Board Member Spotlight: Cathleen Wheatley

Cathleen Wheatley, DNP, RN, CENP
President, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop worrying. It serves no purpose.

Where is your favorite vacation spot?
The Caribbean - any island, any time.

What made you want to pursue a career in nursing? 
The privilege of caring for others, the rigor of the science and the desire to be relevant to societal needs.

What book should every nurse read?
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. It is a journey through so many aspects of the human experience that nurses deal with every day.

What is a fun fact many people may not know about you?
 I love lemon desserts.

About Cathleen

Cathleen A. Wheatley, DNP, RN, CENP, is President of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., and System Chief Nurse Executive and Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations for Wake Forest Baptist Health (WFBH). Dr. Wheatley joined WFBH in September of 2014 as Chief Nurse Executive and was promoted to President of the Winston-Salem campuses in April 2019. 

In her role, she is responsible for the overall performance of health system operations on the Winston-Salem campuses, inclusive of Brenner Children’s Hospital, and for oversight of nursing practice throughout the health system. Dr. Wheatley has extensive experience as a healthcare executive, both nationally and internationally. Prior to joining WFBH, she served as the first Corporate Nurse Executive of SEHA, Abu Dhabi Health Services, in the United Arab Emirates. During her tenure with SEHA, Dr. Wheatley was responsible for the professional practice and development of more than 9,000 Nursing and Allied Health professionals and for the coordination of care in the advancement of patient outcomes throughout SEHA’s 12 hospitals and 62 ambulatory care clinics. Dr. Wheatley previously held senior leadership positions at Dekalb Regional Health System in Atlanta, Ga., serving in various roles including Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Operating Officer, Chief Nurse Executive, and Chief Quality Officer.  

Dr. Wheatley earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing at Georgia State University and her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at the University of Central Florida. She is Board Certified with the American Organization of Nurse Executives as a Certified Executive in Nursing Practice and has completed the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Nurse Leader Program. Dr. Wheatley has professional affiliations with the American Nurses Association, N.C. Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, N.C. Organization of Nurse Leaders, American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. 

Dr. Wheatley is a Board Member of the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR) and a CNO Council member for both the Beryl Institute and the HealthLeaders CNO Exchange. Dr. Wheatley serves on the advisory boards of several schools of nursing including Capella University, the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, and Winston-Salem State University. Her philanthropic interests include the economic independence of women in developing countries and educational preparatory programs with a global focus. She is a current sponsor of Women for Women International and a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Atlanta International School.

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