Judy Pechacek

Judith M. Pechacek, DNP, RN, CENP - Board Member ~ Clinical Professor, Assistant Dean, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, Katherine R. & C. Walton Lillehei Chair in Nursing Leadership University of Minnesota, School of Nursing. Judith is a Senior Quality Scholar at the Veterans Administration Quality Scholars Program. She is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health. She teaches health care leadership in the pre-licensure Bachelors, and Masters nursing programs and Executive leadership, quality, finance, and organizational culture in the Doctorate in Nursing Practice Program.


Prior to this role Judith was the Chief Nursing Officer, Vice President of Patient Care for a 390- bed acute care hospital in Minnesota. Prior to serving in these roles Judith was the Director for Clinical systems in Information Management Services, accountable for the design, testing, training and implementation of clinical information systems for the health care system. Her professional nursing practice includes direct care provision and clinical nurse leader in critical care, and progressive nursing management positions.


Judith started her educational journey by becoming a nursing assistant in the 1970’s. She then worked her way through school to become an LPN, Associate Degree RN, Bachelors degree RN, graduate school with honors. She was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau in 1993. Judith finished her Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree in 2009. Judith is a founding member of Minnesota Nursing Informatics, an upper Midwest Nursing professional organization focused on the advancement of nurses in the field of informatics. Dr. Pechacek Board service includes Inver Hills Community College Foundation Board chair and past development committee chair and Minnesota Leaders in Nursing (MOLN) Public Policy and Advocacy board chair.


Dr Pechacek is also an inaugural member of the Behavior at work collaborative, an interprofessional team of leaders in the Midwest interested in education, tools and training for health care clinicians interested in improving their environment and culture. She published several articles on span of control, implementing clinical automation, clinical transformation, clinical quality, use of data and the nurse executive’s role.


Work with Healthy Environment Initiative (HEI): As Vice President of Patient Care for a large mid-western medical center, I was committed to improving organizational culture. The baseline culture tolerated unhealthy behaviors that included 12% sick utilization, 15% nurse turnover. Only 60% of the staff were satisfied with the culture and ranked teamwork and safety at 70%. Patient satisfaction with the care was ranked at 74%. The interprofessional team desired to move to a new healthy, accountable, empowered, and engaged culture that fostered respectful behaviors at all times. To accomplish this goal we implemented a program called Healthy Environment Initiative (HEI) for the entire facility of 2000 employees. This interprofessional program included three critical elements. First, partnership between the nurse and physician leaders of the HEI work team was vital. Second, it was essential the interprofessional team be the co-creators, designers, educators and supporters of new behavior expectations, interventions, and modes of communication.


Last, the project had to be data driven. Data was used to inform and drive the cultural change improvements. Within three years the sick rate improved by 75%, turnover reduced by 40%. Staff satisfaction improved by 43%, and safety and teamwork improved by 36%. Patient satisfaction improved by 15%