Ellen Hansen, Children's of Mississippi's new chief nursing and clinical services officer, has been a leader in pediatric expansions at three of the nation's leading children's hospitals.
Ellen Hansen, Children's of Mississippi's new chief nursing and clinical services officer, has been a leader in pediatric expansions at three children's hospitals.
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New CNO brings hospital expansion experience to Children’s of Mississippi

Published on Monday, May 6, 2019

By: Annie Oeth,

Ellen Hansen, Children’s of Mississippi’s new chief nursing and clinical services officer, may be more prepared than most for UMMC’s pediatric expansion.

While every project is unique, this will be the fourth time in her career she’s served as a hospital leader at the opening of new facilities.

While Hansen served as chief operating officer and chief nursing officer at Baylor Scott & White Health McLane Children’s Medical Center and Clinics in Temple, Texas, a new children’s hospital expansion was opened.

Prior to serving at McLane Children’s, Hansen was director of medical surgical services at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona and system director of clinical informatics and director of critical care services at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta‘s Egleston Children’s Hospital. In both of those locations, children’s hospital expansions were opened.

These experiences have prepared her to help Children’s of Mississippi as it moves into a seven-story pediatric expansion in fall 2020.

UMMC nurses, from left, Renee Tucker, Brandy Wilson and Emily Whigham enjoy chatting with Hansen.

“A hospital expansion is a brief moment in time when cultural changes can happen quickly and it provides a defined target for processes to be improved dramatically before moving into the new space,” said Hansen. “It is an impetus like no other.”

The $180 million hospital addition will more than double the square-footage devoted to pediatric care at UMMC. The tower will include 88 private neonatal intensive care rooms, additional space for private pediatric intensive care rooms and surgical suites, an imaging center designed for children and a pediatric outpatient specialty clinic with a convenient parking garage close by.

The clinic will put specialists in cardiology, neurology, urology, orthopaedics, pulmonology and more, all in one location, which Hansen said will make care more convenient for thousands of families in the state.

“Few of our patients only see one specialist,” Hansen said. “Having multiple specialists in one location will support collaborative care as multiple disciplines focus on each patient.”

The advent of private NICU rooms, a first for the state, will allow families to bond with their children as they grow.

The current NICU at Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants cares for the state’s most critically ill infants in open bays. The unit was built for about 30 newborns but about three times that number of babies are cared for there.

“It will involve a massive culture change,” said Hansen, who began her career as a NICU nurse. “Private rooms are wonderful for the families, but will dramatically change clinical workflow for our youngest patients.  Fortunately, we have a great interdisciplinary team that is up to the challenge!”

Hansen holds a master of science degree in health care policy and administration from Mercer University in Atlanta and a bachelor of science in nursing from the Medical College of Georgia.

Portrait of Guy Giesecke

Children’s of Mississippi CEO Guy Giesecke said Hansen brings with her leadership experience gained in some of the nation’s best children’s hospitals.

“Ellen is coming to Children’s at a time when her wisdom and experience are greatly needed,” Giesecke said. “She has led large organizational moves into new construction, and she has also made significant improvements in quality and experience.  I appreciate that Ellen will be able to help our services continue to move to new heights working with our physicians and other clinical leaders.”

Dr. Mary Taylor, Suzan B. Thames Chair, professor and chair of pediatrics, said Children’s of Mississippi physicians look forward to working with Hansen and the nursing and clinical team now and after the expansion opens in fall 2020.

Portrait of Dr. Mary Taylor

“Nurses are often a doctor’s eyes and ears,” Taylor said. “The quality of the care we provide depends on the communication and teamwork among doctors, nurses and technicians. As the numbers of doctors and nurses in Children’s of Mississippi grows with the opening of our expansion, Ellen Hansen will be vital in fostering this synergy.”

Hansen said coming to Mississippi represents not only the opportunity to assist in the move into a new hospital tower but also the chance to make an impact in children’s health care.

“One of the things that attracted me to Mississippi is the number of children here who do not have access to needed health care,” she said. “Some might be frightened by the challenge of providing health care to underserved populations, but I find it inspiring.”

Children’s of Mississippi’s strength is in its caregivers, Hansen said. “We have a lot of dedicated people here who are passionate about patient care,” she said. “They care about the patients, families and communities they serve.”