Surviving Acquisitions: Perspectives of Chief Nurse Executives

Saturday, 28 October 2017: 3:15 PM

Ruthie L. Robinson, PhD
Stacey Knight, DNP
JoAnn Gay Dishman School of Nursing, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX, USA

Hospital mergers and acquisitions are occurring on a weekly basis in the U.S. Most are done to enhance the viability and market share of one or both of the organizations involved. Done well, these transactions can strengthen organizations. Done poorly, scarce human and financial resources are wasted.

According to the American Hospital Association (2016), 561 deals involving over 1260 hospitals have occurred between 2010 and the end of 2015. That represents over 22% of all registered U.S. hospitals.A review of the recent literature reveals discussions of mergers and acquisitions from a business viewpoint. Surprisingly, nothing speaks to the impact of these transactions on the people involved. And, no research has been done looking at perspectives of nurse leaders involved in mergers and transitions.

This discussion reveals results of a qualitative study of nearly twenty current or former Chief Nurse Executives (CNE) from across the country who underwent mergers or acquisitions. Participants were CNEs in hospitals ranging from rural facilities to major academic medical centers. Although each was a unique situation, their stories were remarkably the same despite the variances in size in terms of the impact of the transaction on patients, the staff, and on themselves-both professionally and personally.

CNEs on both sides of these transactions had much to say about what went well and what went wrong. More importantly, they shared insights gained only through someone who has been through the experience and shared advice for other CNEs who may be facing this event.

Attendees will leave this session with a good sense of what it is like to go through a merger or acquisition. Attendees will also leave with additional leadership competencies in a changing healthcare environment and a checklist of “what to do” and “what not to do” if and when they are faced with leading through a merger or acquisition.


American Hospital Association. (2016). Trendwatch chartbook 2016: Trends affecting hospitals and health systems. Retrieved at