Nature’s season of change will serve as the backdrop for change in nursing leadership at Northern Inyo Healthcare District. As veteran nursing leader Tracy Aspel prepares for her October retirement, the District named Allison Partridge as its new Chief Nursing Officer, effective mid-September.
When asked what she hopes to bring to the District, Partridge’s list of aspirations is clear. “I really hope to continue the work that Tracy, and those before her, started. I’m really striving for continuous process improvement, continuous excellence in care, and striving to ensure that we’re meeting the needs of the community.”
That last point – meeting the community’s needs – impacted the new CNO as she said the words. “Meeting those needs is huge,” she said. “We’re rural, we’re far away from any major healthcare facility. We have to work with our community partners to make sure we’re doing the best we can for those who count on us every day. It’s that simple.”
NIHD’s Interim Chief Executive Officer Kelli Davis said Partridge has proven herself to be an inclusive leader who takes into consideration differing viewpoints. “I find her to be a very positive and authentic person who stands by doing what’s best for the whole, whether that’s a single nursing department or the entire District. Allison works hard to help others achieve their goals and meet their aspirations in growth and development. I look forward to seeing what she brings to the District in the next year.”
Partridge currently serves as NIHD’s Director of Nursing for Emergency and Inpatient Services. That has put the 20-plus year nursing veteran at the forefront of the District’s pandemic response, alongside Aspel, Davis, and Drs. Will Timbers and Stacey Brown.
Bolstered by a 16-member incident command and the support of District physicians and employees, Partridge and these leaders find themselves tackling both basic and complicated needs.
“As far as the District’s response to the pandemic, I think we are spot on,” she said. “We’ve got a very structured, organized format that we’re following in addressing this. We assure we stay up-to-date and apprised of the most current information from both Centers for Disease Control and California Department of Public Health. We’re using that information to help drive the decisions we make. It’s been a lot of work and is continuously changing, but we’ve adapted, and we’ve stayed focused.”
Before joining NIHD almost three years ago, Partridge spent most of her career at San Pedro’s Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center. She credits Providence’s in-house leadership development program with preparing her to serve as NIHD’s Chief Nursing Officer.
Partridge holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nursing. She has extensive training in lean leadership, six sigma, and mission-focused leadership. Of all of her education, Partridge is most proud of her Master’s degree with an emphasis on leadership, and not for a reason most expected. She earned her Master’s as a working adult and mother. “I have a deep respect for anyone trying to juggle all that. It was not easy,” she said.
As for her years with NIHD, Partridge values the time she spent getting to know the District, the communities it serves, and the nursing teams she works with. “I look at our teams, and I see so much potential and such great opportunity, and that’s really exciting,” she said. “Throughout the District, you see this really heightened desire to achieve excellence, and together, I know we can do it.”
Partridge also understands the love the community has for its nurses. “We are a small community, and for the nurses, that brings this deep desire to really provide excellence in care,” she said. “I genuinely think that’s because here, as a nurse, you often know the person you are caring for, or someone who loves them, and people respond to that.”
Partridge and her husband, Jayson, have been married for 18 years. They have two children, Drew, age 17, and Natalie, 15. The family relocated to the Sierra to enjoy all the outdoor adventures and seasons it has to offer.