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Hospital has new CNO

  • Category: Community, Announcement
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Deb Sutton, Sweetwater Memorial Marketing Director
Hospital has new CNO

Clevenger returns to Sweetwater Memorial

Ann Clevenger likes jobs where she can connect with people.

She learned that at a young age. She was 12 when she was asked to help care for her cousin’s aging grandmother during a spring break.

“I don’t know why they asked me,” said Clevenger, the new Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. “She had dementia. I helped feed her, and we played cards all day long. Even at a young age, I found comfort in knowing that I could actually make a difference in her day, or more likely she made a difference in mine. Sometimes, you just find your niche.”

After more than 20 years of extensive experience in multiple nursing leadership roles and practices, she may have found another perfect niche at Sweetwater Memorial.

“Ann brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role of the Chief Nursing Officer,” said CEO Irene Richardson. “Her commitment to compassionate, high-quality healthcare makes her a perfect fit, and we are pleased to welcome her to our hospital family.”

Clevenger is no stranger to Sweetwater Memorial. She worked as Emergency Department clinical coordinator from 2013 to 2015. She worked as an Emergency Department staff nurse from 2015 to 2017. During that time, she also worked as nursing instructor at Western Wyoming Community College.

For the past three years, she has served as Western’s Director of Nursing, a role she says provided her with opportunity to use, strengthen, and broaden her skill set.

Clevenger received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Wyoming in 1989, and a Master of Science Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix in 2015. She is now working on a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Grand Canyon University, which she expects to complete in March 2021.

“I love leadership and the development of teams,” Clevenger said. “They have a great team at Western. I felt I was really able to build the teams within student groups and provide support and guidance for the faculty groups that I had the privilege to work with. It was rewarding to be able to influence students as a mentor before they started their nursing career.”

At Sweetwater Memorial, she succeeds former CNO Kristy Nielson, who recently retired.

Coming back to Sweetwater Memorial as CNO is “the opportunity of a lifetime,” Clevenger said. “Everyone here has been so welcoming and so kind. I look forward to the opportunities at Sweetwater Memorial.”

Clevenger also has been involved with the hospital’s Patient & Family Advisory Council as part of her quality improvement project for her doctorate. “It helped me identify and align the project with community needs, as well as the hospital’s needs,” she said.

Her goal now is to “help people grow and do what they’re really good at. I want to provide them with the resources they need and the support. If I don’t have the answer, I will help them find it,” she said.

“A staff thrives in places where people are trying to help them be successful,” Clevenger said. “If people are happy with what they’re doing, it’s the patients who benefit. It’s important to have a mentor to help them do that.

“Kristy has always been my mentor. She has really been an inspiration for others,” she said. “Hopefully, I can be a mentor to someone like Kristy was to me.”

Clevenger is a good fit for the position, said Nielson, who was not part of the selection committee, but has known Clevenger for about eight years. Nielson said the CNO position can be daunting.

A CNO's life revolves around four areas: Standards of nursing practice for the hospital; nursing standards of patient care, treatment, and services; nursing policies and procedures; and nurse staff plans, Nielson explained.

“The CNO is responsible and accountable for the safety of ALL patients and the protection of each nurse’s license,” Nielson said. “With a background that extends beyond two decades, which includes experience as a nurse educator, Ann has the perfect foundation to meet the challenges of the CNO role.”

Chief Clinical Officer Kari Quickenden agreed.

“Ann endeavors our values and is committed to our person-centered care journey,” Quickenden said. “It is imperative the clinical and nursing teams work collaboratively to care for our patients. I can count on the fact that much of what my teams do will impact nursing and vice versa. I am excited to work with Ann, as well as learn from her as she brings a new perspective to the organization.”