From Queen’s School of Nursing to the top job at KGH
“I used to nurse the patients,” Leslee Thompson, NSc’84, President and CEO of Kingston General Hospital, recently told a group of Queen’s students; “Now I nurse the system.” A one-time critical care nurse, Leslee is now leading a team of healthcare professionals through a time of fiscal challenge and technological change. She has studied the private sector and has learned that efficiency starts with developing people’s innate talents. Leslee calls herself “accountable for every patient who comes into the hospital,” but trusts and empowers her team to provide exceptional care. She is the first woman and first nurse ever to hold this position at KGH.
Before returning to Kingston, Leslee held leadership roles at some of the country’s largest healthcare organizations, including Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, and Toronto Western Hospital. Prior to her current position, Leslee served as Vice-President of Health System Strategies at Medtronic, a global medical technology company.
She shared her career experiences as part of the Alumni Speaker Series last term, jointly hosted by the Queen’s Student Alumni Association and the AMS. She shared ten career tips that have helped her along the way. (Read Leslee’s top ten tips).
“Remove barriers and create conditions for success,” she told the students, adding that her career hasn’t followed “the normal path.” She was bold, took risks, experienced failures and, through a combination of luck and hard work, built a career that she loves. “Don’t be afraid to take advantage of good luck,” Leslee advised the students. “Luck doesn’t matter if you aren’t prepared to take advantage of it.”