Chief Nursing Officer Brings National Exposure to Alegent Health
Release Date: 11/04/2008

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  COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. – Alegent Health may serve patients in Nebraska and southwest Iowa, but its message of healing now reaches across the country, thanks to one busy Chief Nursing Officer (CNO). Besides representing nursing at all levels in the system, Connie Blietz, RN, BSN, MBA, NE-BC is also accountable for all hospital nursing practice as Alegent Health Mercy Hospital’s chief nurse executive. Yet, she still finds time to travel the country to spread the news of Alegent Health’s work. “I think we do have some wonderful stories to tell at Alegent Health and at Mercy Hospital,” said Blietz. “We don’t always step back and realize all of the good work we are doing.” While in Salt Lake City for the National Magnet Conference last month, Blietz invited approximately 150 people to walk with her through Mercy Hospital’s journey to achieving Magnet status. Most of the people in the audience were CNOs themselves – many from non-Magnet hospitals. Almost everyone came looking for guidance from someone who knows the difficult path they will face if they take on the challenge. Just five days later, Blietz was unpacking in Chicago – preparing to bring yet another story to an entirely new audience at the 2008 Planetree Annual Conference. Planetree, a strong advocate for patient-centered care, selected Blietz to speak to attendees about how Mercy Hospital has developed tools to reach clinical excellence. “Patients can smell the baking cookies in a kitchen and they can relax in an environment designed to aide their recovery. But patients can’t measure their clinical experience. That’s why hospitals still have to make sure they are providing the highest level of care they possibly can,” said Blietz. “Anyone who has the opportunity to learn from Connie should feel privileged. She constantly impresses me with her leadership – not only for our nursing staff, but for the delivery of high-quality patient care across all disciplines,” said Marie Knedler, Alegent Health vice president and Mercy Hospital chief operating officer. Besides the recent speaking engagements, Blietz has also given presentations in Phoenix and Des Moines. She even reached listeners from one end of the country to the next at the same time, during a national webinar with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. “It’s always so rewarding to speak at these events because they are so impressed with what we have done,” explained Blietz. “I like being out there to represent Alegent Health, but I love to represent Mercy and how we really are providing clinical excellence to our patients every single day.” About Alegent Health Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 9,000 employees. Alegent Health is ranked first in the country in quality and patient satisfaction according to the Network for Regional healthcare Improvement (NRHI). That exceptional commitment to providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person keeps Alegent Health faithful to its Mission, which was inspired by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation and behavioral health. Alegent Health is online at