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Family atmosphere appealing to Hillcrest South's new CNO Kelly Clark

Family is a word that means something to Kelly Clark. When the term was brought up during Clark’s initial meeting with Hillcrest Hospital South leadership, the New Mexico resident knew he was in the right place.

“That completely resonated with me,” said Clark, who had never been to Oklahoma. “And it’s the way that Hillcrest South lives. Everybody knows your name. Everybody is welcoming. They live it and I loved that right off the bat.”

Clark, MHA, BSN, RN, CPPS, was named the new chief nursing officer (CNO) in April 2022. Despite not having much prior experience in Oklahoma, it was Clark’s family that piqued his interest in the Sooner State. His mother moved to Guthrie within the year prior to Clark joining Hillcrest South.

“My wife helped my mom find a house when she was moving,” he recalled. “When my wife came back, she said, ‘We’re moving to Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma.’”

Clark comes to Hillcrest South after spending the past 22 years in Las Cruces, New Mexico, including 19 years at MountainView Regional Medical Center in various roles. He spent the past five years as the hospital’s CNO.

Regarding his new surroundings, Clark said he has been impressed with his Hillcrest South colleagues and environment.

“It’s incredible to work with the nursing leadership team that is already here,” he said. “They are such a high-performing group that is dedicated to a culture of improvement and developing.”

Family also played a role in Clark’s initial interest in health care. At age 14, Clark lost his father to leukemia following a four-year battle.

“Being able to live through that really drew me more to health care and gave me an interest in nursing,” he said. “My interest has evolved over time.”

Clark said his top priorities as Hillcrest South CNO are culture development, nurse retention and the hope of growing the future of nursing.

“I want to help create an environment that nurses want to work in, an environment that draws them in to be part of the team,” Clark said.

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