Meet Rush Alumnus Carol Semrow McCarthy, MS 1979
A 2003 recipient of the Ernst & Young Illinois Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Rush nursing alumna Carol Semrow McCarthy, MS 1979, has proven herself to be one of Chicago’s most successful business leaders. What’s more, she’s merging her nursing, business and communication skills to address some of Chicago’s most critical health concerns.
A Bachelor of Science in nursing graduate of St. Louis University, McCarthy worked as a nurse in Rush’s medical intensive care unit for eight years, even as she worked toward her Master of Science in nursing at Rush University College of Nursing. She still feels that Rush’s innovation and forward-thinking approach to nursing has had a tremendous impact on her career.
“Rush has truly been a leader in the field of nursing. When I was there, Rush nurses like Sue Hegyvary, PhD, and emeritus dean Luther P. Christman, PhD, RN, were truly visionary, and with them, Rush was setting the standard for nursing practice and leadership,” McCarthy said. “Rush has had this dynamic where nurses aren’t just part of the health care setting—they’re treated with respect. Rush was not only raising the bar, but setting it high for what it meant to be a professional nurse.”
After earning her Master of Science in nursing from Rush and her Master of Business Administration from Loyola University, McCarthy co-founded Remedy, a health care consulting firm in downtown Chicago. Since 1989 Remedy has been successfully promoting new treatment devices, helping health care organizations build stronger brands and executing public awareness campaigns for healthier lifestyles. But just because she’s not nursing in a clinical setting doesn’t mean she’s given up on saving lives.
“At the heart of our work is answering the question: How do we change the way people think and act on their health? At Remedy, we don’t involve ourselves in any project that doesn’t have the very real potential to effect behavioral change and help improve the health and fitness of Chicagoans. And that’s the truth. That’s why we started this business, and that’s been our mission all along,” McCarthy said.
Ranging from marketing the launch of the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System to building awareness of healthy lifestyle choices with the Consortium to Lower Childhood Obesity in Chicago, the company’s work is and always has been based on the belief that health and wellness are paramount, lessons that McCarthy learned well in the eight years she spent as a clinical nurse and graduate student at Rush.
“The years I spent in clinical nursing at Rush have defined who I am and my decision making in a very clear way. My success as an entrepreneur is directly attributable to the skills I learned in the clinical setting. The critical thinking, the ability to take action, that I got from that clinical nursing experience has made me a better leader, I truly believe that,” McCarthy said.
“Even today, I’m still a nurse. I’m just a different kind a nurse. My work now is a marriage of nursing and business, and it gives me the opportunity to apply that clinical nursing knowledge in a new way to really improve the health and awareness of people in Chicago.”