Rhonda Adams Scott, the new president of CHI Memorial hospital, was born at the hospital and went to Avondale Elementary, Hardy Junior High School and Brained High School, where she first met her future husband. The two ran against each other to become senior class president in high school.
"I said, if I win you have to buy me a strawberry sundae because I love ice cream, and he said if he won the race then I would have to go on a date with him," Rhonda Scott recalls. "My daddy didn't let us date at that point, but when he won the race I talked with my dad and he let us go out on our date."
Scott, motivated to become a nurse by her aunt who was a nurse at Erlanger hospital, studied nursing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before going on to graduate school in Birmingham, Alabama, and then to Chicago to finish her master's degree in nursing at Rush University. She then took a job in Atlanta as a clinical nurse specialist at Emory St. Joseph's Hospital and later enrolled in a doctoral program at Georgia State University.
After earning her Ph.D. degree in nursing science, Scott joined Tenet Healthcare as the chief nursing officer in Atlanta, where she was named the top chief nursing officer among the 114 Tenet hospitals. She was then recruited to join Grady Hospital in Atlanta as the chief nursing officer, and later as chief operating officer, and worked to help turn around the financial fortunes of Atlanta's third-biggest hospital.
In her new role, Scott will oversee quality, safety, and the patient experience at Chattanooga's second biggest hospital system, and will serve in the No. 2 position at CHI Memorial under Janelle Reilly, market chief executive officer at CHI Memorial. Her appointment comes as Memorial is preparing to open a $130 million the hospital in Ringgold, to be known as CHI Memorial Hospital Georgia, with a targeted completion date of mid-2024.
Rhonda Adams Scott
* Title: President of CHI Memorial
* Education: A nursing graduate of both the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Rush University in Chicago, she earned her doctorate in nursing sciences from Georgia State University.
* Career: She worked as a clinical nurse at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, and later served as the chief nursing officer for Tenet hospitals before being recruited to Grady Hospital in Atlanta where she rose to the chief operating officer. She became CHI Memorial president in August 2021.
* Personal: A native of Chattanooga, Scott and her husband of 35 years, Thomas, were both born at CHI Memorial. They have two grown sons, Thomas Lee Scott II, who lives in Houston, and David J. Scott, who resides in Birmingham, Alabama.
Key to her success has been Scott's focus on physician relations and employee empowerment as well as identifying ways to improve patient care and satisfaction. In her first six months on the job, Scott has spent time each week meeting with practicing surgeons and doctors at Memorial and talking with staff members at all levels.
"I try to be a hands-on executive where I work days, evenings and nights to try to meet and get to know as many staff members and physicians as possible," Scott says.