A Note from Caitlyn Merrill, CNO Clinical Nurse Liaison

Fellow Mission Hospital Nurses:

I started at Mission Hospital 10 years ago as a CNA. Mission provided me support through my Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degree Programs. I was fortunate to go through Mission’s New-Grad Residency Program to help me transition from CNA to RN. After some time and experience, I had the privilege of functioning as a relief charge nurse. My first day as relief charge nurse sparked something inside of me and I knew I wanted to do more. My first step was to become more involved as chair of my unit Professional Governance council. I also became the Magnet Champion for my unit to get more involved in the hospital councils. After being able to see the “Big Picture” through council work, I realized that there is an opportunity for bedside nurses to work directly with our leadership through the CNO Liaison position.

For the past nine months, I have been working closely with our Chief Nursing Officer, Karen Olsen, both of our Assistant CNO’s, Faye Perry and Michelle Nelson, and several Directors and Managers.  Karen has fostered an incredible learning environment where I have been able to see firsthand all that our leaders do each and every day to advocate for staff and address challenges within our hospital. Karen includes me in meetings so that I am able to articulate the perspective of bedside nurses and how the decisions may impact the care that we are able to provide.

I was blessed to be a part of several exciting opportunities including assisting on the day of the move to the new North Tower and pressing the button to submit our Magnet Document with Karen and our CEOs from HCA. I am chair of the hospital Professional Governance Council and the Nursing Unit Chair Council (NUCC) with Karen as my Leader Liaison. I get to be involved in so many ways that I would never be privy to without being in this role. My confidence, knowledge and aspirations have multiplied since becoming CNO liaison. I have made some incredible connections and have been able to meet with so many of our leaders to observe different leadership styles. This position has allowed me to move into a nursing unit supervisor role on the medical-surgical telemetry observation unit with hopes of making a difference based on all that I have learned through the CNO liaison role.

It doesn’t matter what area you work in or what your skill set or specialty is. We all have room to learn and grow. I want to personally encourage each of you to apply for this role. Karen is an amazing mentor with a kind heart and she wants to help you learn and help you along the path of whatever it is you want to do next. You do not have to aspire to go into leadership to be successful. I cannot express the amount of growth I have had over the last several months and how much I have learned about what it takes to keep an organization like Mission Hospital going.  The lessons I have learned are invaluable and I will use them for the rest of my career.  If you have questions or want me to explain in detail what the role entails, I encourage you to reach out to me directly after reading the role description on Caring Connection. (Caitlyn.Merrill@HCAHealthcare.com).


Caitlyn Merrill, BSN, RN

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