Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth O'Neill ’06

Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth O'Neill ’06

What year did you graduate from Barry University?


Which degree did you earn?

Master of Science Anesthesiology

In a nutshell, what do you do?

I was promoted to chief CRNA in 2016. I, along with three assistant chiefs, manage 165 CRNAs across eight hospitals and nine surgery centers in Central Florida. Included in our responsibilities are recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding. Once new hires start, we provide ongoing evaluations and growth opportunities, including pediatric and CV specialty tracks. We meet with physician and corporate leadership on a routine basis to discuss staffing needs, retention strategies and company goals for the future.

I manage the daily schedule and answer scheduling questions with the help of two schedulers in our office. Our CRNA leadership team updates existing policies and writes new policies as they pertain to the needs of our employees and our company.

What are you working on right now?

I am heavily involved in scheduling, both day-to-day and long term. Our company has grown tremendously over the past six years as we have attempted to keep up with the aging population and the growth of our hospital system. We staff an average of 140 anesthetizing sites on a daily basis, and it is a challenge to provide coverage for our facilities while creating a workable schedule for our employees. We are looking at best practices across our corporation as well as OR utilization data at all of our sites to create a more streamlined and predictable scheduling process; it is a huge task. I am also updating compensation policies and am collaborating with physician and CRNA leadership to write policy for the CV and Pediatric CRNA evaluation process.

Why do you love what you do?

Nursing was a career change for me. Before becoming a nurse (and then a CRNA), I worked in the business world as administrative support to marketing and sales directors. It was a lot of fun, but I always felt like something was missing. I wanted to work in a field where I could feel like I made a difference to people and that is what lead me to health care.

I have always been a thinker. I am analytical and like the challenge of being given a puzzle to solve. I also like to look at the big picture of a situation and see how to get there logically. I am empathetic and compassionate and can relate to people on their level. I do like the satisfaction of making people happy or making them feel better, because I could do something helpful, say "yes" to something they asked for or be encouraging. I think being in leadership allows me to use my life and work experiences to make just as much of a difference in the day-to-day life my colleagues as it has done for my patients over the years.

How did Barry University help you get there?

Barry University was instrumental in teaching me not only the clinical skills I needed to practice anesthesia, but the skills necessary to be successful in a leadership role. I admire the faculty and directors in my anesthesia program for their integrity, empathy and strong work ethic. They set a great example and gave me a great foundation for my career.