Laura Jean Easton earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Duke University School of Nursing in 1983 and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in 1986. For a decade she held both administrative and clinical positions in several prestigious hospitals including Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, and Moses Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. Easton's greatest abilities and interests lay in nursing and hospital administration. She soon earned a Certificate in Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Additionally, she completed a Kellogg Health Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. in 1986, and a Healthcare Executive Fellowship in Management at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. In 1995 she accepted a position as Vice President of Nursing at Caldwell Memorial Hospital (CMH) in Lenoir, NC. Easton was promoted in 2002 to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of CMH and in December 2004 assumed the Presidency and Chief Executive Officer position at CMH.
Easton is an active member of several professional organizations including the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Organization of Nurse Executives and the North Carolina and American Hospitals Associations. She has written several successful grants and authored a number of articles in professional journals. (http://www.minoritynurse.com/diversity-multiculturalism/diversity-action)
David Horn, Vice President for Business Development at CMH discussed some of Easton's strengths: "During her tenure, she has demonstrated her keen awareness of healthcare issues and guided many of the hospital's efforts to strengthen its position as the hospital of choice for Caldwell County residents. Easton is a strategic thinker who articulates a reasoned vision for the future of this hospital and a deliberate plan to make it happen. She gives focused attention to the challenges facing the delivery in healthcare in our community and wrestles with those challenges until a plan can be developed, implemented, evaluated and adjusted until it works." (http://caldwellmemorial.org/news-article/?article=47)
In 2013 Easton will become the first nurse and first woman to lead the North Carolina Hospital Association. Writing about the challenges hospitals will be facing in the twenty first century, Easton explained: "The leaders of North Carolina's hospitals look into the future and recognize the immense challenge before us. We feel the challenge to sustain our hospitals so that they are available and accessible when that critical moment arrives. We feel the challenge to deliver the quality of care to each patient that we desire for our own family members. We feel the challenge to reduce the sometimes crippling financial burden to our patients, our industries and our government."
From The News & Observer (2013, January 7)