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Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, Appointed President, Morristown Medical Center

May 16, 2016

New leader began as bedside nurse 35 years ago

May 16, 2016, Morristown, NJ – Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, has been named President, Morristown Medical Center. O’Keefe began her career in 1981 as a nurse at then-Morristown Memorial Hospital, and assumed roles of increasing responsibility throughout the medical center and parent organization Atlantic Health System. She was named Chief Nursing Officer at Morristown Medical Center in 1996, Chief Experience Officer in 2012, and has served as interim president since July 2015. 

“Trish has the experience and talent needed to lead Morristown Medical Center, a very complex teaching hospital and critical part of Atlantic Health System,” said Brian Gragnolati, President and CEO, Atlantic Health System. “She has dedicated her career to our patients and the community, and cares deeply about our staff, physicians and volunteers. Her collaborative spirit, positive outlook and true sense of purpose inspire all of us to do better. Trish is the perfect choice for this very important role.”

“As so many have said, Trish is the ‘guardian angel’ of Morristown Medical Center and its patients,” said Bill Bruen, Jr., trustee, Foundation for Morristown Medical Center. “Morristown Medical Center could not be in more capable, caring, and compassionate hands.” 

O’Keefe has served the hospital in a number of roles, progressing from bedside nurse to administrative director ranging from the orthopedic unit to include a number of additional nursing units. She was ultimately administratively responsible for Surgical Services, Trauma Program, Critical Care and Emergency Department, and multiple inpatient, outpatient, and ancillary departments. She assumed the role of Chief Nursing Officer in 1996. In 2012, she was also named Chief Experience Officer. She has been serving as the interim president of Morristown Medical Center since July 2015, when past president David Shulkin was appointed as Under Secretary for Health for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs by President Barack Obama. 

"Trish has truly grown with Morristown Medical Center,” said Steve Maser, MD, Chair, Medical Staff Leadership and Development Committee for Atlantic Health System and Immediate Past President, Medical Staff, Morristown Medical Center. “Whatever her role, she is fair, personable, straightforward, thorough, and always keeps the interests of the patients foremost.”

Under O’Keefe’s leadership, Morristown Medical Center received the prestigious designation as an American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence in 2001. Her continued passion for expertise in nursing led to a re-designation in 2005, 2009 and 2014—one of only 24 hospitals internationally and nationally to receive the award four times.

She has also expanded the medical center’s role within the community. 

“I’ve known Trish for a number of years and she is an outstanding choice to be President of Morristown Medical Center,” Tim Dougherty, Mayor of Morristown. “With her leadership, the Town of Morristown and Morristown Medical Center have forged a strong relationship dedicated to a healthy community. She is the ideal person to become the next President of Morristown Medical Center.”

O’Keefe is a noted presenter on national and regional stages on topics, such as empowerment and shared governance models, achieving Magnet status, nursing’s role in the Accountable Care Organization (ACO), geriatric medication management, and nursing recruitment and retention. 

She has been recognized with the UMDNJ Dean's Award for Advancing the Profession of Nursing, and the ONE/NJ Nurse Executive of the Year Award and Professional Recognition Award. She is also the recipient of the Mary A. Mulholland Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America.  

O’Keefe currently serves as board member for Morris County Chamber of Commerce and the NJ Sharing Network. She also participates on the McKesson National Clinical Advisory Board. She has served on the Board of Directors for Organization of Nurse Executives in New Jersey (ONE/NJ) for 10 years and recently served as the Advisory Board Chair for the Salvation Army of Morris County.

She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), the New Jersey Organization of Nurse Executives (ONE/NJ), and Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing. O’Keefe is a certified nurse administrator by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and her Master of Science Degree in Nursing Administration and her PhD from Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. She lives with her husband and black lab in Morristown. 

About Morristown Medical Center

Morristown Medical Center, located in Morristown, NJ, is a nationally-ranked regional medical center and a recognized leader in cardiovascular medicine, orthopedics and nursing. The hospital was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top hospital nationwide for cardiology and heart surgery, geriatrics, orthopedics and pulmonology. Morristown Medical Center also ranked as a “Best Regional Hospital” for neurology and neurosurgery, as well as gastroenterology & GI Surgery, gynecology, nephrology and urology. Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more cardiac surgeries than any other hospital in New Jersey, placing its cardiac program in the top two percent in the country. The Atlantic Orthopedic Institute at Morristown Medical Center does the highest volume of joint and spine surgeries in New Jersey. In 2014, the hospital was re-designated a Magnet Hospital for Excellence in Nursing Service, the highest level of recognition by American Nurses Credentialing Center for facilities that provide acute care services, a distinction awarded to less than five percent of U.S. hospitals. Morristown Medical Center is certified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, and designated a Level II Trauma Center by the state of New Jersey. Morristown Medical Center is part of Atlantic Health System, one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey.