August 16, 2022
St. Peter's Health announced today that Kari Koehler, MSN, RN, has been selected as the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of the regional nonprofit health care system. Koehler has served as the Interim CNO since 2021, following the retirement of former CNO Cindy Bultena, MSN, RN.
"I have worked with CNOs across the United States. Kari is one of the most dynamic and creative executive-level nursing professionals I've had the privilege to serve alongside," said St. Peter's Chief Medical Officer and President of the Regional Medical Center Dr. Shelly Harkins. "She is a passionate and articulate advocate for nurses, her clinical and business acumen are on point and people across the organization widely value her perspective, opinions and ideas."
As CNO, Koehler will lead the organization's nursing leadership team (NLT), a group of nursing leaders that represent the organization's over 500 nurses who serve on inpatient units, in outpatient clinics and through community-based services like hospice and home health. In her role, she will also serve as a member of the executive leadership team (ELT), contributing meaningfully to leadership decisions and strategy for the organization as a whole.
Koehler was born and raised in Helena. She is a graduate of Capital High School, a Carroll College Baccalaureate Nursing Program graduate and she received her Master’s in Nursing from Walden University with an emphasis in leadership and administration. Kari has been with St. Peter's for nearly two decades, starting in 2004. “As a bedside nurse I always loved caring for patients and helping them through trying times, assisting in any way I could to make whatever journey they were on a little better,” said Koehler. “As a nursing leader I feel the same way about nurses and staff. I want everyone on our team to feel valued, cared about and supported so they can be their best selves.”
She began her career on the labor and delivery unit at St. Peter's, helping to deliver nearly 1,000 babies. In 2010 Koehler transitioned to oncological (cancer) care, founding the St. Peter's Breast Nurse Navigation Program and then serving as the Director of the Oncology Service Line. In 2018, she was selected as the Inpatient Senior Nursing Director and later stepped into the Interim CNO role.
According to Koehler, “My Helena roots run deep. It has always been an honor to serve my hometown and a community I love so much. I am grateful to be a part of an organization where I get to be my authentic self, support nursing and health care professionals and work to improve the overall health and wellbeing of our community.”