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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Beth Houlahan, MSN, RN, CENP

Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services,

Chief Nursing Officer, UW Hospital and Clinics


Beth Houlahan, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing OfficerBeth Houlahan, MSN, RN, CENP joined the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics as Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer in June 2011.


Beth comes to UW Hospital and Clinics with experience in both academic and community hospitals, and in ambulatory and physician practice settings. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President Patient Care Services at Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a 445-bed facility. In this role, she was responsible for clinical, operational and financial leadership for nursing and clinical inpatient and outpatient services for Mercy Medical at five campuses in Cedar Rapids, including an acute care facility, Medical Plaza, Alcohol and Drug Outpatient Treatment Center, and an Inpatient Hospice House.


Her accomplishments include developing a patient care model and council structure that promoted shared decision making and shared governance, implementing a fully automated pharmacy that facilitated the deployment of clinical pharmacists to the inpatient floors. She also helped develop a strategic and business plan for using Lean principles, creating a nurse residency program, and integrating quality outcomes and core measures into practice to drive evidence-based practice.

Prior to joining Mercy Medical Center, Beth served for 13 years in a variety of administrative roles at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She was the co-director of a service leadership initiative for more than 7,000 employees, clinical director of a primary care center staffed by 300 physicians and 100 staff, and nurse manager responsible for the daily clinical operations in the Department of Medicine. Additionally, her professional background includes serving as nurse manager, office manager, and staff nurse in physician practices, and as a staff nurse in radiology.

Beth received her BSN from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and her MSN from the University of Iowa. She also completed the Johnson and Johnson Wharton Nurse Executives Fellowship program, and was active in the Iowa community, serving on a variety of community boards and professional organizations.