Kim Francis

PBN Health Care Heroes 2024
Women & Infants Hospital chief nursing officer

What led you to choose health care as your profession? I have always found myself wanting to serve people and my community. Nursing seemed like a perfect fit for me. From a young age, I was curious about the profession and once I began my schooling, I fell in love.

How have you helped boost the quality of or access to health care? One of my proudest initiatives is implementing an infant feeding program, Baby Friendly, in a large academic medical center at Women & Infants. This program improves the heath of mothers and their infants and provides equal access to resources and education to all women throughout the country.

What is the biggest challenge you and your organization are facing this year? The biggest challenge is recruitment and retention of talented nursing staff [members]. Over the next 10 years, we will have a profound nursing shortage. I am working with my colleagues within our system to devise strategies to help recruit and retain a talented workforce at Women & Infants and throughout [Care New England Health System].

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What more do you feel the state can do to help further support the health care sector in Rhode Island? The nursing and physician shortage in the coming years will have a profound impact on the state. I think we are headed in the right direction by passing the Nursing Compact state law as well as moving forward on the NCLEX [National Council Licensure Examination] bill. Some strategies that could also help deter the shortages include loan forgiveness or tuition reimbursement to keep the health care talent here.