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Published on October 06, 2021

Gundersen welcomes new chief operating, nursing officer

Heather Schimmers

Heather Schimmers, MBA, RN, became familiar with Gundersen Health System during her two decades in Wisconsin healthcare, most recently as chief nursing officer for Ascension Wisconsin.

"I joined Gundersen to make sure voices are heard, that we're exceptional in our care for patients, and that we are inclusive in gathering a broad range of perspectives and data as we make decisions. I'm looking forward to jumping right in at Gundersen, meeting the people closest to the work, and building on this great organization's success," the system's new chief operating officer and chief nursing officer says.

"We are extremely pleased to welcome Heather to our leadership team at Gundersen and grateful she has chosen to bring her talent here," shares Scott Rathgaber, MD, Gundersen Health System chief executive officer. "With her expertise and experience, she will fit well into the organization and accelerate the delivery of our mission to all we serve."

Schimmers also served as the vice president of Patient Care Services for St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wis., and has deep experience with nursing practice, specialty care services, patient experience best practices, and building corporate culture.

"I've had the opportunity to lead strategic projects at the local and national level; I've developed multidisciplinary practice councils to bring key stakeholders together to discuss and improve care; and I've been part of major construction projects, where it was critical to get clinician, staff and patient input. I am excited to do the same to benefit Gundersen patients, staff, and our community."

Schimmers replaces Beth Smith-Houskamp, PhD, RN, who is returning to Michigan with her husband after serving at Gundersen since 2007.

Along with an associate degree in Nursing from Cardinal Stritch University, Schimmers received a bachelor's degree in Nursing and Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University/Purdue University Global.

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