Kirby Bates Associates Leading CNO Searches for Medical Centers

February 8, 2018 – As the life sciences sector continues to expand and reconfigure 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. 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.

Bala Cynwyd, PA-headquartered executive search firm Kirby Bates Associates was recently selected to find CNOs for North Shore Medical Center in Salem, MA, and the Methodist University Hospital in Memphis.

North Shore Medical Center

North Shore is the area’s largest healthcare provider with hospitals, ambulatory care sites and physician offices. It is a private, non-profit organization with 414 beds located within three acute-care hospitals.

The organization seeks an individual with 10 years of nursing leadership experience with a minimum of three years of experience as a senior nursing leader, said the search firm. The new chief nursing officer must be able to develop mutual trust and collaboration with colleagues and to engage staff. Financial acumen is required and the person must understand the business of healthcare. The incoming leader must also know how to develop a strategic plan and direction for nursing/patient care services.

Leading the assignment for Kirby Bates is Judy Hayes, vice president of search services, along with search associate Livonne Engebrecht.

Methodist University Hospital

Methodist University Hospital is the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare system. Located in the heart of the academic campus, it has 617 beds and is the principal teaching hospital of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.


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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.

Top 50 Ranking

The hospital is looking for a highly experienced nursing leader with a minimum of a master’s degree, with doctoral preparation preferred. The individual must have a minimum of seven years leadership experience in an academic medical center, preferably in a healthcare system, said Kirby Bates Associates. Also required is a demonstrated ability to influence and build consensus, experience in executing strategies and operations improvement, and the ability to engage, recruit and retain staff.

President and CEO Karen Kirby is leading the search along with Jane Fitzsimmons, EVP of search services.

Founded in 1988 as Bates & Associates by two leading nurse entrepreneurs, the firm has been continuously owned and operated by nursing executives. Ms. Bates assumed the CEO role in 2003. She has over 30 years of diverse healthcare administration and consulting experience and has held top-level nursing and hospital administration positions in the U.S. and abroad.

Finding CNO Talent

CNOs perform a variety of duties, depending on the 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 officers in recent months. Here’s a look at a sampling taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Quick Leonard Kieffer recently placed Ann Marie Madden as CNO and vice president of patient care services for Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, NC. The firm’s managing partner Courtney Lada, partner Jake Barto and principal Mike Quick led the search. Ms. Madden was previously CNO for Inova Fairfax Medical Campus in Falls Church, VA.

Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has placed Tiffany Cabibbo as CNOs for Mount Nittany Health in Pennsylvania. Associate Randy Dietrich and senior partner Adriane Willig led the search. Most recently, Ms. Cabibbo was the vice president/CNO for Baptist Health Madisonville in Kentucky.  Witt/Kieffer has been a talent advisor to healthcare enterprises for more than 45 years.

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.

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

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