Dr. Cole Edmonson is national health care leader and a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. Growing up in Choctaw, Oklahoma, Cole was the first in his family to attend college. After seeing the compassion and care of nurses caring for a family member, he knew that nursing was his future. Cole says that nurses “blend art and science, technology and caring” and bring a unique human element to health care.
Cole chose the University of Oklahoma to pursue his nursing education – and says that his experiences laid a great foundation for his career and future leadership roles. From lectures and clinical experiences, to the opportunity to work with expert faculty, the BSN program prepares students for the transition to practice and leadership. Cole says that his transition into the role of a practicing nurse and then a leader in his field was a reflection of the quality of the undergraduate program.
A natural leader, Cole quickly moved into a supervisory role early in his career. He discovered a passion for leadership in health care as a lead nurse in the ICU at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City – and later as a Clinical Manager in the Post Coronary Care Unit, Heart Cath Laboratory, and Cardiovascular Imaging Lab. Inspired by the leadership of colleagues, Cole returned to OU to achieve his MSN in 1997.
Since achieving a second OU degree, Cole’s career has continued to exemplify his alma mater’s values of leadership and service. Cole achieved leadership roles at the Medical Center of Arlington, in Arlington, Texas, including Vice-President/Chief Nursing Officer – and later served as Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing at Medical City Dallas Hospital and Medical City Children’s Hospital. Today, having achieved a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Dr. Edmonson serves as Chief Nursing Officer at Texas Health Presbyterian.
Dr. Edmonson’s leadership roles extend beyond his innovative roles with some of the country’s best medical systems – he is also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and President of the DFW Great 100 Nurses, Inc – which recognizes nurses for their contributions throughout the community. Cole also serves as the Nurse Executive Member of the Texas Hospital Association Board. As well, he works with the National Human Genome Project/National Institute of Health to develop methods of introducing new competencies of genetics and genomics into nursing practice. This service is in addition to numerous other leadership roles, community recognitions, and awards.
Cole says that new nurses and nursing students should remember that they are already leaders as members of an incredibly trusted and respected profession. He encourages mentees to say yes more than they say no – and to embrace risk, be bold, and take advantage of new opportunities to further their leadership skills and experiences.
The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing is proud to count Dr. Cole Edmonson as a graduate. With more than 10,000 alumni across the country and around the world, Sooner Nurses truly have an incredible impact.