Amber Price, DNP, CNM, RN
Chief Operating Officer
The Children's Hospital at TriStar Centennial & TriStar Centennial Women's Hospital
Fluent in four languages, perhaps Amber Price's most important communication skill is her desire to listen.
"My most important mentors have been the women I have cared for at the bedside. When we listen to our patients, we learn what we need to do to serve their needs best, and we find a sense of purpose," she said. "Mothers are the best advocates for their children," Price continued. "If you can listen, pause and change direction as a provider, that serves you well in a leadership role."
Born in Holland with time split between The Netherlands and the United States, Price began her healthcare career as a medical assistant at the age of 18. She later earned a degree in behavioral science from the University of Maryland, followed by her nursing degree from Old Dominion University in Virginia and master's in her field from the University of Cincinnati.
In 2016, Price completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice, Executive from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on change leadership. "My love for hospital leadership came from a passion for building infrastructures that improve outcomes and experiences for vulnerable families," Price explained.
With the exception of a short detour into cardiology, Price has spent her entire career in maternal and pediatric care. "Women and children need individualized care, every time," she noted, adding the two specialties afford different opportunities that require different solutions.
Focused on creating systems that serve all patients, particularly marginalized and underserved populations, Price said it's critical to make decisions that keep you accountable. While always being mindful to stay within safety parameters, she noted true change requires new ways of thinking about old problems. "I want people to try new things ... even if they don't work out. That's how we're going to transform healthcare," she said. "Only when people are unafraid to make mistakes do they become brave enough to speak up and share their ideas."
For a change agent, the gulf between emerging evidence and a highly regulated industry that isn't very nimble can be frustrating. "One way I overcome that lag is to work with what we already have available today," she said. "It takes a team with a strong voice and a passion for their patients to move with agility," Price continued. "I am very fortunate to have nurses and physicians on my team who love to help me solve these problems ... tomorrow's solutions with today's resources." She added administrators must also listen to people on the front lines no matter what the position. "They will bring you the solution to every problem if you empower and thank them," Price noted.
She said there are few things more satisfying than building infrastructures that cast a broad and inclusive net and then seeing the positive impact those initiatives have on real people's lives. "I teach and lecture on change leadership, sharing knowledge that improves maternal and child health on a larger scale. I know that I have a direct impact on someone's birth experience or pediatric emergency, and there is no greater job satisfaction than that," she said.
An area where Price hopes to see significant change is in the maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the United States. "With a laser focus on our care and the courage to change it, we can prevent this devastating loss to American families. I plan to roll up my sleeves and be a part of the solution," Price said unequivocally. Lessons learned early in her career while delivering care and ensuring access in rural settings has helped Price inform practice in Nashville's urban setting. "We've been able to translate that here where we have a zero percent maternal mortality rate at Centennial."
When not working, Price looks forward to spending time with her husband Joe and daughters Saskia and Sky whenever they can all gather in one space. Joe, who retired from the Air Force, works as a government civilian at the Pentagon, while one daughter lives in Virginia and the other finishes college. "We're a military family, so we're used to deployments," she said with a smile.
In Nashville, Price enjoys the vibrancy of living downtown but makes sure to carve out plenty of time outdoors. "I am an avid hiker with a love of waterfalls," she said of hours spent exploring remote areas of Tennessee. Home base for the family, though, is Virginia's Chesapeake Bay where Price grows oysters. "Metaphorically, oysters are the best purifiers and have the ability to transform their environment," she explained.
It seems like the perfect pastime for someone who has spent her entire career as a change agent.