Rainy Lake Medical Center officials are pleased to announce the hire of Kelly Hagen as the organization’s new Chief Nursing Officer, or CNO.   

Hagen comes to RLMC with more than 40 years of experience as a nurse in palliative, med/surg, orthopedic, ICU and open heart and cardiac care as well as nursing leadership. She understands the importance of collaborating with those at the bedside when assessing and improving the quality of nursing care provided to patients.

“I love smaller communities. I have a passion to serve smaller communities,” Hagen said. “My main personal goal is really to acclimate well with where people are at. I’m here to support patient care and our staff delivering that care, and to ensure we’re providing what the community needs.” 

“We are thrilled to have Kelly join our team,” said RLMC CEO Robb Pastor. “Kelly’s background and wealth of knowledge has everything we were looking for during the search for a new CNO. We feel her experience and expertise are going to be a great fit for our nursing department and the entire RLMC organization.”  

Hagen began her nursing career in Winnipeg, Manitoba and was inspired early on that she had made the right choice with her career path.

Fresh out of nursing school, Hagen’s first job was caring for people at the end of their lives in an inpatient palliative care unit.  

“It had great rewards that I feel like I still benefit from today,” she said, noting the connections she made with the patients and their families. “For a new nurse, that set a foundation of what was most important in my role as a nurse and what was most important for patients… I remember the patients, I remember their names, I remember everything I did with them. It was really special.” 

Hagen’s most recent position was the vice president of nursing and clinical services for Sanford Bemidji Medical Centers and Clinics. She was responsible for nursing practice and clinical services for ambulatory and inpatient care units throughout the Northern Minnesota region.

Culture fit

Hagen said RLMC’s culture appealed to her from the moment she entered the facility.  

“This group really is a family,” she said of RLMC staff. “As I toured… I could tell people are happy and love being there. You can tell staff are focused on doing a good job and delivering excellent care to the community.” 

Noting earlier comments of her passion for rural healthcare, Hagen said in her previous roles she crossed paths with different RLMC executives, and she knew the facility was one she wanted to be part of.

“A successful healthcare system really impacts the community,” Hagen said. “The engagement and passion at RLMC is who the staff are. They’re making a difference in community successes because the medical center is successful… I’m looking forward to joining this strong team.”

Hagen’s education
Hagen earned her diploma in nursing from the St. Boniface School of Nursing at the University of Manitoba, bachelors in nursing from Charles Sturt University and her two master’s degrees in management and business administration from the University of Mary.