person’s healthcare needs,” Bartholomew said. She mentioned that the hospital staff is great at taking care of each other, which leads to patients getting the best possible care. She said she sees her job as piloting a positive culture to help the hospital thrive.

“I want our culture to drive the way we do things here every day. Our values are commitment, compassion, and community.”  

As CEO, Bartholomew intends to continue to “add services so people don’t have to travel.” She is working to bring awareness and additional services to the veterans in this valley and surrounding areas, so they don’t have to drive to Salt Lake for treatment.

“I want people to choose to stay local and keep Gunnison Valley Hospital growing and strong,” she said. 

The hospital is planning to open a pain management clinic this coming spring, Bartholomew said. To prepare, Nurse Practitioner Kayla Olson, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Kyle Comin and Pharmacist Matt Harris are in pain management certification training programs.

Bartholomew is also looking into using telehealth to make additional specialty services local. Instead of driving 2 hours for a 15 minute checkup, patients will be able to visit a local practitioner and visit with the specialist virtually.

When Bartholomew takes over administrative duties for Mark Dalley, who is retiring, she will hire a CNO to replace herself, and will become responsible for working with the doctors to meet the needs of the community. 

“We have wonderful doctors who work with us and provide great care, she said.”

Bartholomew reported that Utah and the nation are facing a nursing shortage. Because of burnout surrounding COVID-19, many nurses have retired early or quit.

With the new surge in cases, Bartholomew said she heard that the Intensive Care Units are close to capacity on available beds because of lack of staffing.  The nursing staff at GVH, however, has remained stable.  

Bartholomew said she is excited to be taking over a “great organization that has great doctors, managers and staff.”