VU Alumni Brenda Reetz: Blazing Her Trail To The Top As Hospital CEO - External Relations
VU Alumni Brenda Reetz: Blazing Her Trail To The Top As Hospital CEO
January 11, 2022
By University Relations Student Journalist Josie Kidder
Brenda Reetz comes from a long generation of Vincennes University graduates.
"My whole family is VU alumni. My sister is a teacher, my dad’s a farmer, and my mom since passed away, but she was a nurse. I chose to go into nursing because my mom was a nurse, and she really encouraged me to go into nursing because she said no matter what you wanted to do in life, nursing would make you better at what you do.”
Following in her mother's footsteps, Reetz navigated her way to becoming a nurse and is now at the apex of her career as the Chief Executive Officer of Greene County General Hospital in Linton, Indiana.
Reetz, a Sandborn, Indiana native, received an associate’s degree in nursing from VU in 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree from Chamberlain School of Nursing and a Master's of Business Administration from Washington State University.
"I moved back here and took the position of chief operating officer, and became the chief executive officer a year later," she said. "I never imagined myself in a CEO position, so this isn't where I thought I would end up. My husband saw that I was capable of it and pushed me to go after this, so I did."
Before she became a CEO at Greene County General Hospital, Reetz started her nursing career by exploring the country as a traveling nurse.
“One thing that attracted me to nursing was my ability to work as a traveling nurse. Having lived in rural Indiana my entire life, I wanted the opportunity to explore the country and learn about different cultures. Travel nursing enabled me to do just that by working 13-week assignments in various cities around the country.”
For Reetz, traveling has benefited her in many ways. Besides creating new experiences and helping those in need, her travels as a nurse led her to find her forever family.
"When I was a traveling nurse, I fell in love with the Northwest Coast, settled down in Portland, Oregon, and met my husband. After having our son, we decided we wanted to be back home in Greene County, Indiana. We moved our family back home and now we live on the family farm close to a lot of my family. My son is a student at White River Valley. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to live in a small rural community. It is a great place to raise a family.”
Never imagining herself in this position, Reetz is now fulfilling her job as a CEO by overseeing and taking full accountability for the hospital. She and her team are working together to help the hospital grow and give a bright light to those who have dimming hope.
"I have a wonderful group of people here that I always say is my dream team. I don’t think I could find a better leadership group than what we have here, and so I get to lean on them for a lot of the help in the work that we do and the decisions that we make. I also love having the ability to impact lives, whether it’s the lives of our employees or the lives of our patients, and being able to see the great changes we make to help people.”
Her exceptional leadership has not gone unnoticed. In 2019, she received the Indiana Rural Health Association’s Leadership Award. In 2020, she received the American Hospital Association’s Grassroots Champion Award for exceptional leadership.
Looking forward to the future, Reetz hopes to assist others in the way she was by helping people find their potential to do great things and help them achieve their goals.
"I have been blessed to encounter many people in my life that have helped and supported me to grow and develop. I want to pass this on and help others in the same way. I enjoy seeing people and organizations find success. It is one of the most rewarding things about both healthcare and leadership,” Reetz said.
"I think I’ve now reached that point in my career where I’ve gotten to where I wanted to go, and now enjoy finding interesting ways to help others and get them to where they want to go. I enjoy being on the South Central Region 8 Workforce Board because it has given me the ability to influence programs that help people tap into their potential and get them what they need to be successful contributing members of society. I’m also on the Regional Opportunity Initiative (ROI) board, and I like being able to work with ROI to promote this area and grow individuals and industry in the area.”
Besides being in a family with VU alumni, Reetz's decision to go to VU was based on VU’s small class sizes, cost-effective tuition, and admirable staff and faculty.
"I had an instructor at VU. Her name was Mrs. Hudgins, who has since passed. She was one of those teachers that were very down-to-earth, very realistic, and didn’t paint the world as being perfect, but she did paint a very realistic picture of what it was like in the nursing field beyond the classroom. I think that was very influential as I was graduating, taking the lesson that she gave us that a nurse is a person and how we contribute to the bigger picture."
Reetz appreciates VU for preparing and guiding her on her career path and dispensing the crucial resources needed to help her succeed.
"One of the things that I liked about VU when I was going there was being able to transfer from a small high school, White River Valley, to a small college. Knowing people I knew from my hometown went there made a big difference and was very helpful to me. The degree that I got from VU carried me a long way in my career. It allowed me to start my nursing career and helped me transfer to schools where I could get my bachelor and master degrees and put me in a fortunate position where I don’t have any student loans because I went to a very cost-effective college and got a degree that allowed me to work and help pay for my other degrees. I’m so grateful that my parents encouraged me to go to VU because it positioned me very well for my future,” Reetz said.
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