Jennifer Higgins, DNP, RN, NEA-BC
Chief Nursing Officer
Jennifer Higgins is responsible for leading nursing strategies that support Lee Health’s mission, vision, values and objectives. She works with other leaders within the health system to develop continuous improvement strategies for clinical quality, safety and patient experience programs in addition to creating strategies for the recruitment and retention of high-quality nursing staff. She is responsible for the Magnet Journey to Excellence process, which includes RN engagement, Patient Experience, Nursing quality indicators and strong collaboration with all areas across the system. She is responsible to lead key strategic service lines to include Oncology, Cardiovascular, and Orthopedics.
Jennifer began her career at Lee Health in 2000 when she joined the health system as an emergency room nurse. Throughout the years, she progressively advanced through a variety of key senior operational roles before being appointed chief nursing officer. Her most recent position was chief nurse executive at Gulf Coast Medical Center where she collaboratively developed a comprehensive transformation plan that included the successful opening of the first phases of the Gulf Coast Medical Center expansion project. As a part of the expansion, she also successfully moved the oncology and trauma program from Lee Memorial Hospital to Gulf Coast Medical Center and opened an 88 bed Emergency Department, and a new 52-bed ICU (intensive care unit) tower. Additionally, her leadership led to the early opening of 216 new acute care beds to help Lee Health manage the patient surge associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jennifer has achieved several advanced certifications, including Nurse Executive Advanced Certification, Certified Emergency Nurse and Advanced Trauma Nursing. She also participated in the Wharton Nurse Leaders Program, American Organization for Nurse Executives and is a past board member of the Southwest Florida Organization for Nurse Executives. She currently serves on the Greater Fort Myers Chamber and Lifelink of Florida Board of Directors.
She earned a Diploma in Nursing from St. Luke’s School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Florida, a Master of Science in Nursing from Walden University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at Walden University.