With nearly 1,300 associates across the country, we are privileged to have many clinicians in the Netsmart ranks. These experienced individuals work hand-in-hand with our technology teams to make sure we’re delivering solutions that work in real-life…not just the testing lab. These associates possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that helps keep our efforts aligned with the needs and goals of our clients.
In this series, we spotlight associates who have worked in the field with patients and organizations, and now call Netsmart home.
Mary Gannon – Chief Nursing Officer, Director, Product Management
- Tell us about yourself.
Hello – my name is Mary Gannon and I am a nurse. I grew up in a large Italian/Irish
family in a small town in Northern Illinois with a home health nurse for a mother. After graduating from Rosary High School (“Go Beads!”), I set off to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, determined to achieve my goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian. After a couple of years in the pre-vet program, I was accepted to the Veterinary Medicine school. I had some electives to take and opted for sign language, which led me on a winding path that cumulated in a change of majors to special education and doing a student assignment at the Iowa School for the Deaf (ISD) and then at the Kansas School for the Deaf where I was a dorm mother. This opened an opportunity to travel with the Gallaudet Dance Company (Gallaudet is the only university for the deaf in the United States) as one of their interpreters and first-aid person. The assignment with Gallaudet was a short-term one and after talking with my family and sharing stories, they convinced me that I was meant to be a nurse. For what is a nurse but a dorm mother, teacher, wound fixer, arranger, disciplinarian, advocate, caregiver, learner, leader? I was only 21 at the time, so I figured “why not? I’ll give it a try.”
- Give us some highlights of your career in healthcare.
I had to do some educational starting over as a lot of credits in animal science and education did not transfer to nursing humans, so while I was doing that educational catch-up I figured that I would get some medical education as well. I was accepted into nursing school and my love for nursing was born. At that point, I was working as a pharmacy technician and had begun a second job as a paramedic for the fire department when my desire to work in emergency medicine was born. I graduated with my BSN and went directly to the ED. I loved it!!!! I really loved the trauma part of the ED and went on to get my Trauma Nurse Specialist designation. I found that nursing can, and will, lead you anywhere you want to go.
- Why did you make the change from clinical work to working in healthcare technology?
While I truly loved (still love, really) emergency nursing – it is not a profession that is
without risk. I happened to be working a travel assignment in an ED in the northeast when I experienced that risk. A physically strong, highly charged patient became violent and I was in their path. When it was over I had extensive injuries to my neck and nerve damage that limited the movement of my left arm. I was in physical therapy for months waiting for the injuries to heal, but it would be years before healing would be complete. I needed to figure out my next journey and I never in a million years thought it would be healthcare technology. My aunt had heard of a company that did healthcare technology. I flew to Kansas City for an interview and was hired three weeks later as a consultant on the east coast. For nearly a decade, I’ve loved learning about the fascinating relationship between technology and clinicians, particularly nursing and care delivery.
- What makes you passionate about serving the clients/organizations who use Netsmart’s services?
What makes me passionate are the lessons that I brought with me when I came to Netsmart a few years ago. Coming to Netsmart opened my eyes to new clinical workflows, new ideas of care and the expansion of my mind to encompass the world of post-acute care. I enjoyed seeing the synergies and the differences between acute providers (hospitals and physician offices) and post-acute (behavioral health, long-term care and home health) providers, and being able to talk to nurses on each side of the healthcare landscape. The post-acute side of healthcare has long been behind the curve in terms of technology adoption and funding for care, but ahead of the curve in the passion that they bring to the populations they serve. That makes me passionate about improving their environments of care, access to information and turning digitized data into knowledge. It’s a whole new world.
- What does your perfect weekend look like?
My perfect weekend is at home with my two dogs, Tess and Henry, a lot of yard time and walking. I also love to garden and cook and can often be found at my grill – winter or summer – trying something new. On Sunday mornings, I volunteer at a local animal shelter walking dogs, cleaning dog linens, washing dishes – whatever needs to be done. Afternoons are meant for being outside, listening to the Royals broadcast and enjoying the day.