Connie Sonder, MBA, BSN, RN, Administrative Director, Patient Care Services Crozer-Chester Medical Center
Connie Sonder, MBA, RN, BSN
Connie Sonder earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from St. Paul College in Manila, Philippines. A strategic problem-solver and team-builder, she wanted to enhance her ability to recruit and retain nurses as well as heighten the professional image of nurses. With that goal in mind, she completed a master’s of business administration degree with a marketing concentration at LaSalle University in 1986.
For three decades, Sonder has served in leadership positions in clinical, administrative, and patient care services in several Philadelphia-area hospitals. She immigrated to the United States when she was recruited by Temple University Hospital at the height of the nursing shortage in the 1970s. She started her career at Temple as a staff nurse on a surgical floor and the Coronary Care Unit. She was quickly promoted to clinical director of the Coronary Care Unit, and then to acting assistant director of Critical Care.
As administrative director of Patient Care Services for Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Sonder provides leadership and direction for cost-effective delivery of quality patient care in critical care, intermediate care, perioperative units, trauma services, and respiratory care. In this role, she is responsible for implementing the hospital‘s mission, strategic plans, patient care programs, budget resources allocation, operational plans, and policies in collaboration with other leaders and staff of the hospital and health system. She also serves as liaison for the hospital’s contracted dialysis services.
Sonder chairs the system-wide Medical Products Evaluation Committee and serves as a member of the system wide Fall Committee.
A member of the American Association of Executive Nurses and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania, she has participated in fundraising for the American Red Cross and is active in lay stewardship at her church.
Sonder led the initiative, “Building the Clockwork ED,” to improve ED throughput at Crozer-Chester Medical Center by implementing proven best practices with the highest potential to impact upfront processes, ancillary turnaround, admitting process, bed management and revenue capture. This initiative consisted of 10 multidisciplinary teams launched over the span of two years. The team’s accomplishments included the implementation of pre-emptive test guidelines, a dedicated fast track, a no-delay nurse report, and a hardwire ED checkout. When the new ED opened in October 2006, the staff implemented these practices, resulting in reduction in divert hours by more than 50 percent, increased ED patient satisfaction, an average decrease of one hour in ED length of stay, and decreased patient elopement.
As part of the Crozer-Keystone Quality team, Sonder is a member of the system-wide Infection Control Committee, as well as Crozer’s Hospital Infection Control Committee and Sepsis Committee. She chairs the hospital’s Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) team to reduce catheter-acquired UTI. In addition, she is the management champion for the four units enrolled in a national initiative to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections through an Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality grant to the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Education Trust.
Responding to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s ambitious plan to improve patient safety, Sonder’s units at Crozer were instrumental in establishing a Rapid Response Team in 2006 to assist with unstable or rapidly deteriorating patients in non-critical care departments. As a result, the hospital’s actual mortality rate decreased to seven percent below predicted mortality, and the number of codes reduced dramatically as the rapid response calls doubled.
Recently, Sonder partnered with clinical directors in the intermediate care units, Clinical Engineering and Information Systems to develop an immediate alarm communication system that would enable nurses to respond to cardiac arrhythmia alarms and intervene expeditiously.