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Sister Mary Jean Ryan 

She started as a student nurse here...

When she entered St. Mary’s School of Nursing in the 1950s, she had career aspirations. But even Sister Mary Jean Ryan never dreamed she would go on to impact health care delivery around the world.

She completed nursing school, answered a call to become a religious sister and later earned a master’s degree in hospital and health administration. Her congregation – now known as the Franciscan Sisters of Mary – recognized her leadership abilities and selected her to become the first CEO of SSM Health Care (a network of hospitals and long-term care facilities that spans four states including Wisconsin).

During her 25 years there before retiring in 2011, her accomplishments were numerous. Her focus on quality enabled SSM Health Care to become the first healthcare organization to earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award . She also earned her a place on Modern Healthcare magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” for eight consecutive years.

She inspires thousands, through a book she co-authored and speeches world-wide. Yet, she continues to reflect humbly on her beginnings as a young student at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison.

Watch her story below. Or, click here for more about Sister Mary Jean Ryan.

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