Karen Mueller, RN, BSN, MBA has joined Mount Desert Island Hospital as the organization’s Chief Nursing Officer. In addition to more than 20 years in nursing leadership, her extensive clinical background includes skilled nursing and rehabilitation, critical care, medical/surgical and emergency nursing, oncology, geriatrics, home health and neonatal nursing. Her varied clinical experience has been an asset to her career in nursing leadership, she says. “It enabled me to see the bigger picture, the continuum of care.”
As the Chief Nursing Officer at MDI Hospital, Mueller hopes to streamline care processes and focus on building and maintaining a team environment and strong patient relationships with a focus on community-oriented care. She is known for developing and mentoring nursing managers, and takes an active interest in furthering the education of her team. She is a passionate mentor, wherever she sees potential, it is her instinct to foster it. When Mueller first met with MDI Hospital leadership and nursing staff to discuss the position, she knew it was the right fit. “I was impressed with MDI Hospital’s leadership, forward thinking,” says Mueller.”The organization maintains a very high quality of nursing, and I had immediate chemistry with the nursing staff.”
Born in Ohio, Mueller spent the bulk of her career in New England in various leadership and management roles. While she has had experience in both urban and rural medicine, she prefers rural healthcare for the closeness of its community, the ability to follow patients throughout their continuum of care and for its proximity to nature. “MDI Hospital really offers the best of both worlds,” she says. “The organization has outstanding academic partnerships and a community based feel.”
As active in her personal life as she is at work, Mueller loves to travel and has more hobbies and interests than she can count. Her adventurous nature has led her to travel the world, making stops in India, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Austria and Holland, and even to jump out of airplanes and try her hand at white water rafting. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, contra dancing, knitting, spinning, fiber festivals and spending time with her three cats, two dogs and two granddaughters.
Sometimes, her adventurous nature out of the office comes as a surprise to her coworkers. “I am much more conservative at work,” she says. Her ability to be open to change and new possibilities, however, has served her well in adapting to the ever-changing landscape of modern healthcare. “I pride myself on being adaptable. Healthcare is so dynamic, things are always changing. You have to be flexible creative, and willing to adapt, grow and change.”
Since joining MDI Hospital in November, Mueller has become an active participant in the nursing shared governance process and has joined the Lisa Stewart Women’s Health Center Advisory Committee. Mueller also serves as the current president-elect of the Organization of Maine Nurse Executives.
Mueller received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and Certification in Nursing Management from Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration from Kent State University in Ohio.