Waupaca Hospital Hires New Director of Nursing

December 23, 2011

Betty Jo Balzar Joins Riverside Medical Center

Betty Jo Balzar, a registered nurse and certified professional in health care quality, has been named the director of nursing at Riverside Medical Center (RMC) in Waupaca. Balzar, who started her nursing career at ThedaCare in 1983 and left in 2006 to work as a consultant for hospitals and health systems throughout the United States, including ThedaCare, says she is excited to return “home.”

“I decided it was time to come home and stop traveling,” said Balzar, who lives in the Town of Clayton. “ThedaCare has always been home to me.”

Balzar previously served as ThedaCare’s quality director for its hospital division from 2001-2006. She also worked as a nurse at Theda Clark Medical Center’s orthopedic unit and then spent 16 years working in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. 

Craig Kantos, RMC’s chief executive officer, said he is enthused to have Balzar join the hospital’s management team and is looking forward to her leadership. “We’re excited to have Betty Jo here at Riverside Medical Center,” said Kantos. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the hospital and is passionate about patient-centered care.”

Following a lifestyle of traveling between California and New York helping hospitals implement electronic medical record systems and quality improvements, Balzar said she is excited to settle down at RMC where she hopes to “make a difference.”

“We need to keep in mind that we are uninvited guests in our patients’ lives,” she said. “We are there at these critical moments when we can make a difference in their lives, and that is what should drive our interactions with our patients.”

Balzar, who started at RMC in early December, said she was immediately impressed by the dedication and caliber of the hospital’s nursing staff. A dozen of the hospital’s registered nurses also have specialty certifications in a variety of disciplines. Balzar credits her predecessor, Beth Oren, for the hospital’s progressive professional practice model for its nursing staff and supporting nurses to receive advanced training. Oren recently retired after serving as director of nursing for six years.

“Our focus will be to continue to advance the care we have here at Riverside,” said Balzar.

Balzar also hold’s a master’s degree in nursing with an emphasis on nursing education and has taught nursing at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Riverside Medical Center is a 25-bed acute-care, critical access hospital located in Waupaca. Riverside Medical Center has previously been rated among the “100 Top Hospitals™” in the United States by Solucient, Inc. Riverside Medical Center was founded in 1955 and employs more than 300 people, making it one of the five largest employers in the area.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is the largest employer in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

For more information, media may contact Megan Wilcox (megan.wilcox@thedacare.org), APR, corporate and public relations specialist for ThedaCare, at (920) 830-5847.