Sheryl Jyothi Cornelio
Sheryl Jyothi Cornelio swears by integrity. She believes people don’t follow a leader they don’t trust. “Great leaders—trusted leaders—demonstrate integrity. This results in gaining the confidence of those around them. These people then become dedicated employees, friends and strong supporters of a shared goal,” says Cornelio, who joined Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital as deputy director, nursing, in June 2018.
With a 13-year experience in the clinical and teaching fields, Cornelio, 39, manages 250 nurses. And she leads by example. During Covid-19 duty, she contracted the coronavirus, but was back in hospital after a two-week recovery. “I resumed immediately because many others had also tested positive,” she says.
The pandemic turned out to be challenging as not only her responsibilities increased, but looking after an anxious team became even more crucial. “I visited the Covid-19 wards and boosted the morale of my team. There was tremendous fear and anxiety among young nurses, which made them reluctant to work in Covid areas. It was like sending them to a battlefield with the personal protective equipment as their weapon for protection, and asking them to save the lives of others without thinking about themselves,” says Cornelio.
She ensures the safety of employees by providing them with add-on facilities, regular motivational activities, counselling and interactions to cope with the fear of contracting the virus. “I visit nurses in their accommodations and spend time with them so that they feel good and know that someone is concerned about them,” she adds. The medical professional ensured her team members diagnosed with Covid-19 received full medical support and regularly checked on their well-being.
The fight against Covid-19 became even more daunting when many nurses returned to their hometowns. The attrition rate shot up and managing the hospital with a skeletal staff became an issue. “Even before the Covid-19 crisis, handling nurses became a bit difficult because of the generation gap. Also, not many people choose or want to be a part of this profession these days. So we literally have to inculcate a caring attitude towards patients in them,” she explains.
Her colleagues are full of praise for Cornelio. “Sheryl is always ready to take challenges head-on and ensures optimal nursing care. She actively participates in staff development programmes and monitors professional performance while mentoring her team. She is an asset and a leader with zeal,” says Captain Valsa Thomas, director, nursing, at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital.
Cornelio attributes the good in her to her father. “My father has played a pivotal role in shaping my personality and been a role model for me. He taught me the concept of ‘care for the subordinates’ and has largely contributed towards my success as a leader,” she says, adding that involving her team members in problem-solving helps her connect with them better.
(This story appears in the 09 October, 2020 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)