Redington-Fairview Case Study

The Challenge
Redington-Fairview General Hospital (RFGH) needed an experienced Chief Nursing Officer to serve as a mentor/consultant to provide hands-on guidance for their newly promoted Director of Nursing.

Most health care executives agree, the Chief Nursing Officer holds one of the most demanding positions within the hospital. When a retirement creates a vacancy, and your person in line to step into this position needs a bit more seasoning before taking over, it can be a challenge. How to address this need was the situation facing Richard Willett, Chief Executive Officer of MHA member, RFGH, a 65 bed facility located in Skowhegan, Maine.

RFGH is a community hospital located in the western mountains of Maine serving a population of 30,000. “We’re in a beautiful part of the state, but it can be difficult to recruit. Once here however, our retention rate is phenomenal – we don’t have much turnover, other than retirement. So, for years, we have invested in our own people trying to give them the tools to do a better job,” Willett explains.

The Solution
Willett turned to the Nielsen Healthcare Group, (NHG), one of the oldest, largest and most respected firms specializing in providing interim managers to the health care field, for assistance.

NHG is a preferred provider for MHA’s Shared Services Affiliate, Associated Health Resources, Inc. Willett provided NHG with the requirements for an interim Chief Nursing Officer to mentor their incoming, permanent executive.

NHG researched all of the pertinent facts to ensure that the final candidate presented to RFGH would be a suitable match for the complexity and demands required by the assignment. Within days of receiving the order, Nielsen’s forwarded the credentials of three candidates to Willett from their network of more than 10,000 experienced health care executives and managers.

NHG candidates are presented to clients by resume, verified degree, confirmed licensure, written references and, when possible, a videotaped presentation which describes the candidates’ qualifications, experience, management style and accomplishments. Willett reports he conducted phone interviews, made his choice, and the interim manager was on the job within a few weeks of the request.

Willett says he was satisfied with the service, would recommend Nielsen’s to others and believes it is cost effective. “I’m not known around the state as being an extravagant spender but I look at some things as an investment and I think bringing in a mentor, to help our people grow, is a pretty sound investment.”

The Outcome
Redington-Fairview was able to give their DON some hands on guidance in their own work environment through mentoring by an interim from NHG.

Willett says he would use NHG again if the need arose. “It’s getting more and more difficult to identify potential leaders in many of the clinical departments and sometimes you have to grow your own and when you grow your own, there’s a learning curve. I’m more than willing to invest in giving my people a good crack at doing the job,” Willett concludes.

The availability of interim healthcare managers can provide an important option for providers. In addition to developing/mentoring an in-house candidate for promotion; interim managers from NHG can:

· provide support for a short-term need such as JCAHO preparation;


· help bring a new project or service on-line;

· head the restructuring, right-sizing or merger of departments, divisions or facilities;

· step into key management roles with little notice when a change in management is needed;

· allow clients to conduct an unhurried search for a permanent replacement or temporarily fill a key manager vacancy and

· provide consulting expertise (without a consultant’s overhead) in a hands-on manager.


Thanks to a contractual agreement between the MHA’s Shared Services Affiliate, Associated Health Resources, Inc., and NHG, members are eligible for an 8 per cent discount on this service. For additional information, contact Bruce Nielsen, President, or Greg Yank, Executive Vice President, at the Nielsen Healthcare Group, 20 Allen Ave. Suite 330, St. Louis, MO 63119; e-mail phone 314-984-0910; toll-free 800-581-8901, fax 314-984-0820. When calling, please reference you are a member of MHA.