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Dr. Karen Hendrickson, SoutheastHEALTH vice president and chief nursing officer, retired earlier this month after a distinguished career as a nurse, administrator and education pioneer.
Hendrickson, who has been at the helm of the nursing department since 1982, first started at Southeast in 1966 when she helped set up the hospital's first intensive care unit. She was also instrumental in the development of the hospital's open heart surgery program.
Thanks in part to Hendrickson, the SoutheastHEALTH College of Nursing was established in 1990. Since then the college has seen 500 individuals complete their education as a registered nurse.
Another major accomplishment of Hendrickson's was having the hospital designated as a Magnet hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. After first being designated in 2004, the hospital was redesignated in 2009.
Hendrickson's impact goes beyond Southeast Missouri or even the United States. She has traveled abroad, representing, through a partnership, the hospital and Southeast Missouri State University on a trip to China. She's also lectured and given presentations in Western European and Switzerland.
Nursing care is a critical component to quality health care. Thanks in part to Karen Hendrickson's leadership, more nurses in Southeast Missouri are better prepared to meet the needs of area patients.