An Exemplary of Growth 

0
1007

Rio Grande Regional Hospital (RGRH) in McAllen, Texas, is one of the region’s most prominent hospitals. Along with its sister hospital, Valley Regional Medical Center (VRMC) in Brownsville, they provide advanced quality medical care in the Rio Grande Valley. Both facilities are HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospitals. HCA Healthcare is the leading healthcare system in the United States, providing extensive expertise, tools, and resources, highly driven by its mission to improve human life.

Leading RGRH is chief executive officer Laura Disque, appointed in 2023, providing the hospital with exceptional guidance and experience.

“As CEO, I am committed to ensuring quality care and a positive experience for our patients, their families, physicians and employees. Additionally, I focus on health care growth and expansion. What more can we do? What does our community need?” said Disque.

Before becoming CEO, Disque played various roles within the medical field, such as nursing and other leadership positions. Still, her passion for caring and inspiration to be a healthcare provider go back to her childhood.

“I have been a registered nurse for over 28 years; my neighbor, also a registered nurse, inspired me as a child. She was my best friend’s sister. She attended Pan-American University. I was in awe of her pile of anatomy books and study habits. In high school, I took a job in the medical records department of a medical office, and I was fascinated by the patients. It was an orthopedic office. I took any opportunity to be around the clinical area.”

Having chosen the medical field, she attended university, became a nurse, and commenced her practice. She also holds a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in nursing administration.

“I started undergraduate studies at Pan-American University. I transferred to Southwest Texas State University; however, they did not have a nursing program. I found a program near Seguin, Victoria College and earned my associate degree in nursing. I also worked as a nurse’s aide during college for two years. I did much commuting those two years, but it was worth the sacrifice.”

Disque worked as a bedside registered nurse for 12 years before taking on a leadership position, moving up the ranks, and eventually becoming CEO.

“I took the opportunity for a leadership position as a unit director at a local health system. I did well within that specialty and earned a promotion to vice president of nursing operations. In 2019, I returned to RGRH as the assistant chief nursing officer. After two years in clinical leadership, pandemic, and executive development training, I advanced to chief operations officer. When Cris Rivera retired last year, I was fortunate to be appointed the new chief executive officer.”

Laura’s extensive history of hands-on nursing experience and leadership gives her an informed view on which to base critical decision-making.

“My clinical experience, nursing background and having worked at the bedside for many years strengthen my role. I understand the staff’s challenges regarding workload, patient acuity, equipment, supplies and infrastructure needed because I’ve been on the front line.”

“As a leader, I’ve learned to build high-performing teams by acknowledging my strengths and opportunities and those of the team and filling gaps with complimenting talent. Creating a strong and cohesive team will bring commitment and effectiveness. That’s the secret sauce,” said Disque.

A large part of her role and goal as CEO is expanding the hospital’s reach and practices and identifying areas for improvement.

“We perform routine health care gap analysis and focus on the resulting opportunities to ensure we are filling the disparity with the appropriate health care our community needs. Neurology services continue to be an immense deficit here in South Texas. One of our focuses these last two years is bringing in a full complement of neuro hospitalists and neuro endovascular physicians to RGRH and VRMC,” said Disque.

Another of Disque’s goals as part of her vision to advance the hospital and health care in South Texas is increasing HCA Healthcare’s access points from the upper to lower valley. Currently, RGRH alone has 19 off-site access points. By adding more sites of care across the valley, RGRH and VRMC will be connected and positioned to positively impact health care, health education and economic growth.

Laura Disque states to anyone pursuing a leadership position:

“Don’t chase a title; follow your talent, put yourself out there. Acknowledge your strengths and opportunities, then build strong teams around them rather than trying to lead alone. Always recognize your colleagues for their work, have empathy, and stay humble.”

Rafael Mendoza-Farias Jr.