Westmont Search Recruits Chief Nursing Officer for Essentia Health

October 5, 2020 – 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, 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. She has also held executive nurse leadership roles at the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. Ms. Kazik received her doctor of nursing practice degree from Rush University in Chicago. She has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin.

In her new position, Ms. Kazik will be responsible for the quality of nursing care for patients in all Essentia East hospitals and clinics, said Westmont Search. She will be a member of the East market executive leadership team, also serving also as the strategic leader system CNO for nursing strategy. Ms. Kazik will report to the chief operating officer of the East market, as well as the executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Essentia Health is a network of 13 hospitals, 69 clinics, six long-term care facilities, three assisted living facilities, three independent living facilities, five ambulance services and one research institute. Essentia Health’s mission is to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.

Westmont Search also recently placed Cindy Bacskai as vice president of talent management at Essentia Health. Most recently, Ms. Bacskai was the vice president human resources business partner of Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee. She has also held human resource leadership roles with the Manpower Group and S.C. Johnson.

Healthcare-Focused Recruiters

Westmont Search, located in Westmont, NJ, is a healthcare-focused executive search firm with a singular focus of hiring top health executives to continue to improve the healthcare system. The firm works with clients from university medical centers to rural health systems to multi-state managed care companies. The talent varies across the industry including finance, operations, information technology and management. Westmont Search has deep industry knowledge and experience.

Since 2006, Mr. Blau has been recruiting leadership for healthcare organizations. He works with both healthcare provider and managed care organizations throughout the U.S. Mr. Blau and the team have placed over 300 executives and professionals within healthcare organizations.

Ms. Lecocq specializes in full life cycle recruiting for highly experienced executive level talent and focuses on provider and payer leadership positions, public affairs and marketing, provider network management, pharmacy and government affairs. She also manages candidate pipelines and research development and works with clients and candidates on a variety of projects.

Managing partner Wendy Brown-Blau has extensive management experience spanning more than 20 years in insurance, managed care and government contracting. She served in several executive roles spanning 20 years at Blue Cross, CIGNA and HealthAmerica. She uses her experience as a manager and executive to find her clients the best talent, the right fit and the commitment that they are looking for.

Finding CNO Talent

CNOs have a variety of duties, depending on the facility where they work. 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 was selected by Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) to lead its search for a new chief nursing officer. President and CEO Steve Derks is leading the assignment along with principal Joe Johnston. PSJH wants an executive with a minimum of 15 years of senior nursing leadership experience in a multi‐site and complex health system, said Quick Leonard Kieffer.

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.

Executive recruitment firm Quick Leonard Kieffer was called in by Silver Cross Hospital to help find its next chief nursing officer. Founder and vice chairman Roger Quick is leading the assignment along with principal Joe Johnston. Silver Cross Hospital is a 302-bed acute care/general hospital that was founded in 1895 and is located at its new campus in New Lenox, IL.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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