One man’s journey through three decades in healthcare

This article was created in partnership with Parkview Health.
Chad Owen has spent the majority of his 31-year career in healthcare at Parkview, with only a short stint at Whitley Memorial Hospital at the outset of his career, prior to Whitley Memorial joining Parkview. 

He’s trained as a nurse and emergency medical technician and has held numerous healthcare positions, starting as a tech/nursing assistant in 1992, before becoming a registered nurse in 1996 at Whitley Hospital. In 1997, he moved to the emergency department at Parkview Randallia.  From 2001, until 2010, Owen was a flight nurse, and then in 2010, he became the community hospital trauma program coordinator. By 2012 he was the supervisor of Flight and EMS. 

In 2013, he took on the role of Director of Communications, EMS and Fight Services at Parkview, a role he still holds today. 

Chad Owen with a Parkview EMS.
Input Fort Wayne sat down with Chad Owen to hear what led him down his personal path.

IFW: What drew you to emergency medicine? 
CO: I knew I wanted to care for patients across the spectrum – from birth to the end of life – and wanted to be at the top of my game clinically. Emergency medicine satisfied both of those desires because I never knew what was coming through the doors of the emergency department (ED).
IFW: After receiving your Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) in 1996, you swore you’d never return to school. What happened? 
CO: Around 2010, when my aunt was diagnosed with ALS (a progressive neurodegenerative disease), I chose to step away from the flight program as a clinical nurse and took a role as the community hospital trauma program coordinator. I needed to be available for my aunt’s care and appointments. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.
One day when I was at Whitley, the chief nursing officer said to me, “Huntington University is starting an RN (registered nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, and it might behoove you to look into it.”
I did, and that BSN opened doors for me because I returned to the flight program as its supervisor. About a month later, my program director received a cancer diagnosis, requiring surgery and treatment, and I assumed leadership of the program. 
A year later, she retired, and I took her position, which I never would have been able to do without my BSN. Then, being at the director level, I felt I needed to be masters-prepared and completed a Master of Business Administration degree in healthcare administration through Western Governors University. In 2014, I also earned my Certified Medical Transport Executive (CMTE) certification.

IFW: How has Parkview helped to develop your career? 
CO: Parkview has given me opportunities to build the transport program and grow professionally. In 1992 when I graduated from high school, the flight program was three years old. Parkview didn't have a mobile intensive care unit. There was no Parkview Health; it was just Parkview Hospital on Randallia Drive. The community hospitals that are now a part of Parkview Health were independent. To get the level of tertiary care Parkview now offers, people traveled to cities such as Indianapolis, Chicago, Kalamazoo or Toledo. 
Today, we have a transport program, a flight program with two aircraft, a mobile intensive care unit, an EMS system throughout Northeast Indiana, partners from the regional EMS providers, a strong relationship with the state EMS Commission and relationships with national flight programs. In 1992, that would have never been possible, and the level of care that Parkview provides in Northeast Indiana has exponentially increased.

A timeline of Chad Owen's career in healthcare.IFW: To what do you credit your career mobility? 
CO: Two things. First, to God’s timing. Throughout my career, I’ve been in the right place at the right time. Second, is a question I’ve always asked my leaders: “Where do you need me?” or “Where am I of most value to Parkview?” And that has kept me in transport.
IFW: What’s something most co-workers don’t realize about what you do?  
CO: The scope of what we do. When you think of transport for Parkview Health, that includes our communications center, wheelchair vans, 911 ambulances, transfer trucks and helicopters. We move more than 100 patients a day throughout our system. 
IFW: What do you like best about your current job?  
CO: Our team. They touch lives and people on their worst days. They are heroes.
IFW: What career advice do you have for others?   
CO: Love what you do and do what you love. I’ve been here for over 30 years, and Parkview has been supportive of me and my growth. It has allowed me to be so much more than I ever could have imagined.
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