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Meet Our CNO

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Carrie Howard-Canning

Chief Nursing Officer

"By sharing your own story - and being open to hearing that of others - we all become more vulnerable, which makes us even better health care professionals. When stories are revealed and connections are made, the impressions can last a lifetime."


Who am I?

I began my nursing journey at Clinton Community College, graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1992 at the age of 19. That was the beginning of an adventurous path through a variety of settings, including medical-surgical, oncology, the emergency department, a Veterans Affairs clinic, summer camp and an adjunct nursing facility. Life-long learning is important to me, and I have always worked towards career goals in this space, including getting my BSN, MSN and MBA. My work in nursing has taken me to different places across the region, including University of Vermont Medical Center, Elizabethtown Community Hospital and Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital. I have worked at CVPH since 2000 and have thoroughly enjoyed every day here. I am the mother of 4 children and live an extremely busy life of organized chaos. I wouldn’t have it any other way! If you see me outside of work, I’m likely doing something active and enjoying the outdoors, as those are the things that fill my bucket.

What is a Chief Nursing Officer responsible for?

Chief Nursing Officers (CNO) have a demanding, complex role that commands accountability in leading the nursing profession and achieving quality patient outcomes. The CNO is responsible and accountable for oversight and influence over the professional nursing practice in all areas where nursing staff work. The CNO is also accountable for standards of practice and ensuring each individually licensed nurse abides by the scope of practice as outlined in the state in which they practice.

What do I do every day?

This means I get to work with others daily to make a difference and improve the way we take care of our patients and people. That means spending time with our nurses to understand their work, how I can best support them and advocate for the things that are important to each of them. I strongly believe that you cannot lead people if you do not know people. My days are filled with one-on-one meetings and discussions, spending time in places where we take care of our patients and one another, and supporting teams and committees to achieve the desired goals or outcomes.  Every day, I look for ways to ensure the nurses are heard, which includes listening to what others need from nurses, in order to create a collaborative and healthy work environment.

How does a CNO impact the daily work of nurses?

Although CNOs usually do not work on the floor, their broad influence impacts the practice of nursing, patient care and clinical outcomes. CNOs make high-level decisions regarding clinical and patient standards. They also develop policies and procedures with involvement and input from staff.

The key priorities I focus on as CNO are:

  • Maintaining a healthy, competent, robust nursing workforce
  • Aligning nursing goals with the key performance indicators so together we can better support initiatives in the organization
  • Improving the nursing staff work environment
  • Leadership development
  • The role of technology in health care communications
  • Efficiency and patient safety
  • Determining how health care reform will impat health care organizations and hospitals, including nursing