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RANGELY — Nick Goshe knows it will be a challenge.
But it’s one he’s looking forward to.
Goshe is the CEO-in-training at Rangely District Hospital. He was promoted at the end of last year to chief operating officer, and it was announced he would become chief executive officer after apprenticing with Merrill Frank, who has been the interim CEO since June.
“This will be my first CEO job,” said Goshe, 34, who is from Ohio and moved with his family to Rangely a little more than a year ago. “I’m training to take over as CEO sometime this year. I’m working with Merrill to learn more about the business office. I spend quite a bit of time with him, working on the overall direction of the hospital.”
Goshe, who has a master’s degree in business administration, was originally hired in January 2008 to be the chief nursing officer at Rangely District Hospital. Before that, he was director of nursing at a long-term acute care hospital in Ohio.
“That was my first experience outside of a regular community hospital,” Goshe said. “After a year, I realized I wanted to get back to working in a small community, and I got a call from a recruiter.”
The call was about the director of nursing job at Rangely District Hospital. A year later, he was on the fast track to becoming CEO.
Goshe doesn’t know for sure when the transition to CEO will take place.
“That is still tentative,” he said. “But it will be sometime this year.”
Jason McCormick was CEO of the hospital when Goshe was hired. But McCormick and the hospital parted ways last summer. That’s when Frank, who had been CEO of the hospital before, in the 1990s, was brought back on an interim basis. His primary assignment was to find his replacement.
He found him in Goshe.
Jack Rich, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors called Goshe “a rising star.”
“It’s not often you find a skilled individual like Nick, who has been fully vetted in our system and who has the ability to jump right into this job,” Rich said. “We could not be more pleased.”
During Goshe’s relatively short time here, the hospital has experienced some upheaval, with administrators leaving and with other staff turnover.
“My first year has seen quite a bit of political turmoil,” Goshe said. “We’ve seen a great deal of turnover. I’ve been told we’ve had nine CEOs in 10 years. I hope I’m here longer than that. Does it give me pause? It did at first. I have a family. I want to feel somewhat secure. That was biggest concern. But it wasn’t enough of a concern to make me think I didn’t want to do it. I think I can do a good job.”
Goshe is philosophical about it all.
“There’s more turnover (with CEOs) than other administrative positions,” Goshe said. “What kind of security can you have in this economy anyway?”
His family enjoys living in northwest Colorado.
“Hopefully I will be here longer than the last several (CEOs), because my wife likes it here, and I like it here,” Goshe said. “Both my wife and I like living in small towns. I like working somewhere where I know everybody. We like the outdoors. Our first year here has been great. It fits our lifestyle.”
He and his wife, Starleen, have three children: Chloe, 5; Kiley, 4; and Seth, 13 months.
“The oldest is in preschool, and the middle child will start preschool next year,” Goshe said.
His wife is a stay-at-home mom now, but she used to work in the healthcare field.
“She worked in a nursing home,” Goshe said. “That’s actually where we met, in Ohio.”
When Goshe moves up to CEO, he said he won’t hire a new COO, but he has hired his replacement — Mary Reese — to take over the nursing department. She will be will be a familiar face. Reese is a former director of nursing at RDH.
“She’s not here yet, but she used to be the director of nursing,” Goshe said of Reese. “She left about nine years ago, because her husband was retiring as chief of police at the time. She’s been working in a critical care unit (in Indiana). She’s very qualified. The nurses who were here when she was spoke very highly of her. She and her husband both liked Rangely and wanted to return here. We’re hoping she starts March 1.”
In another move, Sheryl Sheley will become the assistant director of nursing, Goshe said.
“She’s been here close to 30 years,” Goshe said. “She’s just an excellent nurse and an excellent person.”
The hospital also recently added a new doctor in Brenda Hinton, who came to RDH last year.
“We brought on Dr. Hinton, so now we have Dr. Hinton and Dr. (David) Udall as two permanent docs in town,” Goshe said. “And then we have Dr. (Timothy Hsu) and Dr. (Mercedes Cameron). They fill that other role, coming to us regularly.”
Recruiting to a remote area like northwest Colorado can be a challenge, Goshe said, but it has its benefits, too.
“What I’ve found from people I’ve interviewed … if you are the type of person who wants to go to a Wal-Mart or go to the movies, you’re probably not going to like it,” he said. “But if you like a small-town feel, you’ll like it. I think Rangely appeals to a certain type of people. Sure, it’s challenging (hiring staff). Probably the biggest thing is what does their spouse do. If they don’t work in the energy field, or in healthcare, then they are like, ‘What am I going to do?’”
The economy is a concern now, too, Goshe said.
“My biggest concern is what our local economy is doing and how that will affect spouses of people who work here,” he said. “With the oil fields, I hear rumors they are cutting back. Some of the spouses (of hospital employees) are concerned about their jobs. They are wondering, ‘Are we coming into another bust?’”
Still, even with the economy and turnover the hospital has experienced, Goshe feels good about the direction of the facility and the new people coming on board.
“I do feel good about the direction we’re going,” Goshe said. “I feel we have a strong board. I feel Merrill has provided some strong leadership. I feel good about the management staff we have now. I feel good about the recent hires. I feel good about the medical staff.
“Overall, I feel good (about the hospital), and I feel like the morale has improved significantly.”