Why a Wyoming hospital split the CNO role among 3 nurses

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Jackson, Wyo.-based St. John's Health is splitting the CNO role among three individuals as part of a shared leadership model, the Jackson Hole News&Guide reported Nov. 10.  

Registered nurses Jennifer Chiappa, Mary Ponce and Naomi Starcevich will share the CNO role, replacing Marsha Sensat, who resigned in October, according to the newspaper. They will oversee 226 nurses at the 120-bed facility.

St. John's Health CEO Dave Robertson "chose this path toward filling the CNO position at St. John's due to the abundance of nurse leadership experience we have in-house, with three directors who are either master's education prepared or will have earned that higher education degree within the year," Karen Connelly, the hospital's chief communications officer, told Becker's Hospital Review. "He wanted to provide them with the opportunity they have earned, and also to keep all of them on the St. John's team."

Ms. Connelly said the CNO team cited major opportunities provided by this shared leadership model, including the ability to maintain their current positions managing units and working at the bedside.

The registered nurses said they also "have diverse backgrounds and experiences that make for sound decision-making," and they "can each tackle more tasks than one person could do simultaneously," according to Ms. Connelly.

Under the shared leadership model, the registered nurses have divided tasks such as policies/contract/education between them, and they rotate daily tasks (and share the administrative office) weekly.

The CNO team will make significant decisions as a group, allowing a CNO of the week (or other staff member) to make smaller ones. 

Although responsibilities will be shared, each registered nurse will officially be named CNO for a six-month period to comply with federal and accreditor regulations requiring one contact for nursing leadership, according to the News&Guide.

Read the full report here.

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