Gary Cripps, RN, BSN, PHN

Gary teachingJune 2016

Leading with positivity

It seems as though Gary Cripps was destined to become our Director of QA and Education. He’s pretty happy about this – and so are his co-workers.

“Not many people are in jobs that they absolutely love and that allow them to do the things they are passionate about,” Gary says. “I’m a very blessed man.”

As a professional educator with years of experience as a nurse, he’s now a teacher to the nurses. Gary coordinates training for our clinical staff while also ensuring our agency’s compliance with various policies and procedures. Indeed, the role seems to fit Gary perfectly – just like the Hawaiian shirts he’s known for wearing in the office.

Gary says his childhood dream was to become a nurse. But life had other plans for him, and with a degree in business, he had a long and successful career in corporate training. In his 40s, he realized that he could revisit his childhood dream.

He and his wife Terri moved to California so Gary could go back to school. Six years later, he graduated with RN, BSN, and PHN degrees. He took to hospice nursing immediately. “It’s such a privilege to be invited into someone’s life at such an intimate and spiritual time,” he says.

After working at another agency as a hospice nurse and manager, Gary was drawn to Mission Hospice because of our organization’s personal approach to both patients and families. “Our staff knows that we care about each other as much as we care about our patients,” he says. “That’s why people come here, and that’s why people stay here.”

While his job has a lot to do with compliance with legal requirements and documentation, his approach is – as he says – “laid back” and ever-cheerful. If you hear his southern drawl in the hallway of our offices, you’re pretty likely to hear it followed by his joyful laugh.

Gary recently led the staff through a conversion to a new electronic health record (EHR) system. This is a massive undertaking, requiring extensive training across all of our clinical disciplines, tracking patient data across old and new systems simultaneously, and answering countless questions from staff – all while ensuring compliance with best practices and regulations.

This is the kind of task that could make ordinary people grumpy, but Gary’s positive attitude prevented that. “I know how important it is for people to have a good experience when they’re learning something, or they’re not going to learn it.”

Using the new EHR system on iPads, our care teams now have the ability to see patient records in real time – something that has been shown to dramatically increase charting accuracy and, as a result, quality of patient care.

Gary is proud that Mission Hospice has been repeatedly certified by the Joint Commission, something that means our procedures exceed those required by Medicare.

“It’s just an amazing feeling to be able to ease someone’s suffering and help them have a peaceful ending,” says Gary. “It encompasses everything that God wants us to be, including unconditional love. Love covers everything.”