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Mark Caten has been named clinical administrator at the University of South Alabama Medical Center. It’s the next logical step in a career that started off anything but logically.
Caten has worked at least part time at the Medical Center since graduating from nursing school at USA in 1994. He’s worked in emergency room settings, handling employee health concerns at a nearby chemical plant, worked at other hospitals — and he continues to work as needed as a flight nurse.
All those things make for a logical transition to clinical administrator. It’s the path he took to becoming a nurse that’s the surprising part.
A fitness enthusiast, when Caten finished a four-year stint in the U.S. Navy he decided a career in physical therapy made good sense for him. So he made an appointment with USA’s physical therapy advisor. As fate would have it, he was accidentally matched up not with the PT advisor but with the nursing advisor.
The nursing advisor, it seems, made a big impression. Such a big impression that Caten gave up the idea of physical therapy and instead completed his degree in nursing.
He wouldn’t have it any other way. “After 21 years, I’m still doing it,” he says. “I’ve worked at several other hospitals. South has always been the job I love. We are the best hospital in the region. The doctors and nurses here are the best.”
Now, he’s looking forward to the challenge of his new role as a clinical administrator. “This position has always appealed to me,” he says. “It’s a great nursing job.”
Caten says he looks forward to the responsibility of making decisions about how to handle whatever issues may arise during the nights and weekends when other administrators are off, and to the chance to help patients and families who need assistance at the hospital during off hours.
Caten and his wife, Lisa, also a USA employee, have two children: Emily, 15, and Tanner, 11. He still loves exercise, but says spending time with his family is foremost during his off hours. “I can’t get enough of them.”
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