March 5, 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 top nursing executive has traditionally been the most difficult to secure, according to recruiters.
Quick Leonard Kieffer recently assisted in the placement of Sylvain Trepanier as senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Renton, WA-based Providence, one of the largest health systems in the country. President and CEO Steve Derks led the assignment along with principal Joe Johnston. “The CNO serves as a champion for our nurses and the invaluable role they play caring for the people in our communities, as well as ensuring we are attracting and retaining the most skilled and compassionate nurses,” said Amy Compton-Phillips, executive vice president and chief clinical officer. “I know Syl will do both. With 30,000 nurses, we have a unique opportunity to show how nurses are at the heart of our mission and helping achieve our vision of health for a better world.”
While the search reviewed both external and internal candidates, the organization went with someone in-house. Mr. Trepanier joined Providence in 2017 as chief nursing officer for the Los Angeles region and was promoted seven months later to chief clinical officer of the newly formed Southern California Region of 13 hospitals. In addition to leading nursing services, he oversaw the chief medical officers in his region, as well as the clinical institutes, and was the regional lead for information system integration and the senior-most executive responsible for regional preparedness and response to COVID-19, establishing a regional incident command center.
During his tenure, Mr. Trepanier redesigned all clinical quality and operation services, generating significant annual savings, and redesigned clinical education into a regional centralized model, including the Magnet designation process. His leadership effected positive changes in clinical metrics, including decreases to sepsis, healthcare-acquired infections, expected maternal mortality, and readmissions – all while improving the care experience.
Previously, Mr. Trepanier served as system vice president and chief nursing officer of Premier Health, as a regional chief nursing officer for Tenet, and as a chief nursing officer for two Tenet hospitals. He began his career as a director of emergency services for St. Lucie Medical Center and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida.
As the new CNO, Mr. Trepanier will be a critical voice for nursing at the senior executive level, advocating for nurses and advanced practitioners while supporting the practice of nursing across the health system’s seven-state footprint. He will play a meaningful role in setting the system’s clinical strategy and will be at the center of workforce planning. One of his earliest responsibilities will be continuing to build momentum for Providence’s Nursing Institute and Clinical Academy, programs that provide a sustained talent pipeline of specialty nurses, nurse practitioners and clinicians.
Reporting over $23 billion in revenue and serving over 13 million patients, the Providence system encompasses 51 hospitals, 829 clinics and 16 supportive housing facilities; 119,000 caregivers, 25,000 physicians, and 38,000 nurses; two health plans and 2.1 million covered lives; $1.6 billion in community benefit; and 90 non-acute services – all spread across seven states in a diverse family of Catholic, other faith-based and secular organizations.
Founded in 1999, Quick Leonard Kieffer is a retained executive search firm with experience finding leaders for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, healthcare associations, life sciences companies, insurance companies and non-profits, among other clients. The firm is based in Chicago and has a track record of placing C-suite and other senior executives with leading, well-recognized healthcare organizations around the country.
Mr. Derks has over 25 years of experience in the field, as a CEO assembling executive teams, as a board member helping to select and oversee CEOs and executives, and in his work with clients. He has won a reputation for discerning the strategic leadership needs of organizations, identifying qualified talent and recognizing the best fit for clients. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Mr. Johnston joined Quick Leonard Kieffer in 2016. He works alongside the firm’s partners, principals and associates in conducting a variety of senior-level healthcare searches for community hospitals, medical groups and large health systems. He has 20 years of experience in executive search. Previously, Mr. Johnston held senior research, knowledge management and recruitment positions at Ray & Berndtson, Korn Ferry and Lantern Partners.
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