An inside account: Simone Parlier

An inside account: Simone Parlier

Jacksonville nurse takes director position in Springfield

 By David Blanchette

Simone Parlier said that “everyone in Jacksonville has really wanted me to succeed,” and she has parlayed that encouragement into a top health care position in Springfield.

Parlier began her new job May 1 as the executive director of women’s services and the Children’s Hospital at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. She oversees the hospital’s care and services for women and children at the facility, which is a major health care hub for the region.

“Everything I have done my whole career has been women’s health and infants and children focused,” Parlier said. “So I knew this would bring it all together and it would be a wonderful opportunity.”

Parlier’s road to success began in Jacksonville, where she graduated in 2001 from Routt Catholic High School. While working as a bank teller to help pay for college, Parlier, whose maiden name is Stahel, attended Illinois College for two and a half years, then changed majors and went to MacMurray College for a nursing degree, which she attained in 2006.

Immediately after college graduation, Parlier started working at what was then known as Passavant Area Hospital in the medical surgical department. After a year and a half, she transitioned to the obstetrics department, worked there 11 years as a staff nurse, then became department manager and nursing supervisor.

During that time, the hospital became known as Jacksonville Memorial, and in her role at the obstetrics department, Parlier became familiar with the HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital. Then, the Springfield hospital’s executive director position opened up, and Parlier decided to apply.

“I knew about the position through working with the Perinatal Network that involves hospitals in central Illinois, and I knew the previous person who had been in the role,” Parlier said. “I had worked with and respected a lot of the Children’s Hospital’s physicians and staff when Jacksonville Memorial had to transport patients there.”

Parlier went through a series of interviews for the position, including interviews with peers and physicians, and was “ecstatic” when notified by phone that she had been selected.

“For the first month or so, the role entailed just listening … what are the needs of the community, where can we go from here,” Parlier said. “I’ve met with leadership, physicians and nurses. I’ve gotten around to the floors and departments to meet the bedside nurses. That’s why I am here, we want to make life better for women and children in our community.”

Parlier continued, “Nationwide, we know that smaller hospitals are closing, specifically their obstetric services, and Illinois will not be an exception to that. So, a focus will be how we support women in rural communities, how do we ensure that they are receiving the best care we can provide.”

In fact, Parlier is working on her PhD right now in that very subject, with research on postpartum depression in rural women. She hopes to attain her doctorate from Loyola University next year.

Parlier wants to continue the hospital’s health equity initiatives to make sure that everyone receives the same level of health care. She is heading the effort to have the hospital achieve perinatal certification through the Joint Commission, one of the highest designations that a hospital can get in the perinatal world.

Parlier wants central Illinois residents to realize that the Children’s Hospital has pediatric oncology so people don’t have to go to St. Louis or Chicago to receive that service. The Springfield facility also has many other services including an emergency department, neonatal intensive care unit, a perinatal center and lactation support.

Parlier was born in Switzerland and lived there for 13 years with her Swiss father and American mother until she moved with her family to Virginia, Illinois, her mother’s hometown. Then came her education and health care career in Jacksonville.

“I definitely have a special place for Jacksonville in my heart. I feel my time there definitely helped me to grow as a person, professionally and in my education,” Parlier said. “Everyone in Jacksonville has really wanted me to succeed, people really look out for each other. I feel the same way here at HSHS St. John’s, people really want you to succeed.”

Parlier and her husband of 17 years, Chris, live in Virginia. They are the parents of three daughters: Lindy, 16; Maggie, 14; and Zoey, 10. Parlier knows what it’s like to have children, and that contributes to her desire to do the best she can in her new role.

“It’s not hard for me to get up in the morning because I know there is a mission to accomplish. There are children that need care, women who will have babies that will need extra care,” Parlier said. “I would say it’s a calling. I feel like I’m coming home. Walking in this door I sense that we have this common mission and vision of providing care to some of the most vulnerable people.”

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