Cary announces new chief nursing officer

CARIBOU, Maine — Jennifer N. Plant, RN, OCN, a Fort Kent native who has been with Cary Medical Center since 2001, has been named the hospital’s new chief nursing officer, a position which took effect June 1.

Plant had taken an interim position as assistant chief nursing officer in December 2019.

Kris Doody, RN and CEO at the hospital, said that she was very pleased to provide the leadership opportunity to an in-house candidate.

“It is always special when you can draw on your own team and grow them into leadership,” said Doody, who is also CEO for Pines Health Services. “Having an upward mobile environment is motivating for staff and rewards those who have demonstrated excellence in meeting the high clinical and patient satisfaction standards we have made part of our culture. Jenn will make an excellent leader for our award-winning nursing staff.”

Plant earned her associate degree in nursing from Northern Maine Community College in 2009.  She also has a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of Maine and is currently enrolled in a master of business administration degree program at Husson University. 

She has held numerous positions at Cary. She began as a registered nurse on the acute care unit, where she did bedside nursing and worked as a staff charge nurse. From 2011 to 2015, Plant worked as a nurse educator/informatics nurse.  In this role she compiled and reported quality management data regarding patient safety and staff compliance.  She also coordinated student clinical rotations, externships and preceptorships as well as other duties. 

In 2015 she stepped into a management role when she was appointed nurse manager of the Jefferson Cary Cancer Center.  She accepted the position at a time of great growth and expansion. She helped lead the center to gain national recognition QOPI certification.  In August 2019 Plant became interim manager of Cary’s surgical services department, where she gained beneficial experience working with the surgical team.

“My experience in surgical services gave me some additional perspective on a host of quality and safety standards and helped me get a good picture of this unit of hospital operations,” said Plant.

Plant did not start out wanting to go into nursing but her experience working as a unit secretary drew her into the profession.

“I watched members of my family go through nursing school and their work in nursing, and recognized what a commitment it is, the tough schedules, workload, and I chose to go into sociology. But as I worked on the nursing units through college, I just got the calling and have enjoyed my career, particularly working with staff, and doing all I can to make them successful. Our nursing staff takes exceptional care of our patients and I am happy to be here supporting them.” 

Plant was enthusiastic about the nursing department.

“I think we have the perfect place and the right people to build a structure to promote 

success. My goal is to build on our culture to support longer retention and increase employee satisfaction,” said Plant. 

“I also want to work with individual nurses to get a sense of their long-term goals and create more opportunities for advancement. We have a great culture and a very supportive environment here with great potential for growth,” she said.  

Plant replaces Paula Parent, RN who served as chief nursing officer and director of human resources at Cary. Parent, who will mark 35 years at the hospital in 2020, will stay on at Cary on a per-diem basis for special projects. 

Parent said she was pleased to hand off the role to an experienced nurse.

“I think it is very important for a leader in nursing to have experience as a bedside nurse,” said Parent, who served as nurse manager of cary’s intensive care unit and director of education prior to her role as CNO. 

“Jenn has had that experience and she understands the challenges and rewards of caring for patients. She also has progressive management experience, she is familiar with budgeting, staffing and is a true advocate for the nursing service,” Parent said.

Submitted by the Community Relations and Development Office of Cary Medical Center/Pines Health Services.

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