UH Leadership Spotlight: Jason M. Pirtz, MBA, MSN, RN
June 21, 2021
Currently the Chief Nursing Officer for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Jason M. Pirtz, chronicles his path to becoming a nurse executive, noting highlights of his career.
Initially I was attracted to nursing when, as a teenager, I was part of a bad patient experience in the PACU following a surgical procedure. As a result of this experience, I decided to apply to nursing school with the end goal of becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). My aunt is a CRNA and went to a diploma school in Warren Ohio. I have great respect for her and her professional presence. I also thought her schedule was appealing. Interestingly enough, you will see that my career path took a very unique turn.
In 1999, I earned my BSN from the University of Akron, followed twelve years later with an MBA from Walden University. However, my learning did not end there. In 2016, I successfully completed my certification in Just Culture. I also had the opportunity to attend CNO academy that focused studies on leadership, strategies, and relationships.
During the 21 years I have been a registered nurse I have held a variety of leadership positions. In 2005, I started my own staffing agency that grew rapidly over a 6 year span, and also assisted with the development and opening of two hospitals in the Akron/Canton region. This experience lead to a Director of Business development opportunity where I partnered with two large healthcare organizations in the Akron market in a successful joint venture.
Being part of the team is what I enjoy most about being a nurse leader. I personally don’t look at it as being male vs. female. I have always taken the approach that I want to be there to provide the best support to my peers and support extraordinary care.
In 2009, I was promoted to CEO of Select Specialty Hospital in Canton, Ohio. In this role, I developed core clinical programs and a reputation for excellence. My peers lauded my focus on patient experience; I am proud to be considered a transformational leader and an expert in operational effectiveness and employee engagement. The respect of my peers is very valuable to me and is mutual.
After serving as the Chief Nursing Officer of University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center in Chardon, Ohio beginning in 2017, last year I moved into my current role as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UHCMC). At UHCMC, I oversee a broad range of units that encompass more than a 1000 beds. These include general medical, intensive care, and surgical units and the two major hospitals: University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. My most recent work includes success around quality and patient experience.
Coming to University Hospitals was the best decision that I have made in my 22-year career. I have been with UH for nearly four years, and have been given every opportunity to grow and develop in my role. I had the opportunity to attend UH’s Leadership Institute in 2018 and found this experience to be extraordinary. In addition, I feel that working for UH gives nurses the opportunity to find their fit within the organization. There is something here for everybody. We employ over 7,000 nurses and the opportunities are great.
UH has a commitment to employees; I think the biggest differentiator is UH’s ability to connect with their employees and understand them as a person. We are not just a number and are treated with respect. UH sees the value each of its care team members brings. I also appreciate our many resources around growing the profession of nursing. Our Nurse Leader Institute supports all nurses within the organization from the bedside to the Boardroom.
Aside from this, I get to enjoy Cleveland and all it has to offer. I enjoy the diversity that Greater Cleveland has to offer. Much like UH, there is something for everyone. I have lived here my entire life and have zero desire to leave. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better place to live. It’s so interesting to me that when I was much younger I always found fun things to do. Now that I’m much older with a lovely wife and two beautiful kids it’s still a perfect fit. My favorite team in Cleveland, besides my nursing team, is the Cleveland Browns. I’ve been a fan my entire life and enjoy going to games with my 9 year old son. This is something I remember doing as a kid with my father and have many fond memories.
I personally find it rewarding to work in such a great profession and look forward to my next 21 years.