Nursing Leadership

Diane Hanley, MS, RN-BC, EJD

Diane is currently the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Hallmark Health,Professional Practice, Nursing Quality and Educationfor Hallmark Health System.

Diane received her BS from Saint Anselm College in Manchester NH and her MS from Salem State College in Salem MA. She has successfully completed her Executive Juris Doctorate - Health Law as a distinguished scholar.

Diane has over 30 years of nursing experience in hospital organizations in a variety of positions. Diane's professional experience includes being the Chair and member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing for five years, the Director of Practice and Quality, and the Director of Cancer Care Education and Practice and Quality.

Among her many accomplishments she cites: Achieving Magnet designation at two institutions, developing and implementing the Nursing Quality dashboard, co-led two successful JCAHO hospital surveys, developed and implemented student placement program for area schools of Nursing.

Diane is credited with over 20 presentations and 10 publications and is a member of many professional organizations.

Judy Thorpe, MS, RN, NE-BC

Judy is currently the Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Hallmark Health,Nursing Operations, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. Judy received her BS, Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in Durham NC and her MS from Boston College in Chestnut Hill MA. She is certified in Six Sigma (green belt). She began her career as a staff nurse in the Cardiothoracic ICU at Memorial Hospital, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC. After graduation from Boston College, she worked for almost twenty years as a nurse manager in both academic and community hospitals in the greater Boston area.

In addition, she has been responsible for the implementation of a variety of projects aimed at patient safety and satisfaction including electronic medication administration with bedside scanning. In her role, she is responsible for nursing operations at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital including inpatient medical/surgical, intensive care, obstetrics, surgical services and inpatient psychiatry.

Nancy Pheonix Bittner, PhD, CNS, RN

Dr. Nancy Phoenix Bittner, PhD, CNS, RN- Dr. Bittner is Vice President for Education at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Hallmark Health System and has held multiple roles in professional and academic nursing settings. Dr. Bittner’s major academic roles have included positions within faculty roles as Professor and within multiple leadership roles most recently as Assistant and then Associate Dean for the School of Nursing, Science and Health Professions at Regis College. She received her Diploma in Nursing at Memorial School of Nursing in Albany, NY, BSN from SUNY and her Masters and PhD from the University of Rhode Island.

In addition, Dr. Bittner has held a number of practice based roles including Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Research Scientist most recently here at HHS.  Dr. Bittner’s other work has included the development and implementation of global initiatives such as the Community Health Nursing Clinical Experience and Mission in Villa El Salvador, Peru. Dr. Bittner’s Professional Accomplishments related to work in evaluation include appointments to New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) as a program evaluator as well as a Site Evaluator for Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE). She has been a Program Evaluator for National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission since 2001 and a member of the Evaluation Review Panel since 2004.

Dr. Bittner is involved in professional organizations as well as key committees at the state, regional and national level focusing on addressing the issues related to nursing education. Currently, she is a Co-leader for the Massachusetts Action Coalition, and member of the DHE Education Redesign Institute Committee. In her practice area of critical care, she is a member of the AACN Horizon’s Education Committee and President of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Greater Boston Chapter.

Dr. Bittner’s program of research is focused on critical thinking, delegation and missed care. Her most recent publications include articles regarding this line of research in addition to other research on the nursing faculty shortage and global initiatives. She has conducted numerous presentations related to her research at the state, regional, national and international levels. 

Cheryl Warren, MS, RN, System Director of Clinical and Fiscal Integration

Cheryl Warren, MS, RN, leads the case management department for Hallmark Health System. (HHS). Cheryl possesses a wide range of leadership skills. Her past experience includes management positions at Boston Medical Center where she was responsible for Case Management and several other hospital departments. She has a strong foundation in leadership and extensive experience in care coordination, discharge planning and utilization management. Cheryl brings that broad care management experience to HHS and assures that we provide our patients the right care at the right place and time.

Carol Downes, MSN/MBA, RNC

Carol Downes is the Director of Maternal-Newborn Nursing at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. As such, she is responsible for oversight of Labor and Delivery, the Mother-Baby Unit and the Special Care Nursery.

Carol has worked at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital for more than 30 years in a variety of clinical settings within Maternal-Newborn Services. She has been a member of the nursing leadership team since 1999..

Carol holds a baccalaureate degree in nursing from Salem State College and is a graduate of Salem State College’s MSN/MBA Program. She is certified in Inpatient Obstetric Nursing by The National Certification Corporation and is board certified in Nursing Administration Advanced by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Dauren Nowell, BSN, RN

Dauren Nowell currently holds the position of Director of Psychiatric Nursing at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Hallmark Health Systems. This position assumes 24-hour responsibility and accountability for care delivery and resource allocation on the two inpatient Geriatric Medical-Psychiatric Units (18 bed non-secured unit and a 16 bed secured unit) on the Lawrence campus.

Ms. Nowell oversees a multidisciplinary team comprised of nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, occupational therapy staff, mental health workers, and secretarial support staff. She is responsible for implementing all operational and administrative decisions for the Medical-Psychiatric Program. She works collaboratively with the Associate Chief Nursing Officer, the System Director of Behavioral Health Services, the Chief of Psychiatry and other directors at Hallmark Health to continually promote high quality patient care.

Ms. Nowell has worked at the Lawrence Memorial Hospital for the past 15 years. During this time, she has successfully led her team through Joint Commission and Department of Mental Health re-licensing surveys, has positively impacted quality care on her units through the implementation of best practices and has given numerous presentations related to the behavioral health issues of older adults.

Ms. Nowell holds a baccalaureate degree in Nursing from Marquette University and is currently enrolled in graduate studies at Regis College. She is currently a member of the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives.

Carol Plotkin, LICSW

Carol Plotkin LICSW, is the System Director for Behavioral Health at Hallmark.Ms Plotkin has more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health care delivery systems, including hospitals, outpatient services, and managed care.Prior to joining Hallmark in 2009, Carol held positions as the Executive Director of Psychiatric Services at Cape Cod Healthcare and as Vice President of Program Development for Health Partners New England.Throughout her career she has been responsible for overall operations for a variety of Behavioral Health programs throughout New England, including adult, geriatric and child inpatient units, crisis assessment teams, and outpatient clinics.Ms. Plotkin continues to partner with colleagues to promote excellence in patient focused behavioral health care that meet the needs of the community.She has a particular interest in safety initiatives, restraint prevention and the integration of behavioral health and primary care.

Ms. Plotkin has consulted locally and nationally on clinical operations and customer service in health care. She has worked in the areas of managed care, physician education and clinical practice.Ms. Plotkin is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.She is an active volunteer with the American Red Cross as a Mental Health Disaster Specialist.

Kathleen Taylor, RN, BA

Kathleen Taylor is in the new position of the Nursing Informatics Specialist. She has a B.A. in biology from Trinity University in Washington D.C. and a baccalaureate degree in Nursing from Holy Family University in Philadelphia. Her experience has been in psychiatric nursing and as a nurse on a TCU unit. Most recently she has been a Nursing Informatics Educator. She will be part of the team that will implement new clinical information systems and monitor their impact on nursing care. " I recall the first time I was able to pull up a patient's lab value quickly because of the new computer system my hospital had just rolled out, and that planted the seed that brought me to nursing informatics. I want others to have that same positive experience with computers that I had."

Anthony Alley, BSN, RN, NE-BC

Anthony J. Alley BSN, RN, NE-BC has been employed at Hallmark Health Systemfor the past eight years where he has assumed progressive leadership roles. Anthony is currently the Patient Care Director for The Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine as well as Medical 4, a 38 bed Medical-Surgical, Pediatrics and Hospice Unit and Cummings Orthopedic Surgical 5 both at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. In addition, Anthony co-chairs the Hallmark Health Ethics Committee and is a voting member of the Institutional Review Board. Anthony graduated with his BSN from the University of Massachusetts, Boston with the honor of Summa Cum Laude. He is currently matriculated in the MSN program at Loyola University with a specialty in Health Care Systems Management. Anthony recently earned his Nurse Executive certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Anthony is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society, as well as the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the American Nurses Association, the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses and the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses, which he currently serves as President-Elect for the Greater Boston Chapter #123. Anthony has also been an active member of The American Assembly of Men in Nursing and has presented his poster on Men in Nursing: A Historical Perspective at events such as the Christine Cameron Nursing Research Symposium and the Massachusetts Board of Nursing Centennial Celebration.

Anthony is passionate about nursing research and evidence-based practices, quality patient care, shared governance, and the importance of professional practice.

Karen Costigan, BSN, RN, NE-BC

Karen Costigan, BSN, RN, NE-BC is a long term employee of Hallmark Health System with twenty five years of nursing experience in critical care and progressive leadership roles. She currently provides direction and strategic planning as the Patient Care Director for a diverse 39-bed medical, surgical, and cardiac unit at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.

Karen co-chairs the Patient and Family Education Council and Fall Prevention Committee. She is passionate about quality patient care, a culture of safety and promotion of health and well-being.

In August of 2010, Karen traveled to Haiti leading a group of Hallmark Health System employees providing care to the residences of Northern Haiti, as well as, educational services to their caregivers.

She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Nursing Leadership and Health Administration at Regis College. She has been involved in research and is NIH certified. She has recently earned her Nurse Executive certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center and is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Brenda MacPherson, BSN, RN-BC

Brenda MacPherson, BSN, RN-BC currently holds the position of wound care nurse at Hallmark Health System (HHS). MacPherson started working at HHS in 1992 in dietary. She obtained her BA in athletic training and worked for HHS's Rehabilitation Services Department as an athletic trainer. She obtained her ASN from Bunker Hill Community College in 2008 and started working in a long-term acute care facility specializing in wounds. She graduated with her BSN from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2010 and will be finishing her Master’s degree in forensic nursing at Fitchburg State University in 2014.

In 2010 she began working on Melrose-Wakefield Hospitals' Medical 5, a medical-surgical telemetry unit and was a resource for patients with wounds and pressure ulcer prevention. She was a clinical teacher on Medical 5’s Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) for the Lawrence Memorial-Regis College Nursing Program and co-chair of the New Grad Resident Council. MacPherson has been involved with Medical 5's Unit Council, Falls, Safe Patient Handling, Patient/Family Education Committees and is co-chair of the Wound Care and Prevention Committee. She has been a presenter and a poster presenter at the Christine Cameron Symposium for Evidenced Based Practice.

She traveled to Haiti in 2012 with HHS physicians and employees to help provide care and help educate staff. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and International Association of Forensic Nurses. 

Lisa Duffy, MS, CCNS, RN-BC

Lisa Duffy is currently the Patient Care Director of West 2, 3 and the ICU at Lawrence Memorial Hospital/Hallmark Health System in Medford. She has worked in many areas of clinical practice as well as academic during her career. She received her BSN from Salem State College, in Salem, MA and her Master’s Degree as an Acute/Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist from Regis College in Weston, MA. Lisa has worked in many roles throughout her nursing career; her specialties include oncology, IV therapy, telemetry, medical/surgical, critical care, orthopedics and urology.  After receiving her Master’s degree she worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the education department here at Hallmark Health. She also worked as adjunct faculty for the School of Nursing at Regis College. Thereafter she joined the staff development department overseeing the inpatient clinical areas as well as instructing at the Center for Professional Development. Lisa is certified through the AACN as a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist. She is also a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

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