Deborah C. Small, MSN, BSN, RN, NE-BC is vice president, patient care services and chief nursing officer for Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital, which has more than 500 licensed beds and a certified Level II Trauma Center. With more than 30 years in the nursing profession, her career spans five states, nine hospitals and several professional and community organizations. She has held varying leadership roles from system-wide management as associate chief nursing officer for clinical practice and research to clinical management in cardiac, medical/surgical, critical care and surgical services nursing.
With a strong administrative, academic and clinical background, her career successes include the development and implementation of patient satisfaction programs, safety and positive healthcare initiatives and Cleveland Clinic’s system-wide professional nursing practice model. Bringing added value to the leadership team, Small is knowledgeable in shared governance programs, the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® accreditation, and quality management and performance improvement processes, including regulatory agency standards like those of The Joint Commission.
- MS in Nursing Administration, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1994
- Business Certificate, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1994
- BSN, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, North Carolina, 1978
*Currently pursing DNP, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
- Board Certified Nurse Executive (NE-BC), American Nurses Credentialing Center
With leadership competencies in strategic business development, service line management, quality improvement, evidence-based healthcare and customer satisfaction, Small has fostered a management style that emphasizes creativity and the ability to inspire, challenge and motivate others. In her current role, she is responsible for the strategic planning, direction and evaluation of Fairview Hospital’s comprehensive, integrated nursing practice. Additionally, she interacts with the organization’s medical executive committee and board of governance to formulate policies and practices regarding nursing care. Small began her management career at North Broward Hospital in Pompano Beach, Florida, and Wake Medical Center in North Carolina.
Small’s clinical practice lies within the area of critical care nursing, with additional experience in medical/surgical nursing.
Throughout her career, Small has served as a legal nurse consultant and taught medical/surgical and critical care nursing, including care delivery in the clinical setting and the instruction of skilled development in the laboratory setting. She has served as an adjunct professor and clinical instructor at the following institutions:
- University of Akron College of Nursing, Akron, Ohio
- Carlow University School of Nursing, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Research, Publications & Presentations
Small has presented locally and nationally for various organizations, including the American Organization of Nurse Executives, Voluntary Hospitals Association, American Heart Association and more. She has also contributed to publications such as The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing and others, with her works highlighting topics like patient-centered care, the ‘point of care’ system and the organization of nursing information, and staff nurses’ perceptions of unit base quality assurance. Additionally, she has worked with numerous staff members on various evidence-based practice projects.
View a selection of her work.
Small D, Small R. Patients First! Engaging the Hearts and Minds of Nurses with a Patient-Centered Practice Model. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 2013; doi:10.3912/OJIN.Vol16No02Man02
Small, D. “Point of Care” System: The Organization of Nursing Information. Nursing Dynamics. Vol. 3, No. 3. 1994.
Small, D. Staff Nurses’ Perceptions of Unit Base Quality Assurance. Duquesne University Microfilm. 1994.
“Patient Engagement Using a Discharge Preparation Checklist: Sustaining Positive Patient Experiences” and CNO panel member at the 4th Annual Cleveland Clinic Empathy and Innovation Summit; Cleveland, Ohio; May 21, 2013.
“One Day at a Time: The Pulse Point of Employee Engagement” at the 46th Annual American Organization of Nurse Executives meeting; Denver, Colorodo; March 21, 2012.
“Through the Eyes of the Patient” at the 11th Annual Medical/Surgical Nursing Conference; Cleveland, Ohio; May 14, 2012.
“Front and Center: How Nursing Care Drives Quality” at the Cleveland Clinic Quality Retreat; Cleveland, Ohio; Nov. 9, 2009.
“The Marriage of the Magnet Journey” at the Voluntary Hospitals Association; Sandusky, Ohio.
“Nurturing Magnetic Communication” at the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Annual Magnet® Conference; Louisville, Kentucky; October 2009. [poster presentation].
“Physician Nurse Collaboration Who’s on First” at the Marcus Evans Healthcare Chief Nursing Officer Summit; Palm Springs, California; October 2008.
“Non-Compliance, its Everybody’s Problem” at the 9th Annual State of Nursing Conference, American Heart Association, Akron, Ohio; May 2006.
“Stress Management for Nurses” at the 8th Annual Diane Carrabine Lecture Series, Akron, Ohio; December 2004.
Honors & Awards
- Ohio Organization of Nurse Executives Leadership Award Nominee, 2013
- YWCA Professional Women in Leadership, 2012
- Leadership Portage County, 2007
- The Coleman Foundation Community Service Award, 2006
- Ohio Hospital Association Albert Dyckes Health Care Worker of the Year AGMC Nominee, 2004
- Wake Medial Center Leadership and Service Award, 1989
Throughout Small's tenure as chief nursing officer, Fairview Hospital has received the following honors:
- Full Accreditation, The Joint Commission, 2012-2015
- Magnet® Designation, American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2009
- Full Accreditation (highest commendations on noted best practices), American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Network, 2011-2014
- Full Accreditation, Breast Program, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), 2012-2015
- Full Certification, American College of Surgeons for Level II Trauma Center, 2012-2015
- Chest Pain Accreditation, Society of Chest Pain Centers, 2010-2013
- Baby-Friendly designation, World Health Organization, 2012-2017
- Women’s Choice Award, U.S. News Best Hospitals, 2013
- Excellence Award, Lactation Care, International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and International Lactation Consultant Association, 2013
- Ranked four within Cleveland-area hospitals’ Top 10, U.S. News and World Report, 2011; and Ranked five, 2013
- Get with the Guidelines® - Stroke Silver Plus Award, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, 2013
Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital
18101 Lorain Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44111