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Excellence in Practice: Karen Hill, Baptist Health


Karen has served on the Board of Women Leading Kentucky, spent two years as Board Chair, and now participates on the Executive Council.   Her employer, Baptist Hospital, has sponsored the programs of Women Leading Kentucky for more than a decade.


Karen Hill has earned her stripes, moving up the ladder of responsibility and authority at Baptist Health for nearly thirty years.  She was administrator of various departments, then Vice-President of Nursing and now—for the past six years—Chief Operating Officer for Baptist Health.  Anyone who knows her knows of her passion for the nursing profession.

And that’s her first piece of advice for anyone aspiring to leadership in their profession:  passion.  “If you love what you’re doing, you don’t call it work. The work I do impacts thousands of people and I love knowing I am helping others every day.  I try to be an example to the 2800 people who work for me; I strive to be the employee I’d want working for me.  I’ve been a nursing administrator for 25 years, and there’s nothing I’d rather do.”

Her work as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nursing Administration allows her to influence the political, social, and educational direction of nursing leadership and practice.  “This is an enormous responsibility and I love it, and I love talking to students and doing webinars for the profession.  There’s nothing I don’t like about the nursing profession.”

Karen sees her core skill as good communication, including verbal, non-verbal and written, and says this is vital to being a strong leader.  “My advice to anyone interested in the profession is to explore all the opportunities available in nursing.  A career in nursing can be as great as you want it to be.”

Asked why she wanted Baptist Hospital to become a major sponsor of Women Leading Kentucky many years ago, she’s quick to answer:  “the nursing profession is made up of mostly women and I wanted to support their development as leaders. Women Leading Kentucky provides women – and men — with the networking and educational experience they need to succeed anywhere, and I’m happy Baptist has been a long-time sponsor.”

Karen is a Kentuckian who attended Lafayette High School, the community college and University of Kentucky.  She and her husband live in Lexington, as does one of her children who works for the government.  Another child is a lawyer in Northern Kentucky.

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