When Dr. Toni Grant reported for her first day of work as the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of the Nursing Practice Corporation which operates the Campus Health Center (CHC) in July, she knew there would be no time for a leisurely orientation period.
While Wayne State’s campus was generally quiet, as most students, faculty and employees learned or worked from home, the CHC was busier than ever, with staff scheduling appointments, seeing patients and administering COVID-19 tests. Grant’s new job was action packed from the very start.
Grant came to Wayne State from the Detroit Medical Center, where she was corporate director of nursing practice. It was a homecoming of sorts for Grant, who received her M.S. in nursing and doctorate in nursing practice from Wayne State after earning her B.S. in nursing from the University of Michigan. “I enjoyed my time at Wayne State, so coming to the CHC felt like a logical move,” said Grant, who lives in Farmington with her husband and child.
“From the moment she walked through our doors, she quickly took the reins of the clinic by observing, asking questions and doing,” said Kelly Orlandino, the NPC’s operations manager. “She continues to listen and act on the needs of the staff while maintaining a laser focus the operational needs of the clinic and the provision of expert care to the campus community."
Grant admits the work has been frenetic and the hours often long. “Students rotate through the CHC to gain experience in a clinical setting. But dealing with the pandemic means that there is no longer a true ‘normal’ experience, and we all have to remain nimble enough to adapt to a quickly evolving clinical setting.”
“Dr. Grant has worked tirelessly to keep the Wayne State community safe and healthy,” said Julia Rodgers, a B.S.N. community outreach/clinic nurse. “She has worked above and beyond the time and energy asked of her to make sure students have opportunities on campus, despite the challenges that COVID-19 poses.”
Grant credits university leadership with reacting to the pandemic in a prudent manner, guided by data and science. “I’ve been impressed by the way President Wilson has applied the science to make thoughtful decisions about our campus throughout this challenging period,” Grant said. “And Provost Clabo’s leadership as chair of the Public Health Committee has been outstanding.”
Looking ahead, Grant has high aspirations for the CHC. “We’ve established benchmarks that allow us to align our mission with producing meaningful research and articles while giving our students meaningful, enhanced clinical experiences. That’s really at the core of why we’re here.”
“A good leader recognizes when something needs to be done and approaches it as a call to action,” said Robyn Dover, L.M.S.W., a social worker recently hired by Grant. “In a time with much uncertainty and constant change, Dr. Grant has been committed to keeping CHC and the entire campus community moving forward safely through the COVID-19 global pandemic. She has made every effort to respond to the needs of the community accordingly without sacrificing her integrity. This dedication is evident in her work and throughout her interactions with everyone she encounters.”
In just a short time, Grant has made a big impact on the important work the Campus Health Center does. But it’s a two-way street; the campus has also made a big impact on Grant. “I’ve just been in awe of our students and everyone who has availed themselves of the services we offer,” she said. “They’ve been extremely kind, understanding and patient and have expressed their gratitude for what we do. It’s so nice to hear so many compliments in such a challenging time. I’m honored to be able to serve every Warrior.”