When Heather Quesnel RN, BSN, MS, saw the advertisement from Waldo County General Hospital looking for a chief nursing officer, she did her research and liked what she saw. She said: “I was looking for an organization that had positive energy and it was love at first sight. I found the Hospital has a strong financial position and wonderful quality care.”

Quesnel is now the chief nursing officer at the hospital. She has already shared with nursing staff that she operates from a platform of servitude. She said: “I am here to serve the staff so they can best serve the patients. Together, we will determine our vision, which will be founded on the principles of collaboration, unity and fueled by their passion. My belief is that I should have the smallest voice thereby giving the staff the ability to speak their minds and share their opinions. They are at the bedside and that is most important.”

“My goal is to create a solid shared governance model; that is, giving the power to the bedside nurse as long as we follow best practices and evidence-based nursing practices," Quesnel said. "I believe in the nurses at Waldo and trust them to participate in decision-making that affects their work environment and the patient experience. There is so much good happening. I plan to just make it shine a little brighter.”

She also believes in the nurses being partners with the providers while remembering that the patient is the main partner. “The patient is in the middle and the rest of us work together to meet the goals of the patient,” she said.

Quesnel, who has been a nurse for 23 years, says being in a leadership position doesn’t ever mean she is not a nurse. “I am still a nurse in my soul," she said. "You will see me at the bedside. I’m a hands-on leader and my nurse cup still needs to be filled by caring for patients. That’s where I get my energy and my juice.”

Quesnel and her family have already purchased a home in Hope. She lives there with her husband, her three children, Noah, 11, Amelia, 7, and Gabriel, 4, and her mother, along with a dog and six chickens.

Quesnel concluded: “I am absolutely grateful to have this opportunity. I am honored to serve the staff at Waldo and to lead from the heart. I want to create an environment that is nurturing, professional and open to opinions and feedback. I value everyone’s contributions.”

Quesnel’s past experience includes four years as director of nursing and administrator in training at a healthcare and rehabilitation center in Middlebury, Vt.; two years as a clinical instructor and faculty member of Castleton State College and Community College of Vermont; three years as a community health nurse; two years as a birthing center nurse; four years as a pediatric nurse; seven years as a school nurse; one year with AmeriCorps as the coordinator of the Chittenden County’s Healthier Communities Movement; three years as a director of community outreach and employee health in Maryland; and nearly five years in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

Quesnel received her Bachelor of Science in Nnursing from the University of Vermont and her Master of Science in nursing administration from the University of Maryland.