Dawson appointed chief nurse executive

Cindy J. Dawson, MSN, RN, CORLN, has been appointed chief nurse executive (CNE) for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, effective Feb. 12, 2018. She has served as the interim chief nursing officer (CNO) and associate director of UI Hospitals and Clinics since July 2016.

Dawson’s appointment comes after an extensive national search and is a reflection of the search committee’s confidence that Dawson’s nursing expertise, along with the leadership she has demonstrated in the past year and a half, make her the right leader for the Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care. Hospital leadership have been particularly pleased with the impressive results Cindy and her team have achieved in recruiting and retaining high-quality nurses as well as improving employee engagement and quality metrics. In addition, she has continued to foster a close working relationship with the UI College of Nursing and Dean Julie Zerwic, collaborating on research, education, and clinical care projects.

Dawson has more than 40 years of experience at UI Hospitals and Clinics, beginning as a staff nurse in otolaryngology and moving into leadership roles soon after. Prior to serving in the interim CNO and associate director role, she was director of Ambulatory Nursing Services in the Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care. She is a frequent presenter at local, regional, national, and international meetings and is the author or co-author of many articles and book chapters focused on evidenced-based practice, nurse triage, nursing management/leadership, and clinical practice guidelines.

Dawson is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing, Oncology Nursing Society, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nursing, where she held several leadership roles, including president.

She has been recognized as one of Iowa’s 100 Great Iowa Nurses, has received three Improving Our Workplace Awards from the University of Iowa, and a Presidential Award from the Society of Otorhinolaryngology and Head-Neck Nurses. She holds a bachelor of science degree in Nursing from the University of Iowa, a master of science degree in Nursing Administration from the University of Phoenix, and is a certified otorhinolaryngology nurse.

Please congratulate Cindy on her new position.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS, Cindy. I am so happy for you. I know you will continue being a great leader for the Dept of Nursing and the entire organization. I am proud to have had you for a dear friend all these years.

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