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  • Senior VP Katherine Bechtold awarded prestigious nurse fellowship

    Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows Program provides leaders with professional development, coaching, education

    Katherine Bechtold, MHA, BSN, the Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., has been named one of just 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows for 2013.

    Bechtold joins a select group of nurse leaders from across the country chosen to participate in this world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the United States health care system.

    Bechtold is working to ensure patient safety and quality care through transformational leadership, shared governance, and empowerment of nurses across the entire MultiCare Health System, including tertiary to ambulatory primary services, home health, and hospice. 

    “I believe in the power of nursing to improve patient health,” Bechtold said. “As a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow, I look forward to connecting with nurse leaders across the country and getting ahead of the curve in this time when our health care system is undergoing so much change. I want to increase the professionalism of nursing and hire more nurses who are prepared with BSN degrees when possible. I really believe in the Institute of Medicine’s future of nursing report, which recommended that more nurses continue their education. During this fellowship, I also hope to help identify new models of care, decrease problems with patient handoffs, and promote nurse residency programs.”

    Before joining MultiCare in 2011, Bechtold served as Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President for Patient Care at Colorado hospital facilities in the Centura Health Systems. She serves on Regional Hospital’s board of directors, on the Metropolitan Development Council, and on the Advisory Board of the School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University.

    Begun by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care in their communities, states and nationally. The program will provide Bechtold and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations working to improve health and health care. The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and co-directed by: Linda Cronenwett, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Beerstecher Blackwell Term Professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and David Altman, PhD, executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.

    “At this pivotal moment when the country’s health care system is being transformed, we need nurse leaders to help ensure that the changes we adopt improve patient and population health,” Cronenwett said. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program is building and enhancing the leadership skills of talented nurses around the country. Our alumni are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of accomplished nurses, and we know that Katherine Bechtold and the other members of our 2013 cohort will also make enormous contributions to improving health and health care in our country.”

    Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their fellowships, and each develops, plans, and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community.

    For more information about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program visit

    Posted on Sep 6, 2013 in News Release, Trophy Case