Meet Mary Sue Zinsmeister | Carson Tahoe Health

Carson Tahoe’s New Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President

In this Q & A, our newest leadership team member, Mary Sue, shares with us what she believes are some exciting new frontiers in the field of nursing and also what makes her so excited to step into this new leadership role.

Q: What lead you to choose a career in nursing?

A: I was the child that would bring home hurt animals and help them heal. My older sister inspired me to go into nursing. She was a nurse and first worked in a nursing home caring for our community elders. I also volunteered at the local nursing home and at assisted living facilities. I knew this was my life path early on.

Q: Following suit to the previous question, why did you choose a leadership role in nursing?

A: I tend to think that leadership found me and not the other way around. In my nursing career, I would find myself in leader roles by default because someone needed to do it. I found that I was good at taking the lead and could make a difference, so I pursued my master’s in nursing administration.

Q: Why did you choose Carson Tahoe Health?

A: This area has been my home since becoming an adult. I lived and worked in Reno, NV from 2004 until 2007, then continued to live in Reno while I worked as an internal consultant for Tenet Health. Carson Tahoe has a great reputation and once I spent time here interviewing, I knew it was a great fit for me. I like the family feel and the teamwork I see from every department.

Q: What excites you most about your new role at CTH?

A: I am excited about the possibility to build on the excellent foundation that has been set. There are always areas of opportunity to improve the work environment for employees and the care patients receive.

Q: What are some exciting new frontiers in nursing?

A: I spent a few days in North Carolina at a hospital that uses virtual nursing. It is like an e-ICU yet it is in all inpatient rooms. Patients can call on the virtual nurse to ask questions, receive education, have the virtual nurse do a visual assessment and report to the physical nurse. It was an innovative way to efficiently utilize scarce human resources. Many nurse leaders are reexamining the nursing care model as we anticipate a worsening nursing shortage. This is exciting work as well.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the nursing profession?

A: The biggest challenges are the nursing shortages, the trend of nurses gravitating to travel nursing, and stress and strain on the profession from COVID-19. The pandemic has been causing nurses to leave the profession.

Q: How can our community best support nurses during the pandemic?

A: The single best way our community can support nurses is to care for themselves, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and perform handwashing to prevent illness as our health system is overwhelmed.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

A: My husband and I love the outdoors. We can be found on Mt. Rose skiing, hiking the mountains, mountain biking, and kayaking on Lake Tahoe. It is important to have a healthy work life balance and at Carson Tahoe, it is encouraged.