Kirsten A. Hickerson, DNP, RN, CEN

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Kirsten A. Hickerson, DNP, RN, CEN, is Vice President and Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Locations: Main Hospital
Appointments and Referrals: 1-800-TRY-CHOP (1-800-879-2467)


Kirsten brings clinical, academic, and leadership experience to the role and the organization. In her current role as a Nurse Strategist at CHOP, she serves as an organizational, clinical and operational improvement expert for a range of strategic improvement initiatives.  Kirsten has a broad depth of pediatric clinical experience and the focus of her scholarship has aligned accordingly with transitions to practice of new pediatric nurses. She supports several projects across the nursing department and contributed to several publications and presentations that are the result of her work and contributions.

Her previous roles at CHOP include Improvement Advisor, Nurse Manager and Clinical Nurse.  While Kirsten brings clinical experience from a variety of settings, she also has held progressive faculty and leadership positions at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing since 1993.

Kirsten received her BSN from the University of Rochester, her MSN from the University of Virginia and her DNP from Johns Hopkins University.

At Penn, Kirsten pioneered the integration of class, clinical, and simulation experiences in the undergraduate pediatric nursing course. This integration later became one of the hallmark characteristics of a new undergraduate curriculum designed some fifteen years ago. More recently, and after earning her DNP from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, she moved into the new DNP program, serving on implementation task forces and teaching two of the seminal project courses. Kirsten was also critically involved in the life of Penn Nursing students outside the classroom. Since 2015 she served as Penn Nursing’s Wellness Ambassador, charged with guiding the Provost’s initiatives supporting the health and wellness of students. She has also been deeply involved with the Penn Futures program’s initiatives on LGBT, mental health, and introducing curricular reforms; she is a member of the first generation, low income initiatives on campus. Kirsten has received many awards including mentorship, teaching excellence, and diversity awards.

In the position VP of Nursing, Kirsten will develop and execute on a vision for advanced practice and ambulatory nursing practice across the enterprise. Her areas of responsibility will include; Advanced Practice, Ambulatory Care, Emergency Department, Sedation and Radiology Nursing, and the Transport Program. Kirsten’s skills and talents will also be shared across the broader organization as she supports Paula Agosto, the System Chief Nurse Officer.

Education and Training

Undergraduate Degree

BSN - University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Graduate Degree

MSN - University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

DPN - Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Titles and Academic Titles

Vice President and Associate Chief Nursing Officer

APP/Ambulatory Care Nursing/Emergency Department/Transport Program/Professional Development/Sedation & Radiology Nursing

Adjunct Associate Professor University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing