The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence has announced the appointment of Catherine J. Rick, RN, PhD(h), NEA-BC, FAAN, FACHE, as Senior Advisor for Nursing Leadership. She will officially begin February 1 following her retirement from her role as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)/Senior Nurse Executive for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where she currently oversees more than 80,000 nursing personnel caring for nearly six million veterans annually.
Rick brings extensive experience in clinical, leadership and executive level healthcare roles to her new position advising the Jonas Center on its primary programs. These include: the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, launched in 2008 and recently expanded to prepare 1,000 nurse faculty and clinical leaders nationwide by 2018; and the Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program, created in 2012 and led by Brigadier General (Ret.) William Bester to address veterans' life-altering health issues by increasing the field of qualified caregivers through scholarships to doctoral-level nursing candidates.
"Ms. Rick is recognized as an international nursing leader. She brings to the Jonas Center enormous breadth and depth of experience in clinical and leadership settings, and we're excited for her to join our mission to educate the next generation of nurse leaders," said Darlene Curley, Executive Director. "She will be instrumental in helping the Center reach its highest goals."
Most recently, Rick was focused on White House objectives for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Joining Forces initiative to develop public/private partnerships that advance efforts to fast-track veterans' employment in health careers. She also worked with the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) on workforce programs related to healthcare reform.
"The Jonas Center's accomplishments are inspiring and I look forward to contributing my experience to help advance the great strides the Center is making in mentoring the future nurse leaders of America to deliver better patient care," said Rick, who was honored by Sigma Theta Tau Delta Gamma as a Nursing Living Legend last year. "I am very pleased to join an organization that shares my passion for nursing and am excited about the opportunities ahead."
Appointed CNO of the VA in 2000, Rick directed VA nurses across more than 1,300 sites in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Philippines. She also served as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary for Health (the top-ranking VA official), providing nursing leadership and strategic guidance across the full spectrum of VA healthcare. In addition, Rick led the VA National Nursing Strategic Plan, designed to further leadership excellence, evidence-based practice, informatics, career/workforce development, nursing practice transformation, nursing research, advanced practice nursing and collaboration with academic affiliates and professional organizations.
Prior to her appointment as CNO, she served as Nurse Executive at the Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI. Rick serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Uniformed Services University and has been a guest lecturer at the George Mason Health Policy Institute. She also holds a position on the Editorial Board for Nursing Administration Quarterly. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the American College of Healthcare Executives. She's also a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the American Nurses Association.
Rick earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Alverno College in Milwaukee and her Master of Science Degree in Nursing Administration from Marquette University, where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate.