Witt / Kieffer Leading Chief Nursing Officer Search for Bayhealth Medical Center

March 7, 2017 – Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has been retained by Bayhealth Medical Center to lead its search for a senior vice president and chief nursing officer (CNO). Rachel Polhemus, senior partner at the firm, is leading the search.

Bayhealth’s CNO will be a key senior leader and member of the medical center’s executive leadership team. The incoming chief nurse will be responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all aspects of nursing operations system wide, directly overseeing the organization of coordinators, administration and operational planning for nursing, pharmacy, emergency, and staff development departments.

The ideal chief will be a visionary leader that brings clinical solutions to the new value-based delivery of care and exhibit a demonstrated ability to drive results, champion innovation and stimulate new thinking. Previous experience as a CNO is strongly preferred, however, candidates with senior level nursing leadership experience will be considered. Experience in a ‘magnet’ environment is strongly preferred. Evidence of progressive experience in nursing leadership, including at least seven years of experience in nursing administration in an acute care setting is required.

Bayhealth is a highly regarded, magnet-designated, independent, two hospital system located in central Delaware. Kent General Hospital is the flagship of the system and offers an array of services, including: cardiac surgery and diagnostic and interventional cardiac catheterizations; endovascular surgery; neurosurgery; family-centered birth services and neonatal care; cancer care; orthopedic and rehabilitation services; advanced digital imaging; inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical care; intensive, intermediate and coronary care, and a 24-hour emergency department that treats over 58,000 patients a year.


Tapping Outside Talent for Life Science and Healthcare
For these top 50 executive recruiters working in the life science and healthcare sectors, the last decade has been one of transformation. Pressure on pricing, regulatory changes, emerging innovations, growth, and an uncertain political environment have all helped shape a new field of play.

NEW Top 50 Ranking

Witt/Kieffer assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges & universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments.

The firm is currently leading chief nursing officer searches for Centra Health, Central Maine Healthcare, Franciscan Health, Franciscan Health Olympia Fields, Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Shanghai Jiahui International Hospital, Springfield Regional Medical Center, and Springfield Regional Medical Center. It recenly placed Sharon H. Pappas PhD as CNO of Atlanta-headquartered Emory Healthcare. Ms. Polhemus and Karen Otto, Witt/Kieffer’s managing partner and practice leader for academic medicine and health sciences, led the search. Dr. Pappas came to Emory from Centura Health in Denver, where she currently serves as the system’s chief nurse executive and the CNO for Porter Adventist Hospital.


Chief Nursing Officers In Heavy Demand 

As the life sciences sector continues to expand and reshape itself, organizations at the vanguard in the field are looking to renew and refresh their leadership ranks. In demand: multi-skilled executives, physician leaders and nurses who can effect change on many levels. Stepping up to the task are search consultants who are recruiting well-rounded individuals who understand science as well as the dynamics of a transitioning industry ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Life Sciences and Healthcare Search Firms Tap Outside Talent
Within healthcare talent pools, there’s been an elevation of non-traditional leaders, which includes physicians and nurses. On some searches, recruiters are often given more latitude to recruit outside the healthcare field. They have found many top candidates receptive and eager to be considered.


CNOs have a wide variety of duties that may depend on the particular facility they work within, but most importantly, the position is responsible for supervising nurses and nurse managers. CNOs also oversee design and implementation of patient care delivery, and serve as leaders in their facility’s pursuit to maintain outcome levels. As such, they are some of the most sought after and highly visible leaders in the hospital and healthcare environment.

Of the four major C-suite roles in the typical hospital, the chief nursing officer has traditionally been the most difficult to secure,” said Ed Fry, president of FaithSearch Partners, a search firm that serves small independent hospitals to large academic medical centers to integrated healthcare systems.

“I believe this is the result of a multi-generational demand-supply curve imbalance,” he said. More recently, he added, the demand for strategic, financially astute leaders with deep clinical management experience has continued to outweigh the supply.

An expanding number of search firms have been working with healthcare organizations to find chief nursing officer in recent months. Here’s a look at a sampling taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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