The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson

Q&A: PRMC interim chief talks work and roles


Last updated 7/28/2020 at 3:56pm

CLOVIS - Plains Regional Medical Center moved its chief nursing executive up a rung Monday, placing Jorge Cruz as its interim hospital chief executive.

Cruz, who has been with PRMC since December 2002, replaces Drew Dostal. Dostal left PRMC after eight months to pursue a job in Michigan.

Cruz has been the chief nursing executive for three years, and served in many other roles since he and his wife Laci first arrived as traveling nurses and decided to stay following a 13-week assignment at PRMC. His son, Jordon, also is a nurse in the Emergency Department at PRMC.

Here are parts of a Q&A conducted with The News on Monday:

Q: What is a chief nurse executive and what does it do? Does it give you any background to be interim administrator?

Cruz: In the past, it was more commonly known as director of nursing. It's the same responsibilities. All nursing and ancillary departments (respiratory, pharmacy, radiology, etc.) report to me, anything that has to deal with patient care. You work very closely with the administrator, so you know things from the administrator's standpoint, whether it's dealing with physicians or the vision of the hospital.

Q: How did you first get into medicine?

Cruz: My dad got me into medicine. He was a recruiter in the military, and he recruited me into the military. He chose nursing for me. I was really at a point I didn't know what direction I wanted to go. I never could have imagined it would lead me to where I'm at today. Best decision I ever made. I trusted my dad to lead me in the right direction, and he did. I served four years in the Army, mostly for schooling, and did some reserve duty.

Q: So what is a traveling nursing program, for those unfamiliar?

Cruz: You go and fill in gaps in a schedule for organizations that are having trouble with staffing. It could be for a number of reasons. It's an opportunity for you to travel, as it was for my wife and I. You essentially fill in for nine to 13 weeks until they can fill it, and then you go to your next assignment. I did it for about a year before getting here. I've been in Alamogordo and Hobbs, and then PRMC.

Q: Was there a particular event that made you decide to stay?

Cruz: My wife and I really loved the people. It was really easy to come to work, and at the time we didn't have any kids. We were ready to settle down, and it just made sense. Everyone in the community was so nice. It seemed like a nice play to lay roots and raise a family.

Q: Being a traveling anything sounds fun at first, but I imagine it can get old pretty quickly. Is that the case with traveling nursing?

Cruz: It's not for everyone. You almost have to hit the ground running. Compared to being an employed staff member where you are put through an orientation process, it's a little different for agency staff.

Q: How long do you anticipate being in the interim position?

Cruz: There was no discussion about how long I was going to fill this role. Essentially, I'm ready to fill the role for as long as they need me, whenever they fill that role in the expected manner.

Q: Do you plan to apply for the position on a permanent basis?

Cruz: I'll never say never, but it's not anything that has been discussed recently. The only thing we've discussed is an interim role.

- Compiled by Editor Kevin Wilson


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