The Importance of Caring: My Journey into Nursing – Dorothy Bybee

By Ashley Strehle Hartman, freelance writer
for Columbus Community Hospital  – Columbus, Nebraska
Published on the Columbus Community Hospital website, July 2019

Dorothy Bybee has always been drawn to nursing because she likes how it blends science with the art of caring. That’s why she planned on going into the career after high school but life took her in a different direction.

“I started with nursing in mind out of high school and got sidetracked with marriage and children,” she said.

But Bybee hadn’t forgotten her high school dream. When her family moved closer to a nursing program, she “jumped at the chance with three kids in tow.”

Soon after completing her nursing program, Bybee became a charge nurse in an intensive care unit and then a house supervisor – a job she loved.

“Once I started in nursing, I always wanted to be in leadership,” she said.

With this goal in mind, over the years, Bybee continued her education by earning a master’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in health care. She is also certified as nurse executive advanced.

This education led Bybee to a variety of leadership positions. During her health care career, she has managed small hospitals and served as an assistant chief nurse at larger organizations. She became the vice president of patient care services/chief nursing officer at Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) in April 2017.

In this position, Bybee oversees nursing operations in several areas of the hospital, including, inpatient, outpatient, surgery, emergency department, home health, medical/surgical, obstetrics and wound care.

She also oversees the pharmacy, respiratory therapy, case management, quality, credentialing, risk management, regulatory requirements, social work and the hospital’s interpreters.

Bybee said that CCH and its staff have been very welcoming and supportive of her from the very beginning.

“I had an unusual orientation, as Linda Walline, the chief nurse whose position I accepted, was still here,” she said. “She was wonderful to introduce me to both hospital and community individuals.”

After receiving a thorough orientation from Walline, Bybee was able to learn even more by attending conferences.

“CCH is very supportive of all employees and especially myself when it comes to having the opportunity to learn and attend conferences,” she said. “We are also encouraged to be innovative and our ideas are well received. As I have needed new positions and looked at new service lines, CCH has been supportive.”

Bybee cited the hospital’s new patient navigation program that better educates and prepares patients for cancer treatment, as a great example of new positions that have changed the lives of CCH’s patients.

She is happy to have been part of bringing this new service line to the community and she’s happy she ended up in the health care field. In addition to allowing her to help patients, a career in health care, and nursing in particular, offers Bybee plenty of variety.

“Nursing is very versatile. If nurses want a new challenge, they can always try a new role or type of nursing,” she said. “I love the fact that we have many opportunities in nursing. If nursing is not for you though, there are a myriad of different roles in health care: ultrasound, physical therapy, social work and the list goes on.”

For more information on Bybee and the health care opportunities available at CCH,visit