Linda Walton, DNP, RN, CENP, is chief nursing officer (CNO) at Cleveland Clinic Indian River. In her role, a position she has held since March 2017, Walton leads, coordinates and oversees nursing operations for the 332-bed, not-for-profit hospital, located in Vero Beach, Fla. She is responsible for developing the nursing and clinical strategy, establishing nursing standards of practice, managing clinical operations, and ensuring regulatory compliance and patient safety. Walton’s rich career history encompasses nearly 40 years in the nursing profession – including almost a decade in CNO roles and 20 years as a commissioned officer for the United States Army Nurse Corps.
She began her nursing journey as a clinical nurse at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco. She worked her way up the professional ladder through various management and leadership positions at 121 Army Hospital in Seoul, Korea; Keller Army Community Hospital in West Point, New York; Reynolds Army Community Hospital in Fort Sill, Okla.; Darnall Army Community Hospital in Fort Hood, Texas; and, the 21st Combat Support Hospital (Operation Iraqi Freedom) in Mosul, Iraq. Walton is certified in executive nursing practice and actively involved in several professional organizations, such as the American Organization for Nursing Leadership.
- DNP, University of Central Florida, 2022
- MSN, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1993
- BSN, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 1983
- Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP), American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
- Patient Safety Executive Development Program, Institute of Health Care Improvement
Cleveland Clinic Indian River
1000 36th Street
Vero Beach, Florida 32960
772.567.4311, ext. 2160
Throughout her career, Walton has stood out as a dynamic, dedicated leader. She’s held several director and clinical nurse manager positions, was an assistant chief nursing officer and, prior to her current role, served as CNO at South Lake Hospital and Orlando Health Physicians Group in Orlando, as well as the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wis. With a passion for patient safety and a drive to deliver the highest-quality patient care possible, Walton has led caregiver teams and nursing operations in various settings and environments, at times successfully overcoming challenges such as limited technology. Some of her notable recent achievements, include establishing a nurse leader assessment and development program, developing and implementing a nurse residency program and critical care internship, reducing patient falls and hospital-acquired pressure ulcers to outperform the Florida Hospital Association mean, and more.
Clinical Practice & Teaching
Walton’s clinical area of expertise is in intensive/critical care and emergency nursing as well as geriatric nursing care.
Walton has always taken a teaching-based approach to her work and believes in nurturing the future generation of nurses. During her time at Darnall Army Community Hospital, a teaching hospital, and Reynolds Army Community Hospital, she served in director roles creating and managing hospital education and staff development programs, security operations, and emergency management planning. Her work led to the implementation of a computerized education program and record tracking system, improvements in new graduate nurse preceptor programs, and more. Currently, she serves as a mentor and preceptor for students in undergraduate and graduate leadership programs. She is also an advisory member for the Indian River State College School of Nursing.
Research, Publications & Presentations
Walton is a highly respected public speaker having developed and presented numerous compelling presentations and education programs on quality improvement, leadership, management, and teaching styles. Throughout her career, she has lectured and presented to nursing and healthcare audiences at events such as the Emergency Nurses Association annual education conference, the American Organization for Nursing Leadership annual meeting, and the Central Florida Chapter of American College of Health Care Executives. While at Reynolds Army Community Hospital, she was also the principal investigator and recipient of the Tri-Service Nursing Research Grant Award.
- 1995-1998. Principal Investigator. Tri-Service Nursing Research Grant Award.
- “The Next Generation of Patient Experience” at the Central Florida Chapter of American College of Health Care Executives; 2019.
- “Appreciative Inquiry for Nursing Leaders” at the Central Florida Organization of Nurse Executives; 2014.
- “Preventing Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers: The Clinical Nurse Manager’s Role in Changing Culture” at the American Organization for Nursing Leadership Annual Meeting and Exposition; 2010. [poster presentation]
- “From Texas to Bosnia: Medical Mobilization of the Texas National Guard” at the Army Medical Department Mobilization Conference; 2000. [guest lecturer]
- “Nursing Care During Operation Iraqi Freedom” at the Emergency Nurses Association Annual Education Conference; 1993.
- Member, American Organization for Nursing Leadership
- Member, Geriatric Task Force
- Exam Reviewer, CENP
- Past-Member, 2010 AONE Publications Committee
- Member, Florida Organization of Nurse Executives
- Past-Chair, Public Relations Committee
- Treasurer, Treasure Coast Organization of Nurse Executives
- Past-President, Central Florida Organization of Nurse Executives
Honors & Awards
- Commissioned Officer, United States Army Nurse Corps, 1983-2003
- Tri-Service Nursing Research Grant Award Recipient, 1995-1998
- Order of Military Medical Merit Recipient, 1998