Sue A. Behrens, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, NEA-BC, is chief nursing officer (CNO) for Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital. With more than 35 years of experience, she is responsible for strategically planning and leading nursing functions and services for the 500-bed hospital, ensuring superior clinical and patient care standards are met. Prior to her current position, Behrens spent seven years in nurse leader roles at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD), Cleveland Clinic’s first multispecialty hospital outside North America and home to the health system’s most diverse nursing team. She was instrumental in the planning and activation of the facility, establishing clinical direction for nursing care delivery in ambulatory, emergency department, procedural, and imaging settings and developing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) scope of practice for advanced practice providers.
From 2018 to 2021, Behrens served as CNO for CCAD where she led nursing caregivers to many accomplishments, including the first-ever American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet® recognition for the UAE medical sector in 2019, and the first Emergency Nurses Association Lantern Award given outside the U.S. in 2020. Prior to Cleveland Clinic, Behrens spent more than 25 years at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, an academic medical center in Peoria, Illinois, where she led and managed emergency and trauma services, disaster preparedness, medical response teams and more. Early in her career, she served as an emergency department nurse and educator, as well as a life flight nurse. Behrens began her nursing career in 1984 at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria, Illinois. She is a board-certified advanced nurse executive and clinical nurse specialist and holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
- Executive Fellowship in Innovation Health Leadership, Arizona State University, 2016
- DNP, Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, Peoria, Illinois, 2012 (graduated with distinction)
- MSN, Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, Peoria, Illinois, 2006 (graduated with distinction)
- BSN, University of Saint Francis, Joliet, Illinois, 1996
- Diploma in Nursing, Methodist Medical Center, Peoria, Illinois, 1984
- Board Certified Advanced Nurse Executive (NEA-BC), American Nurses Credentialing Center
- Board Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (ACNS-BC), American Nurses Credentialing Center
Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital
6780 Mayfield Road
Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124
Behrens believes that passion is key to leadership success. As a leader, she strives to inspire others, promote the mission and values of Cleveland Clinic and provide a world-class patient experience. She is a known advocate for patient safety and high-quality care delivery. During her time at CCAD, she helped create the advanced practice provider program, junior caregiver program, patient companion program and other programs designed to enhance caregiver education. At OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, she partnered with colleagues to develop the first Disaster Preparedness Department in the state of Illinois, and managed the hospital’s Magnet® designation process, as well as two recertifications. In 2016, she was part of the Executive Fellowship in Innovation Health Leadership, a cohort-based program to prepare professionals for executive leadership responsibilities that drive innovation.
Clinical Practice & Teaching
Behrens’ clinical areas of expertise include emergency services, trauma services, flight nursing and disaster preparedness.
Behrens served as a faculty member of the Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing’s graduate doctorate program from 2012 to 2016. Earlier in her career, she was the Emergency Department Educator at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. She has also served as a trauma life support instructor, emergency nurse pediatric course instructor and coordinator, and trauma nurse core course instructor and coordinator.
Research & Publications
Behrens participates in speaker and poster presentations on a variety of topics, ranging from succession planning for nurse leaders to sexual nurse examiner programs and stroke treatment. As a board member and medical advisory committee chair for Friends of Children of Haiti, she gave several presentations related to caring for patients following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. She was principal investigator for a pediatric asthma research project with the U.S. Children’s Hospital Association in 2014. In 2018, Behrens published a journal article on constructing an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) practice model in the UAE.
- Member, Emergency Nurses Association
- Member, American Organization for Nursing Leadership
- Member, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing
- Member, Society of Trauma Nurses
- Co-founder and Board Member, Antrepriz Vole Kayiman
- Board Member and Medical Advisory Committee Chair, Friends of the Children of Haiti
- Past Member, UAE Nursing and Midwifery Council
- Past Member, UAE National Strategy Task Force for National Nursing Sustainability
Honors & Awards
- Nursing Excellence Exemplary Professional Practice Award, Nurse Leader, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, 2013
- Excellence in Professional Nursing Award, Education Excellence, OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, 2000
- Sikorsky Helicopter Rescue Award, 1991
Behrens’ led CCAD to achieve the following:
- Lantern Award, Emergency Nurses Association, 2020
- ANCC Accredited Provider for Nursing Continuing Professional Development Activities, American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2020
- ANCC Magnet® Designation, American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2019
- Stroke Accreditation, The Joint Commission, 2018
Behrens’ led OSF Saint Francis Medical Center to achieve the following:
- Accreditation as a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, Illinois Department of Health, 2014
- Lantern Award, Emergency Nurses Association, 2013
- ANCC Magnet® Designation, American Nurses Credentialing Center, 2005 (with two re-certifications)