Caris Healthcare Vice President of Patient Care Bonita Ledgerwood has spent nearly all of her 40-year nursing career in hospice and home health, working more than a dozen years in direct patient care before transitioning to administrative posts that led to her current role at Caris where she directs a dedicated clinical staff that provides hands-on care to approximately 1,100 patients and families each day.
Bonita joined Caris in 2006 as a Regional Director of Clinical Care and less than five years later was named Vice President of Patient Care. During her tenure she co-led the rollout of a cloud-based electronic medical record to enable staff to chart during each patient visit. She also developed a variety of new and improved clinical teaching and orientation materials and modules.
Working with a clinical staff that provides care wherever patients call home, Bonita believes one of her most important responsibilities is to nurture and develop nurses and nurses aides with the commitment and passion to live the Caris values of Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Integrity and Service. To that end, she frequently visits Caris’ 27 locations, and has donned her apple green Caris scrubs to accompany nurses and nurses aides on their patient visits—even pitching in to help bathe, turn, feed and comfort a patient.
Prior to joining Caris, Bonita spent a dozen years with Baptist Home Care in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she served as a supervisor/trainer, staff education manager, assistant clinical director, associate director of nursing and quality assurance coordinator. She came to Baptist from Housecall Healthcare in which role she had management responsibilities in both home health and hospice, including nursing supervisor, home care coordinator, hospice supervisor and branch officer supervisor. Bonita began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Park Ridge Hospital, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Bonita served two two-year terms on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Hospice Organization. She also has been an examiner for the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence.
She received an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee, and her Bachelor of Science in Health Arts from St. Francis University, Joliet, Illinois. In 2008,Bonita obtained certification as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) through the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, the national professional organization that represents more than 11,500 hospice and palliative care nurses.