Stephanie Meade, Vice President of Nursing at Mercy Health – West Hospital, has been chosen by The Health Collaborative as a finalist for the 2017 Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award. Her leadership has been critical to the success of the Mercy health system’s relatively new West Hospital, providing both high clinical and high business value.

Meade, who will earn her doctorate in nursing practice at the end of the year, doesn’t keep best practices to herself. She supports her nurses who engage in research and presents nationally herself. She has succeeded in creating a culture of engagement among the nursing team, and, in turn, the nursing team’s emotional commitment to Mercy Health and its goals drives the strongest staff retention figures, and the highest patient satisfaction scores & patient safety scores, Mercy Health has ever experienced on the West Side.

About the Award
First presented in 2003 in memory of Dr. Richard Smith, a tireless leader and proponent of the safety of all patients, the award recognizes an individual or team who exemplifies commitment to quality improvement, makes it an organizational priority, and serves as a role model for those working to enhance the quality of care within their organization and throughout the community. The award is presented by The Health Collaborative, a Cincinnati healthcare improvement nonprofit, at its annual dinner and awards ceremony known as Inspire | Healthcare – set this year for November 1 at the downtown Renaissance Hotel.

Dr. Smith’s spirit of ongoing improvement is alive and well at Mercy’s West Hospital, due in part to Meade’s support of research and innovative thinking among her nursing staff. In addition to their charge of providing excellent patient care, Meade’s nurses have published and presented research on topics including best practices in emergency department for patient flow & satisfaction, and best practices in performing EKGs to increase nurse competency & decrease patient mortality. Meade herself has presented “How to Inspire Excellence when Reductions Force Redesign and Quality Prevails” for The American Organization of Nurse Executives.

As the newly hired Vice President of Nursing, Meade was responsible for opening a new hospital in 2013 that combined the staff and operations of Mercy Health – Mt. Airy and Western Hills Hospitals into West Hospital. West Hospital also added new team members to provide services, such as open heart surgery and labor and delivery not previously available on the West Side.

A natural leader
Meade’s supportive attitude and innovative, collaborative approach position her as a natural leader and a strong candidate for the Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award. “Studies show that the more engaged nurses are, the higher the patient experience scores are and the better patient safety is in the organization,” says Marie Leist-Smith, Mercy Health Director of Nursing Practice and Research. “This is what’s happening at West Hospital. It all ties in together.”

Under Stephanie’s leadership, every nursing unit at West Hospital has outperformed the national average for engagement in relationship to nurse autonomy, leadership access, inter-professional relationships, teamwork & collaboration, and professional development.

Engaged nurses stay on the job, driving down labor costs. The hospital’s nurse vacancy rate is at an at all-time low of 3.4% and Stephanie decreased the turnover of new nursing graduates in first year of practice from 55% to 5%. At the same time, money spent with nurse staffing agencies to fill vacancies has lowered significantly, from $4.5 million to $2.5 million, saving West Hospital $2.1 million dollars in staffing costs.

Engaged nurses also deliver better care. Under Stephanie’s watch, patient falls decreased from 4 to 2.6 per 1000 patient days and hospital-acquired C. diff infections halved from 12 to six per 1000 patient days. in addition, patient experience scores have gone up each year since both hospitals merged and are all above the national average (2014 vs. 2016 total year scores vs. national average):

  • Overall patient satisfaction rating increased from 74.8 to 79.2, national average 70.8
  • The communication with nurses score increased from 79.9 to 81.9, national average 78.5
  • Patient leaving hospital with discharge instructions rose from 87.1 to 91.7, national average 86.6

“Stephanie is an outstanding leader who has demonstrated unwavering advocacy of patients and a commitment to supporting the employees of Mercy Health – West Hospital,” said Michael Kramer, Mercy Health West Market President and CEO. The Health Collaborative and its Quality Improvement staff invite the community to join them in congratulating Stephanie Meade for her exemplary dedication to advancing nursing care, and her award finalist status.

About Inspire | Healthcare:
Inspire | Healthcare is the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region’s premier annual healthcare event and awards celebration. The awards seek to recognize innovations by individuals, teams, and/or organizations in the areas of informatics, quality improvement, and population health. Other awards given annually include the Inspire Champion Award and the Hoxworth Blood Drive Awards, with separate nomination and judging processes. For more information about Inspire | Healthcare, visit

About the Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative strives to lead data-driven improvement initiatives that result in healthier people, better care, and smarter spending. Based in Cincinnati, we work with those who provide care, pay for care, and receive care, to find mutual solutions to healthcare’s most challenging problems. For more information about The Health Collaborative, visit