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Striving for Greatness

Striving for Greatness

April 03, 2023 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time


In December 2019, Melissa Bennett, DHA, RN, CPPS, NEA-BC, FACHE, joined the CHI Saint Joseph Health team. Since then, she’s taken on the roles of senior vice president, market chief nursing officer and chief operating officer. Bennett works alongside other health care executives and employees to ensure every CHI Saint Joseph facility provides excellent care to every patient.

“Every CHI Saint Joseph Health team member brings unique talents to the table,” Bennett said. “I get to interact with all of them. Together, we think through how to continue doing our best for patients and their families.”

Back and Forth and Back Again

Originally from Ohio, Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing, learned about travel nursing and jumped in feet first to take care of patients in different parts of the country. Then, in the 1990s, she held various positions at Healthcare Corporation of America, including executive leadership roles that taught her to manage teams within a large, multisite system.

Bennett eventually returned to Ohio to help care for her father, earn her doctorate degree and work at a local hospital. When another hospital system purchased and closed her facility, the lifelong horse lover knew where she wanted to settle: In Kentucky.

“It was the best career move I ever made,” Bennett said. “How we minister to our community, patients and families and keep the healing presence of God in all we do ... that drew me.”

Riding Her Way to Balance

“My work-life balance is made possible by horses,” said  Bennett, who has two saddlebred horses, Camouflage and Ann’s Royal Memory.

On a good week, Bennett rides them twice a week. On a great week, she’s at a horse show, making an appearance in the saddlebred circuit. In June, Bennett and Camouflage were Grand Champion in the Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Adult category. They will compete in the Kentucky State Fair this summer.

“When I get on a horse, I don’t worry about anything,” Bennett said. “I can put my phone down for one or two hours, reconnect and get re-energized to take on whatever life has for me.”

At CHI Saint Joseph Health, life has her working on something new right now.

“The model of nursing has been the same for 50 to 75 years, but health care has changed,” Bennett said. “The pandemic has shown us we need to think differently. As a result, we are developing some fascinating pilot programs that have the power to change what nursing looks like. One of my goals is to help nursing and clinical leaders be the best they can be.”

A version of this article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 print edition of Spirit of Health.

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Spirit of Health magazine's print edition is distributed quarterly and focuses on topics related to our CHI Saint Joseph Health purpose and values.