Michelle Welander, a long-time nurse and leader at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has been named chief nursing and clinical services officer of Batson Children’s Hospital and its statewide network of clinics, Children’s of Mississippi.
Effective Oct. 13, she will succeed Terri Gillespie, who was named the Medical Center’s chief nursing executive officer and chief nursing officer of the adult hospitals.
“It is an honor to have been named the CNO of the only children’s hospital in the state of Mississippi,” Welander said. “I’m excited to continue moving the children’s hospital forward and expanding on the foundation Terri has created for our health-care team.”
Welander joined the Medical Center as a staff nurse after earning her B.S.N. at the Mississippi University for Women School of Nursing in Columbus.
She said she began her career in pediatric nursing “with a passion to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.”
That passion was rooted in her experiences with the nurses who took care of her family during her mother’s battle with breast cancer.
During the past 20 years, she has steadily worked her way up to her most recent position as director of children’s heart services and clinical director of children’s critical care. During that time, she also earned her M.S.N. in nursing and hospital administration summa cum laude and her D.N.P., both at the UMMC School of Nursing.
“To have started my professional career as a nurse within the same organization I will now be leading is a testament to the investment our organization makes in growing our next generation of health-care leaders,” Welander said.
Guy Giesecke, Children’s of Mississippi chief executive officer, said Welander’s leadership has been a major reason for Children’s success during the last several years.
“She’s led some major initiatives and improvements for the children’s hospital and she’s done an outstanding job,” he said.
Welander believes “what is best for the patient” is at the core of a nurse’s work, and she said she recognizes that, as a leader, her passion has shifted to investing time in building collaborative, team-based relationships to provide the best patient care possible.
Giesecke said Welander sets high standards for herself and for her staff.
“She cares deeply about the development of her team and her leaders, who have all progressed very well with great attitudes,” Giesecke said. “As a leader, she is able to instill those qualities in her team.”
Welander is a member of several professional organizations, including the American College of Health Executives, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the Southeast Pediatric Cardiovascular Society.
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