Spotlight on David Marshall, chief nursing and patient care services officer

Mar 16, 2017, 10:01 AM by KirstiAnn Clifford
David Marshall
David Marshall, JD, DNP, RN, first joined the UTMB family in 1983 as a staff nurse, advancing to the positions of assistant head nurse, nurse manager, nursing supervisor, nurse administrator and director of nursing. In 2001, he assumed the role of chief nursing officer.

During Marshall’s tenure at UTMB, he has been instrumental in numerous initiatives, particularly UTMB’s successful efforts to regain magnet status after Hurricane Ike. The Magnet Recognition Program by the American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes health care organizations that provide the very best in nursing care.

Marshall has served on the American Nurses Association Congress on Nursing Practice and Economics, the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation and the Committee on Practice Issues for the Texas Nurses Association. He also served on the Board of Directors of American Organization of Nurse Executives and is a past chair of the Galveston County Branch of the Greater Houston Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Marshall received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UT Austin, a law degree from South Texas College of Law and a doctor of nursing practice degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.

What does Best Care mean to you and how do you contribute?
Best Care is what our patients deserve and what our providers and staff strive to deliver. As a leader in the UTMB Health System, part of my role is to ensure that the talented people we have working here have what they need to deliver the very best care to all patients and their families.

What are the biggest challenges you face as UTMB’s chief nursing and patient care services officer?
I think the biggest challenges I face are related to recruiting and retaining sufficient staff. The market for health care workers is highly competitive, especially in the Galveston/Houston area. When UTMB’s exciting and rapid growth is added to the already stiff competition, the quest to attract and retain talented individuals becomes a bigger challenge. In a recent document outlining his vision and “Quantum Leaps,” UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven said, “There is a war for talent, and we intend to win it.” I agree with him, and that is what we are trying to do here at UTMB.

What was your first job?
My first job was picking peaches in Northeast Texas. My dad received a call from one of his friends who owned an orchard on Memorial Day in 1975, and I was picking peaches that afternoon. The peach pickers wore harvesting bags that strapped around their shoulders and rested about mid-chest level. Once the bag was filled with peaches, there was a release at the bottom, and the pickers would drop their peaches into crates stacked on a trailer. I made $750 that summer and bought my first car—a slightly used Ford Pinto.

What do you like to do outside of work?
My hobbies are fishing and traveling. I grew up fishing in freshwater lakes and ponds in Northeast Texas, but I fell in love with saltwater fishing when I moved to Galveston. In fact, the largest fish I have ever caught was a 52-pound ling about 60 miles off the Galveston shore in July 2014.

In addition to fishing, I like to travel. Any international destination is my favorite, and I have been fortunate enough to travel to Belize, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Germany, Honduras, India, Mexico, Mozambique, South Africa, Venezuela and Vietnam.

My 15-year-old daughter, Reagan, plays club and high school volleyball, so over the past three years I have become quite a volleyball fan. She is a defensive specialist position on her indoor volleyball teams.

Do you have any hidden talents?
I guess they’re still hidden! On a recent cruise, I completed my first scuba dive in Cozumel, Mexico. Most of the dive sites are within the Cozumel Reefs National Marine Park, which protects much of the second largest barrier reef system in the world.

If you could have only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My maternal grandmother made the best fried chicken and homemade rolls I have ever had. If I could have one meal for the rest of my life, I would want her fried chicken with homemade rolls.

What’s something you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
I have always wanted to go whitewater rafting, but that’s still something that is on my bucket list that I have not gotten to.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
I would go back to Mozambique in southeast Africa. The country’s history and its people were fascinating to me. It was a Portuguese colony for 500 years, and the Portuguese influence combined with local traditions were what fascinated me. Their primary language is Portuguese and their food is heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine.