Working Together News

Maintaining Quality Patient Care:
Meet Our Chief Nursing Officers

Shelley Peterson

Chief Nursing Officer
National Jewish Health

What are the key responsibilities of a Chief Nursing Officer?
A chief nursing officer is a member of the senior executive team that has both operational and regulatory oversight responsibilities for all nursing and patient care activities in an institution. My role is responsible for compliance with joint commission standards, state regulations and nursing licensing. It deals with strategic and tactical visioning for the organization, budgetary responsibilities for all of the nursing division and day-to-day operational oversight. It’s under the leadership of the CNO to provide quality and safe care.
Why did you get into nursing?
I started out as a surgical tech in college because it provided a lot of flexibility. I wasn’t interested in nursing. I was actually a philosophy major. When I took a sabbatical from my job and was in graduate school, I realized I missed the health care world. It had become important to me and had encompassed everything I wanted to do: service, thinking about humans and life and how we all live together. After that, I decided to become a nurse. It’s just been a wonderful fit. I love everything about it. It has allowed me to have that intellectual role but still have hands-on, real contact with people.
What are people often surprised to learn about being a CNO?
I think that people may be unaware that nursing has been elevated to a position with executive responsibilities. I think the average person would see nursing as more bedside related or clinic related, but the position of CNO really has advanced to needing an individual trained in finance, other clinical areas and public relations. There is a huge regulatory requirement. Success falls on the CNO because so much is about quality of patient care.

What is one thing you’ve always wanted to try?
I’m originally from Montana, so I’ve had a lot of outdoor experiences, and I love to exercise. I never got to try it, but I have always wanted to be on a crew team. I thought that was really cool. I keep thinking maybe I’ll finally do that. I am so impressed by those people.
What is something that adds joy to your life?
My family and friends are the ultimate joy of my life. I really enjoy getting together and being active with my family. We are pretty athletic together: We love hiking and camping. I also am a sports fanatic, and I really love going to sports events with them. It’s the simple things for sure.

Dina Bush

Chief Nursing Officer
Saint Joseph Hospital

What are the key responsibilities of a Chief Nursing Officer?
The responsibilities of a CNO encompass many different areas. Overall, one of the primary roles of a CNO is oversight of nursing and day-to-day operations. A key component to this, is maintaining clinical and patient care standards of safe, quality patient care. The CNO also serves as a catalyst for implementing an innovative approach to patient care that includes evidence-based practice strategies, adherence to organizational policies and procedures, and shared accountability.
Why did you get into nursing?
I have always wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. I enjoy connecting with people on all levels and having the opportunity to provide comfort to those in their most vulnerable of times. I had the opportunity to help my mom take care of my grandmother who had cancer when I was very young and then comfort my dad during his fight of cancer as well. I will always cherish those times.
What are people often surprised to learn about being a CNO?
The broad scope of the position and that there is such a large part that is business-related with a focus on budget, cost savings, productivity and labor management to name a few. My team was surprised by the additional responsibilities under the nursing scope such as Respiratory Services, PT/OT, etc.  
What is one thing you always wanted to try?
I love all types of music and enjoy watching "Dancing with the Stars," so I think it would be fun to take dance lessons – "Dancing with Dina" Who knows? Stay tuned…
What is something that brings joy to your life?
The thing that adds the most joy to my life is being surrounded by the people I love most. I have found great joy and contentment in spending time with my family, which includes my husband, two children, mother and sisters. In addition, I have been fortunate to have lived in the same city for over 27 years, which has afforded me the ability to cultivate many wonderful friendships that I will always hold dear to my heart. In addition to spending time with family and friends, I have gained a love of traveling over the years and enjoy going to new places and experiencing different cultures and people. I am excited to be in Denver and look forward to the many adventures yet to come.