November 4, 2021

Koerkenmeier named VICC associate nursing officer


by Tom Wilemon

Clint Koerkenmeier

Clint Koerkenmeier, MHS, RN, is the new associate nursing officer at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) with the responsibility for supervising the ambulatory oncology nursing enterprise.

He came to Vanderbilt from MD Anderson Cancer Center following the departure of his predecessor, Anna Rodriguez, MSN, MHA, RN, who is now chief nursing officer at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Koerkenmeier served as a clinical administrative director at MD Anderson, where he directed the operations of numerous service lines from 2015 to 2021, including the Leukemia Center and Bone Marrow Aspiration Clinic and gastrointestinal and colorectal surgery. Most recently, he was in charge of the Head and Neck Center, dental services, ophthalmology, speech and audiology service lines.

“Clint brings tremendous energy and vision for advancing patient-centered cancer care with a fresh perspective and clear commitment to supporting and developing our outstanding nursing staff at VICC,” said Laura Goff, MD, executive medical director for the VICC Cancer Patient Care Center. “His experience at MD Anderson demonstrated innovative, effective leadership in programmatic growth, and we are thrilled to have Clint join our team at Vanderbilt.”

While at MD Anderson, he instituted protocols that decreased average clinic wait times from 90 minutes to 40 minutes, oversaw the implementation of a new nurse triage phone system that improved patient satisfaction scores, facilitated a hotel and hospitality partnership that improved patient and family lodging experiences, did the core planning for a new 12-bed bone marrow transplant clinic, worked with the information technology department to replace restaurant-style pagers with a telephone texting notification for patients in waiting rooms and participated in accreditation readiness committees as well as emergency preparedness planning before, during and after Hurricane Harvey. He chaired both the clinical administrators’ group and the parking committee.

“It is such a pleasure to welcome Clint to our nursing team at VICC,” said Michele Hasselblad, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Vice President of Adult Ambulatory Nursing. “He brings leadership expertise to our organization, coupled with a deep knowledge of cancer care that is centered on patients and families.”

Koerkenmeier, who began working at VICC July 1, has prioritized listening and meeting with the nursing staff.

“I’ve been going to the clinics, making rounds and hearing from nurses about what their challenges are and what their goals are,” he said. “They are there doing the job every day. They know what we need and how we can better serve our patients. By listening to them, we can put together action plans on some of the low-hanging fruit and also strategically plan our more long-term goals.”

Koerkenmeier was a third-generation miner before becoming a nurse. He received his Associate Degree in Nursing from Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois. He then worked at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, which offered tuition assistance for nurses to pursue their bachelor’s degrees. He received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McKendree University and then his Master of Healthcare Services from Washington University.

“I worked at a rock quarry prior to that,” he said. “My grandpa was a coal miner. My dad worked in rock quarries.”

A couple of childhood life experiences inspired him to pursue nursing. In both instances, a nurse gave comfort.

“I had appendicitis,” he said. “I was terrified. They were talking about surgery. As a first grader, that was pretty horrifying. Then my neighbor, who was my nurse, walked in the room. Having her there, someone I trusted, someone I went to church with, was so comforting. Your mom telling you everything is OK is one thing, but a medical professional you know is another thing. The way she helped to calm me down touched me to the core.”

The second experience was when he was in the fourth grade.

“My mother had a brain tumor and received care at St. Louis University,” Koerkenmeier said. “When we went up to visit her, she had a male nurse. He was very good with us kids. It was a point where my mom was really having a hard time. He took us out and talked to us in the waiting room. We were as important to that nurse as mom was that day. We were also fortunate that our mother survived the cancer.”

He is married to Melinda Koerkenmeier, who he met at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, where they both worked. They have been married for 13 years and are the parents of 9-year-old twin boys.