ST. LOUIS – Understanding the critical role nurses play in the overall health outcomes for patients, Betty Jo Rocchio has been named Mercy senior vice president, chief nursing officer. As part of her enhanced responsibilities, she will also join Mercy’s senior leadership team.
In her expanded role, Rocchio will continue to lead more than 15,000 nurses across Mercy’s four states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. She will also work with other clinical leaders and teams to identify and standardize optimal care paths for patients, using data gleaned from Mercy’s robust electronic health record.
“By using evidence to show us the best path to care for our patients, we can enable our nurses to focus on what they value most: spending time at the bedside,” Rocchio said. “We know that’s what our patients want, too. They expect us to provide excellent health care, but many also choose Mercy for our compassionate care, which includes attention to their emotional and spiritual needs.”
Rocchio will draw from her experience of working closely with community-based chief nursing officers across Mercy and focus on creating innovative care delivery models, analytics to support decisions, and policies and procedures to streamline care delivery.
“Betty Jo has always been an ‘in the trenches’ leader,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO. “She’s a nurse at heart, so when she meets with nursing teams, she understands their concerns and shares in their triumphs. Everything she does is focused on helping our nurses be the best for those we serve.”
“We’ve been actively tracking nursing productivity for quite a while, and the numbers are clear,” said Donn Sorensen, Mercy executive vice president. “Our Mercy nurses are giving all of themselves and more to our patients each day. Betty Jo is passionate about creating a care environment where nurses can perform at the top of their capabilities and also have the support they need every day. Her daily guidance as part of Mercy’s most senior leadership team will keep us all focused on this critical objective.”
Rocchio has been with Mercy since 2013, initially providing leadership for perioperative performance. She was promoted to chief nursing optimization officer in 2018. In addition to holding a Bachelor of Science in nursing, Rocchio is also a certified registered nurse anesthetist, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice.
“My greatest desire is to serve our nurses and make it as easy as possible for them to do a very tough job,” Rocchio said. “If I can do that, I know their care for our patients will be second-to-none.”
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems for four consecutive years (2016 to 2019) by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care, managed and specialty (heart, children's, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 900 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 45,000 co-workers and 2,400 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy's IT division, Mercy Technology Services, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients from coast to coast.