By Alison Stanton
When Joanne Clavelle was 12 years old, she began working as a candy striper at a Vermont hospital.
It didn't take her long to realize that she had found what she was meant to do.
"I used to feed patients, change their water pitchers and make eggnog with real eggs," Clavelle says. "After a couple of years of being a candy striper, the nurses at the hospital sort of adopted me, and I moved into a volunteer aide position in the emergency department. I got to wear a white uniform with white stockings and shoes; I thought I was in heaven."
Clavelle was hired as an EKG technician at the same hospital when she was 16. She worked every weekend doing what she loved.
Her dedication to outstanding patient care caught the eye of three physicians at the hospital.
"The doctors had a scholarship program," Clavelle says. "They gave me a scholarship, which helped pay for me to go to nursing school at the University of Vermont.
Thirty-plus years later, Clavelle is still as passionate as ever about her career as a nurse and providing top-notch patient care. Five months ago, she was named senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Scottsdale Healthcare.
"I absolutely love my job here," she says. "I have the opportunity to create a nursing infrastructure that focuses on outstanding patient care and ensures that we maintain our Magnet designation."
This designation, Clavelle says, is given to the top 8 percent of hospitals in the country.
"It recognizes organizations like ours that create a supportive environment for nurses to practice and provide high-quality care," she says. "I am committed to creating a culture where nurses and other providers give the best care possible. That's what it's really all about."
When she is not working, Clavelle enjoys painting.
Watercolors are especially appealing to her, and she takes art classes whenever she can.
Clavelle also likes to spend time with her husband, their adult children and their 14-year-old dog.
Even though Clavelle has spent the past 36 years working in health care, she says things amaze her — in a good way — about her work.
"I was pleasantly surprised and proud to learn that our hospital has a forensic-nursing program, and we also have a wonderful military partnership with the United States Air Force," she says. "It's a unique model for graduate nurses in the Air Force to participate in a number of programs, including a nurse-transition program and critical-care and emergency-trauma-nursing fellowship."
Who's Who in Business 2014
Joanne Clavelle is one of 50 women in various fields profiled in "Who's Who in Business 2014," a publication of Republic Media. Find the full publication online at azcentral.com in July.