As the administrator for St. Luke’s hospital in Boise, David McFadyen, 39, spends a lot of time seeing health care delivery up close, and that’s just fine with him.
McFadyen grew up around hospitals because his father was seriously ill, and McFadyen was often at his bedside or in waiting rooms.
“I always felt comfortable in a hospital; it felt like home,” says McFadyen. He went on to study health information at Boise State University and earn an MBA at Northwest Nazarene University before entering his first hospital job, where he served an 11-year stint at West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell.
Now McFadyen, 39, is administrator for St. Luke’s in Boise, which means he’s in charge of everything happening on the Boise campus of the large health system. He’s operationally responsible for the physicians, nursing teams, clinical boards, and governance structures that keep the 400-bed Boise hospital – the largest in the St. Luke’s network – humming. He still likes being around a hospital.
“My brother is the same way,” he says. “He’s a nurse practitioner in Oregon. We both felt that same draw.”
McFadyen, who has been at St. Luke’s since 2011, says he’s always embraced complexity and he loves a challenge. That comes in handy in the rapidly changing world of health care. He’s serving his third year as president for the American College of Healthcare Executives – Idaho chapter, and he says membership in the national organization helps him keep abreast of the latest information about his industry.
“Health care is complicated and unique; that’s why I love it,” he says. “Plus, with health care, you’re connected back to the community in some way.”
He finds that connection through community service as well. He’s vice president of the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County, and is chairman of the building committee for the new Meridian gym project.
And his dad’s continuing health problems also keep him connected to the personal and the professional.
“My dad spent over six months in our critical care unit; it was a life-altering situation for him,” says McFadyen. “To help people through those tough times in life and get them back to being a functioning member of society and where they want to be is fun and it’s exciting.”
McFadyen is a clear communicator who works overtime and strives to meet with physicians, staff, and other constituents at a time that fits their schedules, says James Souza, a pulmonary and critical care specialist who recommended McFadyen for the Accomplished Under 40 honor.
“His personal accountability to projects and dogged follow-through to completion mark him as someone who can be counted on,” says Souza. “Dave can be found at 0600 meetings with me, just as often as he can be found at 1800 meetings. He never shies from an opportunity to engage with his colleagues on work that will advance the mission.”
When McFadyen was choosing a health career education path at Boise State University, his only two options were nursing or health information management. He wishes now he had chosen nursing, and he encourages others who are interested in health administration to take that path.
“You can do just about anything with a nursing degree,” he says. For McFadyen, that means seeing a side of life that’s always appealed to him.
“We all move so fast in society that we don’t give people a lot of grace,” he says. “But here in the health care setting, no matter what your socioeconomic background, we tend to put all that aside and help each other out.”
Most memorable airplane trip: “It was my first time on an airplane. The sensation of flying high above the city is something I have never forgotten. It was an hour flight between boise and Portland. There were no clouds and I could see the snowcapped volcanos. Today when I fly with my young kids it is so fun to relive that memory through their eyes.”