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Jennifer Nitschmann,
MSN, RN is Baylor St. Luke’s new Vice President of Patient Care Services. Jennifer will provide leadership in the delivery of nursing care, treatment, and services. She will oversee all patient care units and work to enhance nursing education. Jennifer comes to us from Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio. As the Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and Interim Chief Nursing Officer, she provided executive leadership for nursing clinical practice and daily operations of patient care areas, including surgical nursing, emergency services, women’s services, endoscopy, and perioperative services.

While at Mount Carmel, she successfully achieved re-accreditation from The Joint Commission and ensured compliance with all regulatory standards. Jennifer evaluated, revised, and implemented a nursing services organization structure, thereby developing leadership into an outcome-driven team aligning with hospital and nursing strategic plans. She markedly improved patient outcomes by establishing nursing and clinical development programs for nurses that enhanced their skill sets and competencies critical to their units. She previously served as Interim Director, Critical Care Services at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Jennifer spent over 20 years at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston working in many leadership roles including Assistant Chief Nursing Officer and finally as Interim Chief Nursing Officer. During her time there, she led the leadership team responsible for the hospital’s initial Magnet Recognition designation.

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, Jennifer went on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Post  Master’s Certificate — Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, all from UTMB.

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Melissa Rouse, RN, PhD, CNS-BC, NEA-BC is the new Division Vice President for Nursing Practice, Education and Research for the Texas Division of CHI St. Luke’s Health. Melissa is responsible for the oversight of nursing professional practice; nursing research and innovation and nursing education and development across CHI Texas Division. Melissa comes to us from Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL where she served as Assistant Chief Nursing Officer; Interim Chief Nursing Officer and Interim Director for the Neuro Intensive Care Unit & the Neuro Science/Stroke Unit.  While at Northside Hospital, she improved throughput out of the ED; initiated a shared governance council structure to improve clinical practice issues; implemented evidence based practice projects to reduce falls, CLABSI and C-Diff; improved RN/Resident communication and implemented interdisciplinary rounds on each unit biweekly to improve throughput.  She was executive champion for a multidisciplinary team to implement a Level 4 Hospice program and Palliative care.

Prior to joining Northside Hospital in Florida, Melissa served as Director of Nursing Practice and Research at Palomar Health in Escondido, CA.  While there, she was responsible for peer review, nursing collaborative leadership/shared governance structure, research & evidence-based practice (EBP), grants, nursing competencies and education and the new grad RN Residency program.  She developed processes and supervised staff to identify and overcome barriers related to medication scanning resulting in an increased scanning compliance rate of 96.2%. Melissa was involved in planning and opening a new 288 bed facility. She created and implemented scenarios for readiness testing prior to moving patients into the building. Melissa is an activation coach and was part of the team that created and implemented the Applied Academy of Physician Leadership which enhanced Physician leadership skills and improved collaboration and communication between nursing and medical staff.   While at Palomar Health she worked in many leadership roles including Director of Nursing and Interprofessional Education, CNS for Quality and Patient Safety; CNS for Emergency Dept., and Nursing Supervisor in the Emergency Department.

In addition, Melissa has experience in nursing academia, teaching at the Masters and Bachelors level. She taught at the University of San Diego, San Diego State University and Penn State University, World Campus.  She is currently teaching online in an RN to BSN program for California State University, San Marcos.

After earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from San Diego State University in 1996, Melissa went on to receive a Master of Science Degree in Nursing in 2008 and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Nursing in 2013. Her Masters and Doctorate are both from the University of San Diego.

Melissa is passionate about nursing, mentoring others and providing high quality patient care and outcomes. She describes her career as an amazing journey where she has been able to impact the lives of patients and staff through the many education and leadership opportunities she has been blessed to have.

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Candice Herman, PhD(c), RN, NEA-BC is the Magnet Program Director for Baylor St. Luke’ Medical Center. For many years, Candice has been an innovator and nurse leader in a variety of academic and community-based settings.  Her clinical nursing experience is all in the oncology setting, working as a clinical nurse, nurse manager, and nursing director. Candice began her work with the Magnet Program in 2005. She has been the team lead and primary writer under the 2005, 2008, and 2014 manuals and is now writing to the 2019 manual.  Candice is currently working on her doctorate of philosophy in nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch, and is passionate about the nursing work environment and the voice that nursing brings to the table. She has presented her work on nursing engagement at multiple local, state, and national conferences.