HFC alumna becomes president of Beaumont Taylor, Trenton, and Wayne
“I am honored to serve as president of these three hospital campuses,” said Donahue.
As president of the three locations, Donahue is responsible for 3,400 employees, 600 physicians, and more than 20 facilities.
“My vision is to develop relationships with our physicians, our community, and our staff, so that we’re all working toward the same common goals: Improving patient outcomes, connecting with our community, and ensuring we have improved access to care, improved health equity, and we’re lowering the cost of care for our patients. We want to get to a place where healthcare is affordable, easier to access, and available for everyone,” explained Donahue.
A proven track record
Prior to her promotion, Donahue served as the COO of the three hospitals from 2019 to 2022. Prior to that, she served as Chief Nursing Officer at Beaumont Hospital, Taylor from 2013 to 2021 and Beaumont Hospital, Wayne from 2018 to 2020.
“Kristine has a proven track record of collaborating with clinical care teams, and she has extensive experience with these three campuses. Her dedication to the Taylor, Trenton, and Wayne region shines through in every conversation I have had with her,” said Beaumont Health President Dr. Benjamin Schwartz.
Donahue has been in the health care field for more than 25 years. She began her career as a nurse. Since 2010, she has been working at Beaumont. Donahue spoke about her goals in her new role.
“We definitely have the opportunity to engage in population health and ensure we’re creating an environment where we’re identifying illness early and working more toward preventive measures and looking toward more outpatient opportunities vs. inpatient,” she said. “How do we engage with members of the community from an outpatient perspective to prevent hospitalization where possible and improve quality of life? We need to identify where we have care gaps in our communities to ensure we’re providing the right level of care at each one of our hospitals to be able to care for the patients in our communities.”
Lifelong Downriver resident
A lifelong Downriver resident, Donahue was born and raised in River Rouge. She currently lives in Allen Park with Mike, her husband of 27 years. They have two adult daughters: Jacqueline and Mackenzie.
“I care so much about this region because I was born and raised in the Downriver area. I have lived here my entire life. It’s also the place where my husband and I raised our two daughters,” she said.
Welcoming HFC instructors, great learning environment
After graduating from River Rouge High School, Donahue pursued higher education at HFC (then called Henry Ford Community College), where she earned her associate degree in nursing. She has fond memories of her time at the College.
“I got a GREAT education at HFC, no doubt about it!” said Donahue. “It’s always been a well-respected school in our community. It really set a high standard for the nursing program. For me, it was an easy decision to go to HFC to reach that goal of becoming a registered nurse. I knew I would get the best education to become an RN without having to attend a university. Another positive was the smaller class sizes. That allowed me the opportunity to develop relationships with classmates and instructors to enhance my experience and educational goals.”
Donahue remembers how welcoming the instructors were.
“The instructors were very available if we had any questions before or after class. Their office hours were really conducive to being able to visit them. If we were struggling or needed additional assistance, they were always available,” she said. “It’s a very beautiful campus. I remember being able to sit by the pond and study or using the library. I remember those experiences very vividly. They provided opportunities to let students either come together in groups or to study alone. That really enhances your experience as a student.”
HFC provided foundation for success
After graduating from HFC, Donahue transferred to Oakland University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing. She later earned her master’s degree in health care administration from Central Michigan University. Additionally, she is a graduate of the CNO Academy and a Six Sigma Green Belt.
Donahue has served on the Community Advisory Board for Taylor, Trenton, and Wayne and the Community Development Board since 2018. She is also the recipient of Oakland’s Nightingale Award.
She repeatedly directs credit to her foundation at HFC. For her, HFC provided the foundation for her to be successful.
“Obtaining a nursing degree and my advanced degrees – my bachelor’s and my master’s – coupled with the clinical education and background I was able to gain throughout my career as a nurse really prepared me to move up into hospital leadership roles,” she said. “It’s made me a better leader overall to help serve the community and help serve the staff within each one of these hospitals. I understand their struggles, I can see the big picture, and I understand the inner workings of our multi-disciplinary team to help them develop action plans and implement those plans.”
She spoke about what inspired her to go into nursing.
“Many times we go into the nursing profession to help people, but it ends up being the opposite: Our patients in some ways help us as much as we help them,” said Donahue.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a nurse. It was the stories my grandmother would tell me about her aunt that inspired me to think about nursing. I ended up moving in with my grandmother for a period of time to care for her. That solidified being a caregiver and becoming a nurse. It was really a passion of mine and something that I wanted to do.”
Empowering her team
Donahue launched her career in hospital leadership during her days at Ascension Providence Hospital – Southfield Campus.
“Our clinical nurse manager was retiring. My coworkers in this unit encouraged me to apply for this position. They saw more of my leadership skills in the beginning than I did,” explained Donahue. “I was helping to create action plans and develop solutions to some of the problems we had in the unit. I applied, I interviewed, and I ended up getting the role. From there, I continued to see opportunities as well as how I could improve bedside care, improve processes with my leadership skills, and bring passion to each of my roles.”
She continued: “Being able to bring a group together and get them to rally around ideas and action plans is exciting. Being able to give someone an idea and watch them grow that idea is another aspect of leadership that is very fulfilling. I don’t need to be involved in every nook and cranny, but just developing and empowering my team to develop action plans, implement those plans, and improve outcomes and processes is most rewarding.”
Nursing and hospital leadership provide the ideal opportunity for Donahue to impact patient outcomes and provide comfort to patients throughout the communities. For her, leadership is a way to serve as an advocate for both patients and healthcare providers alike.
“I like developing my team, empowering my team. Seeing my team make decisions, and developing strategic plans for where we have opportunities, seeing their excitement and involvement means everything to me,” she said. “I’m very much about empowering the teams that work with me. To me, it’s not about the title, it’s about the goal. Ensuring that the right people are on the team with the same goals in common. Seeing them come to me with plans and giving them the bandwidth to act them out and develop them, that’s what really drives me.”
Donahue continued: “I rarely say no to an idea. I think an idea’s worth trying, and we learn through many of our failures. When you come back and look at an action plan, determine what worked, determine what didn’t, there’s a definite learning curve for when the next thing comes. I tell my team, ‘You have an idea, you have a passion, let’s try it -- but keep in mind at the end of everything we do is a patient. Let’s make sure our ideas and action plans will deliver on our promises and ensure the safety and positive outcomes of our patients.’ I’m doing what I love to do, which is to improve patient outcomes and lead my team. It’s really humbling to me – and also an honor that it’s being recognized.”