Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - Chief Nurse Impacts Regional Excellence


STPH’s Kerry Milton Innovating as Chairman of Vizient Southern States Nurse Executives

COVINGTON – With innovation as a central focus of her leadership, Kerry Milton, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, assumed chairmanship of Vizient Southern States Nursing Executive Network with an emphasis on recruitment and retention of nursing staff. Under Milton’s chairmanship, the Nursing Executive Network earned recognition as Vizient Network of the Year for 2018 with the innovative idea of using a virtual book club, an ongoing initiative designed to build group cohesion through active participation.

“The network is designed so that the top executives in nursing among our 36-member hospitals across the southeastern United States can network and learn from one another,” Milton explained, “so it is an honor and privilege to accept the chairmanship and turn our network’s attention to innovative ideas in nursing, particularly with regard to nurse recruitment, retention and resilience.”

Through a combination of in-person and virtual meetings, the Vizient Southern States Nursing Executive Network focused on the overall issues of nurse recruitment and retention. They focused on innovative ways to manage nursing shortages. Ideas included engaging new graduates, elevating quality, launching and supporting nurse residency programs and better involving Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in the care continuum. The group also examined challenges related to managing the multigenerational workforce.

The group’s most innovative action, central to their recognition as network of the year, was a virtual book club in which each of the member CNOs worked in pairs to lead web-ex chapter discussions for the larger group of nurse executives. The success of it has inspired Milton to host a local book club for her nurse managers at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, with a curriculum built around the book, “Nurse Leader As Coach.”

Overall the network has grown to 88% participation in meetings and 97% satisfaction rates. The network reported documented value to their collective organizations of more than $7 million in 2018, and it encompasses nurse executives from Vizient member hospitals in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia


A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is recognized for quality, safety and the patient experience by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital is an independent service district in a clinically integrated partnership with Ochsner Health System. Together, the two organizations focus on aligning their healthcare offerings to best serve patients and families in west St. Tammany and surrounding areas. Under their agreement, the two organizations retain their autonomy; neither partner manages nor owns the other. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no tax funding. Learn more at