MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University Health System today (July 5) announced the appointment of Melanie Heuston, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., as its first chief nursing executive (CNE). Dr. Heuston starts in her new role on Monday, Aug. 22.
Heuston is a highly accomplished nurse executive who most recently served as the senior nursing executive at Meritus Health in Hagerstown, Maryland. During her tenure at Meritus, the organization attained the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet credential in April 2019. The Magnet credential is the highest national honor for professional nursing practice.
Prior to Meritus, Heuston held several senior leadership positions at UPMC. She was also adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing for several years and served as vice president of clinical education, training, and workforce development at the Institute for Transfusion Medicine in Pittsburgh.
“I am excited to have Melanie join the Health System’s senior leadership team at such a pivotal point as we continue to expand our services and grow our organization,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO, said. “She will be critical team member as we continue to develop innovative ways to sustain and grow our nursing workforce.”
As the Health System’s CNE, Heuston will work to develop a more integrated and strategic approach to systems, processes, and tools to enhance nursing staff efficiency, foster further collaboration, increase reliability and confidence, and improve performance.
She will lead the Health System’s Nursing Affinity Group and work closely with its members, the WVU Medicine hospital presidents, and their chief nursing officers to provide support for all nursing practice and clinical services across the Health System. She will also be responsible for leading the integration and coordination of nursing practice while also working to support the Health System’s efforts to increase nurse recruitment and retention. Finally, she will develop strategies to create a more robust pipeline of nursing talent for WVU Medicine’s hospitals and clinics.
“I am grateful to Albert for the opportunity to join such a dynamic organization that is highly committed to its patients and the nursing profession,” Heuston said. “I look forward to being the voice of nursing across the Health System.”
Heuston started her nursing career as an ICU staff nurse and obtained her graduate degrees in nursing – both her Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Science in Nursing – from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2020, the ANCC awarded her its Certified Nurse Award (Nurse Executive, Advanced), one of many professional awards she’s received in recognition of her outstanding work in her profession.