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Chief Nursing Officers

Chief Nursing Officers

Renee Berg | Monster Contributing Writer

Nurse-Executive Material

Important traits for CNOs are flexibility, strong collaboration skills and the ability to remain highly organized in a fast-paced job. Hours are long and varied and include evenings, weekends and holidays.

“Flexibility and adaptability to a rapidly changing environment are key,” McFadden says. “There are days when there are significant competing priorities. The challenge is to be able to multitask in a confident manner, knowing which priorities have the top priority.”

Though the everyday tasks of a CNO are important, Hallick says nurse executives must remain creative and forward-thinking when it comes to recruitment, retention and employee morale.

“You get so caught up in the day-to-day kinds of things [that] you have to bring yourself out of that and think future, think vision,” she says.

Understanding the Numbers

Business acumen is also essential to being a CNO. At many healthcare facilities, such as Kaiser Permanente, CNOs oversee the largest chunk of a facility’s annual budget.

Hallick works with Geisinger Health’s chief financial officer, chief administrative officer and chief medical officer to develop and meet parts of Geisinger’s budget, which she cites as a favorite aspect of her job.

“That involvement with my team allows me to help nurses understand that there’s a business end to this,” Hallick says. “The ability to match giving good clinical care and having good outcomes with making sure we’re financially sound has been a good professional opportunity.”

Hallick works hard in her leadership role. She typically puts in 12-hour days and occasionally comes to the facility on weekends and about once a month at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. to interact with staff on the night shift.

“I believe that the opportunity for CNOs is great,” she says. “The role is challenging, but there’s a lot of impact that CNOs have with the right structure and with the right support. I think it’s a great position.”

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