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Susan Hernandez, D.N.P., M.B.A., RN

  • Associate Vice President and Health System Chief Nurse Executive, Nursing
  • University Hospital
  • DFW Great 100 Nurse
"Lead with courage. If I don’t, who will?"

Contributions to STEMM

Dr. Hernandez is a member of the UT Southwestern Health System Leadership Team. She is “responsible for the clinical practice of nurses in the health system,” she said. As a department, “we set the goals and strategy for nursing, support the growth and development of nurses, patient care techs, emergency room techs, mental health techs, therapists, unit clerks, and clinical leaders working in the health system,” she said. Most importantly, “we ensure that we continue to practice at the level of excellence of a Magnet Designated Health System.”

Advice for the Next Generation

Dr. Hernandez persevered to reach her current role, acquiring her position “through hard work and expressing my desire to do more,” she said. She recalled how “it was tough for me to speak up and push myself,” something she advises the next generation of women in STEMM to do often.

“I encourage young girls and women to push themselves out of their comfort zone. It is much easier to sit still and do the things you are totally confident doing, but not nearly as rewarding as pushing yourself to new heights.”

Early Influences

“When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher because of the way teachers treated me in school. Because of their influences, I became a teacher in college,” Dr. Hernandez said. “I later realized I had a passion for caring for people and returned to school to be a nurse. Early in my nursing career, I appreciated how certain leaders supported me to be my best as a nurse. I wanted to be like them and help not only patients but also other nurses.”

The UT Southwestern Difference

Dr. Hernandez cherishes her position as she appreciates “the opportunity to support the team caring for patients,” she said.

“I am also passionate about developing future nurse leaders and UT Southwestern provides the opportunity to do so. Our commitment to excellence as a team is very motivating to me as a leader.” She sees her involvement with the Celebrating Breakthroughs Together Project as an honor. “There are so many amazing women on our campus! It is a privilege to stand with each of them.”

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