Karen S. Watts, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, has been named executive vice president and CNO for Parkland Health & Hospital System, Dallas. She joined Parkland May 11.
Watts comes to Parkland from Northeast Georgia Health System in Gainesville, Ga., where since 2013 she served as system vice president of patient care services and CNO, according to a news release.
NGHS is a nonprofit health system comprised of a 557-bed medical center, 261-bed skilled nursing facility, three urgent care centers, two outpatient imaging centers, outpatient therapy clinics and a mental health and substance abuse treatment center. During her tenure, Watts had direct responsibility for operational and strategic direction for clinical services including surgical services, medical/surgical services, women’s services, professional practice, respiratory therapy/sleep centers, critical care services, transport and long-term care.
From 2009 to 2013, Watts was system senior vice president and CNO at Good Shepherd Health System in Longview, Texas. There she had direct responsibility for operational and strategic direction for critical care, medical/surgical, women’s services, emergency services, infection prevention, professional practice and the center for innovative learning.
She also reduced the RN vacancy rate from 22% to 3% in less than a year. Prior to that, Watts held a wide variety of leadership roles from 1992 to 2009 at Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga.
“Karen brings a vast amount of nursing and leadership experience to this position,” Fred Cerise, MD, MPH, Parkland’s president and CEO, said in the release. “Maintaining high levels of quality and safety as well as competing for nursing staff is challenging in today’s healthcare environment. Karen has a track record of strong performance in all of these areas. Her strategic planning and critical thinking ability will benefit Parkland.”