January 26, 2021 – As the healthcare 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. Of the four major C-suite roles in the typical hospital, the chief nursing officer has traditionally been the most difficult to secure, according to recruiters.
Recently, Orlando, FL-headquartered healthcare-focused search firm Kirby Bates Associates (KBA) was called in by West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, to lead its search for a new chief nursing officer. Peggy Loughery is leading the assignment along with Jane Fitzsimmons. The CNO will be charged with serving as a transformational leader and providing vision and leadership, enhance the shared governance structure, as well as nursing strategic and quality plans to lead nursing services. This executive is responsible for oversight of nursing practice and ensures the delivery of innovative, evidence-based patient care.
Kirby Bates Associates said that both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree are required, one of which must be in nursing. Candidates should be licensed or eligible for RN licensure in Pennsylvania. In addition, prospects should have experience in a union environment as well as five years’ experience in progressively responsible nursing leadership roles in an academic teaching hospital. Magnet experience is highly preferred and the ability to work effectively and establish collaborative relationships within a matrix environment is highly desired.
West Penn Hospital is an academic medical center specializing in patient care, education, and research. It is part of the Allegheny Health Network (AHN), a system of eight hospitals including Allegheny General, Allegheny Valley, Canonsburg, Forbes, Jefferson, Saint Vincent, Westfield Memorial and West Penn; and more than 200 primary- and specialty-care practices, AHN has about 2,400 physicians in every clinical specialty, 19,000 employees and 2,000 volunteers.
Leading Nurse Entrepreneurs
Founded in 1988 as Bates & Associates by two leading nurse entrepreneurs, Kirby Bates Associates has been continuously owned and operated by nursing executives. It is part of the Jackson Healthcare family of companies. The firm offers portfolio of leadership services including interim leadership, executive search, leadership coaching and operations consulting. Melissa A. Fitzpatrick was named president of Kirby Bates in 2020.
Since joining Kirby Bates Associates in 2005, Ms. Loughery has conducted more than 300 executive and senior leadership searches for prominent healthcare organizations across the country. Her skills include also include candidate development.
With more than 30 years of diverse healthcare leadership experience, Ms. Fitzsimmons has expertise in executive search, leadership, and consulting. She has managed executive and senior leadership searches for a broad range of healthcare organizations and systems across the country.
Finding Nursing Talent
Top nursing executives have a variety of duties, depending on the facility where they work. Most importantly, the position calls for supervising nurses and nurse managers. They 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 top nursing executives in recent months. Here’s a look at a sampling taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
University Hospitals (UH) has retained Summit Talent Group to conduct a national search for the position of system chief nursing executive. This executive will be responsible and accountable for the overall delivery and management of nursing operations, professional practice, education, professional development, research, administration and clinical services, said the search firm. The incoming leader will have staff accountability for enhancing a clinical practice environment that is patient centered, with unsurpassed patient experience, clinical quality and patient safety while also providing significant contributions to education and research.
Executive search firm Westmont Search placed Rhonda Kazik as the chief nursing officer for Essentia Health’s East market based in Duluth, MN. Managing partner Peter Blau and search director Carolyn Lecocq led the assignment for the health system. Most recently, Ms. Kazik was the system chief nursing officer at Community Health Systems in Fresno, CA.
Orlando, FL-headquartered healthcare-focused search firm Kirby Bates Associates (KBA) was called in by Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts to lead in its search for a new chief nursing officer. The assignment is being led by Chris Corwin. “This is an exciting time to be joining Cambridge Health Alliance, an innovative community-based healthcare provider serving a highly diverse population,” the search firm said.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media