Jackie Gonzalez, Renowned Nursing Leader, Retires from Nicklaus Children's Health System

Published on: 01/12/2021

After 41 years of distinguished leadership at Nicklaus Children's Health System (NCHS), Jackie Gonzalez, health system senior vice president and chief nursing officer, has announced her retirement. Ms. Gonzalez is recognized nationally and internationally for her longstanding leadership and commitment to patient care and safety.

"We are enormously grateful for Jackie's many contributions to our organization throughout her tenure," said Matthew A. Love, president and CEO. "She is truly the heart of nursing at Nicklaus Children's and has led initiatives that have earned us recognition around the globe. We are so fortunate that she has been, and will always be, part of our NCHS family." 

In 1980, Ms. Gonzalez joined Nicklaus Children's Hospital (then known as Variety Children's Hospital) after receiving her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She advanced steadily within the organization, a tribute to her commitment to patient advocacy, quality patient care, tenacity and compassion. Ms. Gonzalez also devoted herself to advanced education, earning both her master's and doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of Miami, and a master's in business administration from George Washington University. She has served as a guest member of the nursing faculty at both the University of Miami and Florida International University, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. 

Ms. Gonzalez was promoted to chief nursing officer for Nicklaus Children's Hospital in 1998 and in 2020 was named chief nursing officer for the health system. Achievements from her tenure include: 

  • In 2003, Ms. Gonzalez led the hospital's nursing team to its first American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet designation, a coveted recognition awarded to hospitals that meet the stringent standards for designation. The hospital was the first children's hospital in Florida and the fifth in the nation to achieve Magnet designation. The hospital has since achieved Magnet designation four consecutive times, a feat matched by only six children's hospitals nationwide at the time of the announcement in January 2019. 
  • Under her leadership, all inpatient care units at Nicklaus Children's achieved American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Beacon Awards for nursing excellence, an accomplishment that no other children's hospital has yet achieved. 
  • Ms. Gonzalez spearheaded the nursing team's creation of the Humpty Dumpty Falls Prevention Program, a pediatric inpatient falls prevention tool now in use in more than 1,500 hospitals around the globe. The tool, which has helped reduce accidental pediatric patient falls in hospitals worldwide, has been translated into 16 languages and was awarded the ANCC Magnet Prize™ for innovation in 2015. Nicklaus Children's was the first pediatric hospital to win the Magnet Prize. 
  • Ms. Gonzalez was honored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce as its 2017 Health Care Hero in the nursing category. 
  • She was key to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, becoming one of the nation's first sites for pediatric medication barcoding to enhance patient safety. She was also part of the team that brought electronic medical records to the hospital.
  • Ms. Gonzalez serves on the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies Visiting Committee, which provides advice and counsel to the dean related to the mission, goals and strategic plan of the school.
  • She has also served on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.
  • And she has authored several articles and book chapters. 
For more information, please contact Rachel Perry Bixby, 305-898-9165.

About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Where Children Matter Most (2024)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 850 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 307-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.

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