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Heintz to lead NCHS nursing

North Country Health Services of Bemidji has hired a new nurse executive to oversee the nursing function throughout the organization.

Shirley Heintz was selected after an extensive national search process that took several months. Heintz will begin in mid-September.

She replaces long-time chief nursing officer Joseph Dahlby, who retired in May 2010. He held that position at NCHS for more than 20 years.

"Shirley comes to North Country with over 30 years of nursing experience," said Paul Hanson, NCHS president/CEO. "Much of that experience has been in larger hospitals with complex service lines, such as cardiology and oncology."

Heintz has extensive experience and has been given several awards for her exceptional work in redesign and reengineering of nursing care delivery. Her broad clinical and administrative experience has included acute care community hospitals to tertiary academic centers in the Midwest and Eastern half of the country. Most recently, she was vice president for patient care services with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in Kansas for nine and half years.

Heintz has a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Bishop Clarkson College of Nursing in Omaha, Neb., and a Master of Science from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich. She attended the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management in Chicago and has advanced certification in nursing administration. She has been active in furthering nursing practice through close ties with nursing schools, state committees and collaboratives. She has worked for the poor and underserved, especially women and children.

She and her husband, Mark Kennett, have three children.