17 nurse leaders-turned-CEOs in 2023

Hospital CEO exits in the first few months of 2023 were up 72 percent from the same time frame in 2022. As hospitals search for someone to take the helm, some argue that they should look inward — particularly, toward nurse leaders. 

Nurse leaders already possess many of the skills needed to run a hospital: compassion, dedication and an in-depth understanding of how policies trickle down to affect caregivers and patients. This perspective is particularly vital during the nursing shortage, as RNs heighten demands on executives. 

These 17 hospitals and health systems recently bought into that value and tapped a CEO with a nursing background: 

Note: This list was updated August 14.

1. Tara McVay, MSN, RN, was named president and CEO of Logansport (Ind.) Memorial Hospital.

2. Cathy Pimple, DNP, RN, was promoted to CEO of Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kan.

3. Hamila Kownacki, RN, was named CEO of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, a hospital belonging to Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health. 

4. Karen Tracy, RN, was named CEO of Rochelle (Ill.) Community Hospital.

5. Laureen Driscoll, MSN, RN, was named chief executive for the Providence South Division, which includes 17 hospitals in Northern and Southern California. 

6. Chris Blair, BSN, was named CEO of Northwest Medical Center-Bentonville (Ark.). 

7. Jenny Hardee, BSN, was named CEO of McLeod Health Dillon (S.C.). 

8. Fred Valtairo, BSN, RN, was named CEO of Placentia-Linda (Calif.) Hospital, part of Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare.

9. Pablo Velez, PhD, RN, was named CEO of El Centro (Calif.) Regional Medical Center. 

10. Tom Clancy, PhD, RN, was named president and CEO of Mercy Iowa City (Iowa). 

11. Crystal Hayden, DNP, RN, was named president and CEO of the Kinston-based University of North Carolina Health Lenoir.

12. Lori Rakes, RN, was named CEO of Piedmont Cartersville (Ga.) Medical Center, part of Atlanta-based Piedmont.

13. Archie Drake, BSN, was named CEO of Detroit-based Children's Hospital of Michigan.

14. Dawn Unruh, MSN, RN, was named CEO of Artesian Valley Health System in Meade, Kan. 

15. Maralyn Militello, BSN, RN, was named the final CEO of Lockport, N.Y.-based Eastern Niagara Hospital, which is set to close in late summer. 

16. Lori Price, RN, was named president and CEO of Mishawaka, Ind.-based Franciscan Health's central Indiana region.

17. Caitlin Miller, BSN, RN, was promoted to president and chief hospital executive at Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, N.J.

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