Chief Nursing Officer of Riverside Health System Honored

Terris KennedyNewport News, VA - Dr. Terris Kennedy, the Chief Nursing Officer of Riverside Health System, received the Virginia Nursing Association Award at the "Every Nurse a Leader" conference Saturday, September 28. Her vast experience and background reflects her sustained and distinguished nursing career with professional roles in the military, in academia, in the federal government and community health systems.  Dr. Kennedy earned her PhD in Nursing from George Mason University.

She was nominated by her professional colleagues at Riverside, who said in the nomination that they felt working with her in her current roles as Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for the Riverside Health System was a privilege. The VNA award seeks "a nurse administrator who serves as a catalyst and role model providing leadership and direction in accordance with both the organization's mission and values and with nursing's core identity."

Dr. Kennedy's nomination named her as "not only a catalyst but a trailblazer," and "more than a role model: she is a mentor--a ‘nurturing' one."  A number of nurses contributed to the nomination and mention her achievements to include the establishment of the Nurse Executive Council and the Nurse Leadership Council. Through these councils nursing leaders at Riverside have tackled clinical ladder revisions and shared governance, embedded evidence based practice, developed and implemented an Interdisciplinary Plans of Care Model (IPOC), and obtained the Pathways to Excellence Designation at one hospital.

"I would highlight her leadership in our safety culture change, her commitment to patient satisfaction and to building consistencies in our nursing practice," said Bill Downey, the President and CEO of Riverside.

In addition, through her determination, the evidence-based NICHE (Nurses Improving Care to Health System Elderly) program was not just implemented within the five hospitals, but also done simultaneously across the care continuum. Once again her dogged efforts helped blaze the way--this time for NICHE international as well as for Riverside.

 "Terris brings a strong system based approach to improving care through advancement of nursing. She is a strong leader not only in vision but also for managing to outcomes. As if this is not enough, she has a heart and compassion for excellence in care quality for all patients," said Dr. Charles Frazier, the physician VP for Clinical Integration.

Her leadership has had a great impact on the community in which she lives. The executive director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce reflects, "During the past two years as Chair of the BOD she led the organization in a remodel that resulted in a renewed commitment to serve, promote, and connect the businesses and communities. Her tireless energy and commitment has won my admiration."

In summary, Dr. Kennedy is clearly a standout in the field. The final word rests with another nursing colleague who says, "She has truly united nursing leaders within the organization to lead clinical practice and create a safe environment where we can care for others as we would care for those we love."

Published: October 1, 2013