Waqiah Ellis was placed as the vice president of nursing for community hospitals with WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. WakeMed is the leading provider of health services in Wake County and the county's largest health system, with 941 beds in three full-service hospitals, as well as a network of facilities throughout the Triangle area. Served by over 3,400 RNs, WakeMed has earned the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet designation system-wide. In her role, Waqiah will be responsible for planning, facilitating, coordinating, and evaluating nursing and patient care services, personnel, and budgetary processes to ensure the highest-quality, safest care at the system's 178-bed Cary Hospital and 61-bed North Hospital locations. She will collaborate to accomplish facility goals in alignment with system strategic priorities and plans, creating and nurturing a work environment that engages staff through shared decision-making principles, elevating quality and safety, promoting healthy work environment attributes, and celebrating success at all levels, as well as serving on numerous system-driven councils, committees, and task forces.
Waqiah comes to WakeMed from Cone Health in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she most recently served as the chief nursing officer for the 116-bed Green Valley Campus COVID Hospital. Waqiah built the functionality of the hospital from the ground up, including developing safety and workflow standards to ensure the protection of staff and patients, coordinating the planning and execution of operational support services departments, and developing capacity plans and alternative staffing models. She concurrently served as the executive director of heart and vascular nursing for the entire Cone system, encompassing nine inpatient nursing departments with a total capacity of 166 beds, as well as cardiac monitoring and electronic ICU. In this capacity, Waqiah integrated nursing services throughout the continuum, led the implementation of Cone Health's first progressive care model and the design of Master Bed Planning, and accomplished a notable reduction in hospital-acquired infections.
Waqiah joined Cone Health in 1997 upon completing her bachelor's degree in nursing at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Over the course of her tenure, she progressed from a staff nurse in telemetry and surgical intensive care to a clinical nurse specialist in cardiology to the manager of staff development to the department director for cardiology before becoming executive director for heart and vascular nursing. Waqiah also holds a master's degree in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in leadership studies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Waqiah and her husband are the parents of two sons, one in high school and one in college. Outside of work, Waqiah enjoys exercising, spending time with friends, and involvement with her college's Greek organization and her community.
Quick Leonard Kieffer's Roger Quick and Jake Barto led the search to recruit Waqiah to WakeMed.