Debbie Kisner

Debbie Kisner, PhD, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC

Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer

“It is an honor to practice in and give back to the community where I grew up. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center has afforded me many opportunities to grow and develop. I took advantage of every one of them. If you are engaged and involved, you will be sought out to participate in many projects. This fueled my passion for nursing. As a leader, I try to give back to the nursing community by tapping individuals on the shoulder and getting them involved when I see something I know they are passionate about.”

About Debbie

Debbie Kisner, PhD, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, has over 35 years of experience as a nurse.  She holds an Associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County – Essex Campus, a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Maryland, a Master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from Kennedy-Western University.  She has spent the last 25 years in a variety of nursing leadership roles at MedStar Franklin Square. Her current role is vice president for Nursing Operations, or as she likes to call herself, “CNO Lite”.

In this role, Debbie works closely with nursing, leadership, physicians, and support services to remove barriers to patient care and improve patient outcomes. She believes in transformational leadership and empowering nurses at all levels to have a voice in decision making that directly influences safety, quality, and nursing practice.

Debbie believes in hiring exceptional nurses, providing them with a comprehensive orientation, and giving them opportunities for professional growth and development. She is a mentor for both the leadership team and the staff and continually aims to mold future nurse leaders.   

Debbie holds certifications as a Nurse Executive, an Operating Room Nurse, and a Six Sigma Green Belt. She is a member of the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE), the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), and the American Nurses Association (ANA).

Magnet Designation

One of the most rewarding experiences of her career was achieving Magnet redesignation. “When we achieved our initial designation we got to share our story of excellence with the nursing community," Debbie says. "It was a very proud moment for me. The redesignation was much harder because we had to not only tell our story but back it up with hard data.  I was fortunate to take a lead role in the writing of our document and the actual survey.  I saw firsthand the dedication and passion of our nurses. It was an experience I deeply treasure and will never forget!”  

Debbie believes Magnet-designated hospitals strive to challenge nurses to grow through specialty certifications, formal and continuing education, and professional development opportunities. She encourages nurses to embrace lifelong learning and apply their knowledge at the bedside.

“Our highly-engaged nurses are making a difference for our patients through safety, quality, and patient experience,” Debbie says.

Adopting to Changes in the Healthcare Industry

In Debbie’s years as a nurse she has seen many changes. Regulatory agencies have become increasing proscriptive around quality and patient experience outcomes; care is provided in many different settings; and technology has grown exponentially, taking a much larger role in daily operations. “When I began practicing as a nurse you had much more time to interact with the patient,” Debbie says. “Now technology has changed that interaction and nurses spend a great deal of time with that technology.  In order to best care for our patients we need to combine the high tech with high touch; our patients must be at the center of everything we do.”  She believes communication and collaboration are key to ensure the best possible care and outcomes for our patients.