Rachel Watkins, MBA, BSN, RN, PCCN, is the senior nursing director, Medical and Behavioral Health Services, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. She is responsible for overseeing the operational and clinical performance of the Medical and Behavioral Health division, which includes seven medical units and four surgical units. She also has oversight for dialysis services and behavioral health.
Watkins began her nursing career in the MedStar Washington Emergency Department, where she piloted a program that cross-trained emergency nurses for working in the Level 1 Trauma Center. She also worked as a critical care nurse and as a forensic nurse examiner, collecting forensic medical evidence and serving as an expert witness in court. She moved into nursing leadership at MedStar Washington in 2015, serving on several units including as the interim nursing director for Medical Behavioral unit 2C, before becoming the nursing director of medical unit 4C, which was the only dedicated COVID-19 unit throughout the pandemic.
Watkins has developed and published research on strategies for nurse retention and engagement. She won Washingtonian magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Award in 2021 and the Nurses’ Choice Exceptional Nurse Leader Award in 2018. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the District of Columbia Forensic Nurse Examiners, where she chairs the committee on diversity, equality and inclusion. Watkins holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Villanova University and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Maryland Global Campus. She completed the MedStar Health Nurse Leader Development Program in 2020.