UK HealthCare

Swartz Selected for National Nurse Fellowship

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aus. 18, 2011) − Colleen Swartz, chief nurse executive at UK HealthCare, has been named one of just 21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows for 2011. Swartz 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. 

Swartz is UK HealthCare's first chief nurse executive, taking on the position in 2009, with the objective of ensuring professional nursing practice across the organization. Her progressive leadership roles include serving as trauma nurse coordinator, in which she successfully established a Level-One Trauma Center program; director of emergency/trauma services; and chief nursing officer at a 100-bed nonprofit community-based hospital. She plans to focus at least part of her work with the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program on using electronic medical records to identify and provide early intervention to patients whose conditions are deteriorating clinically.

Begun by RWJF in 1998, the ENF program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Swartz and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and health care. The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and co-directed by Linda Cronenwett, 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, executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.

“The Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, issued last fall, underscores the importance of nurse leadership as we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” Cronenwett said. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program is building and enhancing the leadership skills of extraordinary nurses around the country.  Our alumni are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of accomplished nurses, and we know that Colleen Swartz and the other members of this new cohort will join them in doing great things. The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program supports nurse leaders with potential to develop innovative ways to improve health care delivery."

 "I’m thrilled and honored to have been selected for this wonderful program,” Swartz said. “I hope to use the opportunity to become a better investigator, and to develop a network of nurse leaders around the nation from which to learn.”

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 during the fellowship each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community.

The fellowship is supported through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For more information about the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program visit:

Media Contact: Ann Blackford, (859) 323-6442 or