Date of Graduation

Spring 5-17-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


School of Nursing and Health Professions




DNP Completion

First Advisor

KT Waxman

Second Advisor

Theresa Brodrick, PhD

Third Advisor

Sylvain Trepanier, DNP


The chief nurse executive (CNE) is the senior leader whose primary responsibility is to assure quality of care and patient experience in acute care hospitals. Uncertainty in the political arena and further changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) highlight the need for hospitals to maintain continuity of leadership for the executive closest to patient care – the CNE. In a large and complex health system, the role of the CNE can be an overwhelming responsibility for seasoned professionals – and especially daunting if you are new to the role of CNE or new to an organization as an experienced CNE.

The Patient Care Services (PCS) division of a large hospital system/health management organization with a region in northern California has addressed succession planning to ensure there are viable candidates for vacated CNE positions throughout the region. Two programs were launched to assist high-potential nurse leaders advance to the role of CNE – the Nurse Executive Accelerated Leadership Development Program (NEALDP) and the Nurse Executive Fellows Program (NEFP). The element missing is active mentoring once a CNE is in their role unless they employ an outside consultant. In that situation, the support is theoretical and not related to their day-to-day work.

The purpose of this project is to build the foundational elements of a mentoring program for current CNEs in a large health system. The primary audience is the CNE in a new role or new to the organization with online resources and active mentoring designed to be accessible to and benefit all CNEs in the organization. The value of this project will be expressed in outcomes related to CNE job satisfaction, retention, and cost avoidance related to lower turnover and termination of an outside executive consultant contract in place to support new CNEs.