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The Catalyst

MUSC Hero: Nurturing leader goes extra mile

By Cindy Abole
Public Relations

There’s something to be said of a person who consistently embraces and honors others with the same level of care, respect and compassion for all living creatures.

Showing kindness to animals and an empathy for people is a connection that is especially natural for Health Information Services director Sue Pletcher, R.N.

Sue Pletcher, who retired June 12, managed MUSC’s first emergency pet care center.
Sue Pletcher, who retired June 12, managed MUSC’s first emergency pet care center.

For 18 years, Pletcher’s coworkers and employees experienced that first hand, initially as she served as a nurse manager in critical care and emergency services and later as a leader and manager in Patient Access Services, now Health Information Services.

On June 12, Pletcher retired from MUSC with more than 30-plus years in critical care nursing and health information services management. Looking ahead, she plans to devote more of her time supporting the loved ones in her life — her pets, family and people in need within her community.

A Pennsylvania native, Pletcher received her nursing degree from Harrisburg Polyclinic Hospital School of Nursing. Later she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business management and public administration from Penn State University before working as a critical care manager and medical transport services manager at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She moved to  Charleston in 1995.

In MUSC’s hospital circles, she’s known as an employee’s manager – leading by example, recognizing staff members for their talents and experiences, and encouraging her employees in various goals.

Clinical Documentation Integrity & Abstraction manager Phyllis J. “PJ” Floyd, R.N., has worked with Pletcher for the past year after relocating from Florida. Floyd came to admire her director’s leadership style, work ethic, mentorship and sense of humor.

“Leadership is definitely one of Sue’s strengths,” said Floyd. “She has the ability to see the strengths and talents in others and find a way to project those talents so that they strengthen the entire team.”

Maureen McDaniel, former Health Informational Services manager who now works part-time in the department, has worked side by side with Pletcher, witnessing and participating in much of the changes in their health information services area and subsequent transition from paper files to electronic medical records.

“Sue’s a natural leader and loves guiding staff and building teams through so much change. She genuinely cares for her staff and managers,” she said.

Lisa P. Montgomery, executive vice president for finance and operations, can’t praise Pletcher enough for her leadership and dedication. “Sue’s what I would call a ‘nurturing leader’ as she genuinely cares about her staff and goes the extra mile for them to celebrate their birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.”

To read more about MUSC's emergency pet care center, click here.

An animal lover (she owns both dogs and cats), Pletcher was the original “pet keeper” as she was known around the medical center. In 1999, she organized and established a volunteer-run emergency pet care center to support working employees with pets during severe weather.

Pletcher cares equally about the quality of care shown to patients and their families.

When Patient Financial Services manager Cheryl McWilliams joined her mother in Washington D.C. for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009, McWilliams fell while crossing the street and was severely injured. She worried that she would have to remain in Maryland for an indefinite time as part of her recovery. A friend shared McWilliams’ news with Pletcher, who coordinated her medical care and return back to Charleston.

“Sue’s advocacy on my behalf was amazing. I hope she never loses the desire to help those in need. She’s such a blessing to me and others,” said McWilliams.

Editor’s note: At MUSC, heroes abound. They exist in the form of caregivers, faculty, students and staff. MUSC Heroes is a feature that offers employees and students a chance to recognize MUSC’s everyday heroes. Send an e-mail about your MUSC hero to

June 19, 2013

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