KING CITY — Mee Memorial Hospital in King City has promoted Kirsten Featherstone to chief nursing officer, replacing current CNO Elisa Moylan following her retirement effective June 26.
Requiring strong leadership and communication skills, the chief nursing officer fulfills a wide variety of regulatory duties beyond connecting patients with the care they need. Featherstone will help set patient care standards, establish processes and protocols for achieving those standards, and manage the work of nurses and other clinical practitioners.
For Moylan, it was a tough decision to retire, although somewhat long overdue.
“This will be a huge change for me,” Moylan said. “I’ve been working since I was 15. It’s not necessary to state the exact number, but I’m years past the retirement age. The truth is no one knows how much time they have left; our time do other things in life is limited. I felt it was time for less stress and more relaxation. We can’t work forever.”
Moylan has spent nearly the last 60 years in hospitals. At age 15, she worked as a nurse’s aide before becoming a nurse.
She began formal training in 1963 at the University of Massachusetts School of Nursing. It was a four-year program and she graduated right during the height of the Vietnam War. Recruiters from the military came to classes looking for candidates and she signed up — beginning her career as a military nurse.
“With Kirsten joining our executive team, and working alongside Elisa until her retirement this summer, we are confident that we have identified the right individual who will assist us in our efforts to fulfill our mission, vision and values — ensuring that we continue to provide the highest quality of care to our community while remaining committed to teamwork, compassion and integrity,” said Mee Memorial Healthcare System CEO Rena Salamacha.
Currently serving as Mee’s house supervisor, Featherstone brings more than 30 years of nursing experience, significant clinical knowledge, program development and education to her new role. She is currently enrolled in a yearlong CNO Cohort program focusing on rural healthcare.
Born into a medical family, Featherstone was raised in San Luis Obispo by her mother, a nurse, and her father, the department chair for physical education and kinesiology at Cal Poly.
Featherstone began her career in healthcare at the age of 16 as a certified nursing assistant and has worked in hospitals since that time. Her first RN role was as a Intensive Care RN in 1987. She graduated from the nursing school at CSU Bakersfield in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
In 1991, she graduated from UC San Francisco with a Master of Science degree in physiologic nursing, focusing on critical care, trauma-emergency and cardiovascular nursing.
Since her graduation, Featherstone has worked as a clinical nurse specialist in critical care and other hospital specialties.
Throughout her career, she has supported nursing staff and hospital operations through expert clinical practice, consultation, education, quality improvement activities and leadership. She has served as trauma program manager at Level 1, 2 and 3 trauma centers, and developed Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center programs at four hospitals.
Featherstone came to MMHS in January 2020, serving as Emergency Department and Cardiopulmonary manager, during which, along with her team, she led the development of the Emergency Department’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
She became house supervisor in 2021 before her promotion to chief nursing officer in June 2022.
An avid cook and gardener, Featherstone lives in Atascadero with her husband Tom and beloved Rottweiler Bella. Married for 31 years, the couple share four grown children.
In her time off, she has served as 4-H project leader for sheep, rabbits and cooking at Rio Rancheros 4-H in Atascadero, and she raises and shows her own rabbits.