Editor’s Note: We are profiling the McKnight’s 2020 Women of Distinction honorees daily through the program’s July 28 online awards ceremony. To learn more about this digital celebration, the Forum the next day (which offers three free continuing education credits July 29) and the program in general, visit mcknightswomenofdistinction.com.

Tammy Retalic headshot
Tammy Retalic

If someone could bottle whatever makes Tammy Retalic go, a few natural energy companies could find themselves expendable.

Retalic manages a staff of more than 1,200 as the top nursing executive and vice president of patient care services at Harvard Medical School affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife.

She is responsible for the oversight, operations and strategic planning of nursing, pharmacy, laboratory, social work, life enhancement, expressive therapy, professional development, volunteer and culinary services for more than 800 older adults. The residents and patients receive long-term care and therapy services over two campuses.

Originally a registered nurse specializing in cardio care, Retalic began her career with positions at a handful of respected Massachusetts hospitals. Before transitioning to HSL and long-term care, she was the director of inpatient medical surgical and outpatient pain/oncology services at Marlborough Hospital from 1999 to 2004.

Under her watch at HSL, nursing turnover has been halved, antipsychotic medication use reduced by 29% and agency usage slashed. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts Hospital Association Quality Compass Award, has been named a Senior Quality Leap Initiative top performer, and helped HSL earn the 2017 CareerSTAT Frontline Healthcare Worker Champion award.

Retalic is a prolific author, speaker and recipient of grants totaling more than $500,000, which have led to groundbreaking work on bed alarms, workforce development and quality initiatives.

Not one to rest on her laurels, she holds a master’s degree in nursing and is pursuing doctoral studies in the field.

“Tammy has incredible energy and leads by example. She is an excellent mentor who understands and supports all of our employees,” says Bozhena Kogan, the director of nursing at LTCH Roslindale, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. “Tammy is not only a true leader but also a visionary. I am learning from her every day. We all admire her work ethic.”

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors are OnShift and PharMerica, and the Signature sponsor is Acadia Pharmaceuticals.