Make Room at the Top for a CNO

Make Room at the Top for a CNOFebruary 3, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

An Exclusive Commentary by Joseph I. Bormel, MD, MPH for Cross Country Staffing

Not so long ago, a C-level executive with the title chief nursing officer (CNO) was rare in hospitals. Although not uncommon today, Dr. Joe Bormel makes the case that every hospital should have a CNO. Furthermore, the executive’s job description should include more than the obsolete perception of what this position entails.

“Chief executive officers have a responsibility to ensure their organizations have a viable strategy in place to achieve realistic goals. To accomplish this, they are accountable for having the right mix of C-level executives who provide objective counsel and who, in turn; provide leadership in their areas of expertise. A chief nursing officer should be a part of this mix.

“When selecting a CNO, administrators need to understand how this position has evolved in the past decade or so. The traditional image is of a nurse executive whose role is to represent and lead the nursing department and manage its staffing issues. But the job has undergone considerable changes.

“To reflect these changes, many CNOs also carry a title of vice president of patient services. In the C-suite, they work as equals with other senior execs to articulate the organization’s vision, create its strategy, and develop enterprise budgets. On the operational level, they often take the lead to design processes that coordinate clinicians and the care they provide, thus ensuring the continuum of care functions seamlessly for every patient.

“Today’s CNOs have broad decision-making capabilities and excel in peer-to-peer communications. When administrators recognize the value these traits bring, they create an organization that is resilient, with leadership far more likely to make informed decisions that produce positive results. Having served as a chief medical officer who spent over two decades meeting with hospital administrators and their teams, I welcomed the input of CNOs from facilities of all sizes. I recommend making room at the top for a CNO who can add a new perspective with fresh ideas to the mix.”

Cross Country Staffing provides hospital administrators and their C-level teams with proven workforce solutions that produce savings, while relieving management of otherwise burdensome, time-consuming tasks. We take a one-on-one approach to optimize your labor cost savings and meet your unique staffing challenges.

Dr. Joe Bormel currently serves as vice president of informatics with Healthline Networks. Prior to this assignment, he worked in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer at the ONC on a special IT project as the director for health outcomes. Dr. Bormel previously served as the CMO of QuadraMed Corporation and as a director and chief architect for Medical Measurement and Management System Solutions at Cerner Corporation. He holds advanced standing with the American College of Physician Executives.