In honor of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing our very own Chief Nursing Executive, Candice Parras. Candice has played an integral role as a leader at Tri-City Medical Center. Her 51 years of nursing experience has been imperative to the success of our nursing staff. She has been a key leader through the pandemic and inspires us all with her resiliency in the face of adversity and passion for the profession of nursing. Here is her story…
How did you know you wanted to be a nurse?
I knew I would be a nurse when I was a little girl. I used to play nurse with my dad when I was maybe 5. He was the patient and I was the nurse. He always encouraged me and told me, “this (being a nurse) is what you should do.” I also grew up with a sister with disabilities and being her caregiver grew my passion even more for nursing. In June, I will have been a registered nurse for 51 years and will always have a strong commitment to this profession.
Was it always your plan to become a leader?
No, it wasn’t. I fell into leadership early on in my career. In my earliest days of nursing, I was asked to be a P.M. charge nurse, which started my leadership journey.
What qualities do you admire most from other leaders you work alongside?
I admire their commitment to their field, drive and inspirational stories. Many leaders I have worked with have told me some very inspirational life stories.
How have you built confidence?
I have built confidence from the support of people around me. They have taught me to stay fair, think about every decision I make and listen.
Have you encountered any barriers to your success as a female leader?
Quite a few years ago, I applied for a manager position and my boss at the time said, “I would only put a male in that position because they are so much stronger.” His words hurt me, but I took it as a challenge instead of letting him defeat me. I continued to pursue my dreams and didn’t let him stand in the way.
What was the most significant risk you’ve taken?
The most significant risk I took in my career was starting up my consulting firm called Healthcare Innovations. It was a great experience. I met so many people, learned a lot, and made a difference in healthcare around the country but also missed bedside nursing and being with a hospital. I missed a team environment.
What advice do you have for other women who would like to be leaders?
Stick with it. It’s sometimes challenging but continue to pursue your dreams. Always be the best you can be despite adversaries, stay strong but connected to people around you and do the absolute best you can do.
How do you set the tone for Tri-City Medical Center in your current role?
I lead with my commitment to nursing and always aim to put a positive spin on things. One of my mottos is “This too shall pass.” The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most challenging but inspirational moments. Our nurses gave our patients the best care ever, and we continue to provide the best care.
Why do you like being the Chief Nursing Officer at Tri-City Medical Center?
I retired from Tri-City Medical Center’s Emergency Department on a Friday and was back as the Chief Nursing Executive on Monday. I believe in Tri-City because we do a fantastic job caring for our patients. In addition to excellent patient care, Tri-City feels like home. From the first day of working here, people were always friendly and welcoming. Even today, when I walk down the halls, people will come and say hi, not because of my title, but because we all know each other and have built great relationships.
I have also been able to make my position my own. Tri-City respects my years of nursing and allows me to make critical decisions to continue our successful inpatient care.
What was one of your most inspirational moments in nursing?
The most inspirational thing I ever remember was caring for an elderly lady. When I went to start her IV, she had an Auschwitz tattoo. She began to tell me her story about being 17 and getting off the train in Auschwitz. I was in tears when she was finished, and she told me, “I don’t want you to feel bad; I just don’t want you ever to forget.” I will never forget that moment.
About Candice Parras
Candice Parras was appointed as Chief Nursing Executive for Tri-City Medical Center in June 2020. In this executive role, Candice is responsible for leading all patient care services, as well as supporting clinical and safety outcomes throughout the medical center. Candice has more than 40 years of progressive experience in nursing and nursing leadership with expertise in emergency medicine, emergency department management and oversight of acute psychiatric emergency care.
Candice has had an expansive career in nursing with experience working in intensive care, medical/surgical, home health and oncology, among other areas. She previously served as Interim Chief Nursing Officer at a regional medical center in northern California and owned her own consulting firm.
Candice is a Registered Nurse and completed her undergraduate studies at St. Mary’s College, in Moraga, Calif., earning a bachelor’s degree in health administration.