Dr. Carol Jefferson Ratcliffe
Carol Ratcliffe has influenced nursing practice, serving as a mentor, teacher, executive, and an ambassador for change in the delivery of care for the past 25 years. With a career that includes 11 years in the operating room and the last 14 as a chief nurse executive, she has never been afraid to ask tough questions or tackle tough issues. In Louisiana, she spearheaded grassroots efforts to expand nursing practice in the sedation of patients. There she provided testimony to the legislature and drafted language for the Board of Nursing. Under her leadership, the first bloodless medicine and surgery program was developed in that state. Her case study on this effort was recognized by the American College of Health Care Executives in 2004. Returning to her home state of Alabama in that same year, she assumed the position of Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive at Medical Center East which would later become St. Vincent’s East. There she successfully integrated the new nursing role of clinical nurse leader into the hospital’s patient care delivery model, making St. Vincent’s East one of the first hospitals outside of the VA System to do so. Moreover, Dr. Ratcliffe has had unprecedented success in the recruitment and retention of nurses, with vacancy rates of less than five percent and voluntary turnover of less than three percent. A visionary leader, Carol has served in various leadership capacities at local, state, and national levels including chairing Review Panel Hearings for The Joint Commission and the Examination Committee for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Dr. Ratcliffe’s BSN is from The University of Alabama, her MSN is from UAB, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice is from Samford University. She is a certified perioperative registered nurse, and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Ratcliffe remains an exemplar of leadership in action at every level.