July 12, 2017 – As the life sciences sector continues to expand and reshape itself, vanguard organizations in the field are looking to bolster their leadership ranks. In demand: multi-skilled executives, physician leaders and nurses who can effect change on many levels. And of the four major C-suite roles in the typical hospital, the chief nursing officer (CNO) has traditionally been the most difficult to secure, according to recruiters.
Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has recently been charged with finding new CNOs for Mount Nittany Health and St. Mary Medical Center, both in PA. Associate Randy Dietrich and senior partner Adriane Willig are leading the searches.
Mount Nittany Health
Located in State College, Mount Nittany Health is a $500 million regional health system that includes a hospital, medical group, charitable foundation and children’s advocacy center. With a focus on high-quality patient care and a strong financial position, it serves a six-county region in central Pennsylvania.
The health group is seeking a CNO/ executive vice president of patient care services who can advance the vision, mission, goals and objectives of the hospital through the coordination of designated departments and areas of service. That person is expected to assure the delivery of designated patient care services to meet the needs of the patients, employees and medical staff.
Candidates best suited for the position, said the health organization, would be nurse executives who have held the CNO role previously and are looking for expanded accountabilities that bridge multiple operational areas. Experience with engaging staff in continuous performance improvement, as well as a track record of collaborative medical staff relationships is essential, the organization said. Experience in leadership ambulatory services in addition to inpatient departments is also desirable.
St. Mary Medical Center
With 373 licensed beds and over $514 million in operating revenues, St. Mary has received the America’s 100 Best Hospitals award for three consecutive years. It is a member of Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare delivery systems in the country. Trinity has locations in 22 states from coast to coast, with 93 hospitals and services that span the continuum of care.
The CNO is expected to provide executive leadership for organization-wide nursing activities directed at improving the safety, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of patient care throughout the clinical enterprise. The person is also responsible for helping to foster a positive and mutually supportive relationship between hospital administration, nursing and the medical staff.
This position calls for an individual with a strong record of leadership, a passion for providing outstanding care and a desire to partner with others to improve overall quality, safety and performance, the health group said. The CNO will be a visible, accessible leader who can set a vision, inspire followership and serve as a role model of professionalism.
The ideal candidate should have experience engaging a team and be comfortable working within a system environment. In addition to strong nursing credentials and experience, preference will be given to candidates with additional credentials in business, finance, health service management or quality management.
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Witt/Kieffer has been a talent advisor to hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, physician groups and other healthcare enterprises for more than 45 years. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives, and many other leaders.
Mr. Dietrich is a member of the firm’s healthcare practice and has more than five years of experience in executive search and recruiting. Based in Philadelphia, he helps identify senior-level executives, including CEOs, COOs, CFOs and CMOs, among others. He has conducted executive searches for major healthcare providers, payers, universities, research institutes and pharmaceutical companies.
Ms. Willig is also a member of Witt/ Kieffer’s healthcare practice and brings more than 20 years of healthcare experience, a national network of health system leaders and extensive knowledge of physician relations and relationship management to her senior-level executive search assignments.
Finding CNO Talent
CNOs have a variety of duties, depending on the particular facility where they work. But most importantly, the position calls for supervising nurses and nurse managers. CNOs also oversee design and implementation of patient care delivery, and serve as leaders in their facility’s efforts to maintain outcome levels. They are some of the most sought after and highly visible leaders in the hospital and healthcare environment.
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:
B.E. Smith has been retained by St. Lawrence Health System to lead its search for a new chief nursing officer. Serving as a mentor for clinical leaders, the incoming CNO will be a servant leader and create a culture of accountability and transparency. The executive will be responsible for all nursing department functions, providing support to advance quality of care and the patient experience.
Tyler & Company was recently retained by Nobilis Health Corporation to lead its search for new CNOs for First Surgical and Hermann Drive Surgical Hospitals. Assistant vice president Kyle Wiederhold is leading the searches. The selected candidates will provide oversight for nursing administration and other assigned departments and be responsible for defining and maintaining the standards of nursing for the hospital.
FaithSearch Partners placed Elsie Graves as CNO of Central Texas Medical Center. Senior vice presidents Jim Boyle and Ivan Bartolome led the assignment. Ms. Graves most recently served as CNO at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Westover Hills in San Antonio.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media