Heather Bridges Stafford was born in Schaumburg, Ill.; however, her family moved to Mt. Juliet when she was just 18 months old.

"My dad was an airline captain for USAirways for over 33 years, which led us to Wilson County," she said.

Stafford graduated from Friendship Christian School in Lebanon in 1998. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Health Sciences degree with a minor in business administration from Middle Tennessee State University; a bachelor's degree in nursing from Cumberland University; and a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.

Stafford has been a registered nurse for more than 13 years and has been with HCA since the beginning of her nursing career. Currently, she is the associate chief nursing officer at TriStar Skyline Medical Center in Nashville.

In May she graduated from the HCA Chief Nursing Officer Executive Development Program.

"As associate chief nursing officer, I am most passionate about high-level quality care that is provided to our patients daily. Our hospital is a Level II Trauma Center, Comprehensive Stroke Center and Accredited Chest Pain Center," she said. "I have oversight and responsibility of our very busy emergency department that treats over 70,000 patients per year, our three critical care areas including critical care unit, trauma intensive care and neuro intensive care unit and also our cardiac cath lab and interventional radiology departments.

My passion is providing nursing leadership to our nursing teams while working collaboratively with our physicians' teams that treat our critically ill patients and then seeing the amazing outcomes that we provide daily to our patients."

Stafford said they treat patients during some of the toughest times in their lives, and treating them like family is what the team strives to achieve daily.

Speaking of family - Stafford has been married to husband Andy for seven years. The couple met through mutual friends in Cookeville. Andy operates the Mt. Juliet Division Farm Bureau Insurance office.

They are parents to two sons, Bridges Andrew, 5; and Fisher Grey, 8 months.

"When not at work, I enjoy spending all of my free time with our very active baby boys and watching my nephews play sports. I also enjoy exercising, spending time at Center Hill Lake and traveling with my family," she said.

She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Emergency Nurses Association and co-leads annual hospital fundraising for the American Heart Association.

Stafford and her family attend Providence United Methodist Church.

The women Stafford admires most are her mother, Ann Wright, of Lebanon, and her grandmother, Arbie Bridges of McDonough, Ga.

"My mother has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and has supported me in anything that I have wanted to do and loves my children and my nephews and would do anything in the world for them," she said. "My grandmother is always a listening ear and a motivator. She has style, class and Southern charm that can put a smile on my face any and every time I talk to her."