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Fall 2017 Haley Awards Honors Nursing Leaders Spanning Generations And Diverse Achievements  

Picture of 2017 Haley Awards"I've spent half my life in healthcare," remarked Interim President Mary J. Meehan as she addressed a record attendance of guests during the 2017 Margaret C. Haley Awards ceremony, recognizing graduates of the College of Nursing who have made a significant impact in the complex and often challenging healthcare industry. "Nursing is the most respected profession in the U.S. When it matters most, we know it is a nurse who is always there for us." So began an evening where all gathered to acknowledge the astounding array of accomplishments of yet another group in a legacy of alumni who are change makers for the nursing profession.

Dean Marie Foley opened the proceedings by once again quoting the immortal Florence Nightingale: "I never gave or took any excuse." A testament to the work past, present and future of which the honorees as well as the College are examples. The College will become part of the Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus along with the School of Health & Medical Sciences and the new Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. The new campus features state-of-the-art simulation labs and classrooms and will be a pioneer in the interprofessional approach to educating and training students from all three schools in tandem with one another. Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, N.J., also has played a key role in this year's accomplishments. In addition to two of the honorees being representatives of the Center, it has been part of an honors program for student nurses to work in the pediatric intensive care unit. The initiative was developed in response to a need for more nurses in that area and will soon add emergency care as well. As a result, it has acted as a semester-long form of an interview where students have subsequently been offered their first job post-graduation. Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in Middletown, N.J., and Englewood Medical Center are just two of a number of other facilities that are interested in beginning similar programs with the College of Nursing.

Humbled. That was the word used repeatedly by the honorees. For all of their tireless efforts, as each were presented with their award, they tended to downplay (with one humorous exception) the personal achievement(s) in favor of recognizing the larger cause for which they serve. Margaret C. Haley Award honoree and president of Morristown Medical Center Trish O'Keefe-Siker stated, "It's a privilege to be a nurse. Every day is an adventure in healthcare. I began as a graduate nurse. Look what you can achieve! You can be the president of the best medical center (arguably!) in New Jersey." She followed this with, "It is an exciting time. Through our resiliency, we have the opportunity to re-design healthcare." George J. Herbert Leadership Award winner Catherine Alicia Georges summed it up best when she proclaimed, "You can do anything with this [Seton Hall] education."

Dean Foley closed the ceremony with the reminder that "in the end, lives depend on us." She then invited all to join the fascinating journey ahead by making an investment in the legacy of current and future students.

The 2017 Margaret C. Haley Award was bestowed upon Trish O'Keefe-Siker, M.S.N. '93/ Ph.D. '14. Dr. O'Keefe has been the president and chief executive officer of Morristown Medical Center (MMC) since 2016 after serving as interim president. She previously served as chief nursing officer and chief experience officer. Under her leadership, MMC has been recognized by consumer healthcare rating group Healthgrades as one of America's 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery, and one of America's 100 Best Hospitals in the Nation for Cardiac Care, Orthopedic Surgery and Join Replacement. It has furthermore been named as one of 29 Top Teaching Hospitals nationwide by Leapfrog, one of America's best breast cancer centers, and won the Women's Choice Award as Best Hospital for Heart Care, Bariatrics, Obstetrics.

Dr. O'Keefe is an active senior management member in designing a new Atlantic Health System vision as a "Trusted Network of Caring," has spearheaded the achievement of the American Nurses' Credentialing Center's National Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence at MMC in 2001 (re-designated in 2005, 2009 and 2014), and successfully increased in-patient and ED satisfaction scores for five years. She is responsible for the Joint Commission-Gold Seal of Approval for Total Hip, Total Knee, Cervical & Lumbar Spine, Wound Care and Stroke Certification. She is a College of Nursing Member on the President's Advisory Group, serves on the NJ Sharing Network Advisory Board, and the McKesson National Clinical Advisor Council.

Sister Ellen Farrell '69 is the recipient of the Nelson Aquino Humanitarian Award. Entering the Sisters of Charity in 1958, she was assigned to live at St. Mary's Hospital where she began her nursing education. Sr. Ellen later received an M.S.N. and a post-master's certificate as a pediatric nurse practitioner. She has spent the last 28 years in the eastern part of Virginia in service to migrant Hispanic and Haitian farmworker families as the health coordinator for a Migrant Head Start program. During the off-season, Sr. Ellen has worked as an instructor in pediatrics and community health at Salisbury University in Maryland. 

The George J. Herbert Leadership Award was given to Catherine Alicia Georges '65. Dr. Georges is the current president-elect of AARP, professor and chair of the Department of Nursing at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is chairperson of the Bronx Westchester Area Health Education Center, a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the Golden Key Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and honorary member of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority. 

Dr. Georges is former president of the National Black Nurses Foundation and staff nurse, team leader, supervisor and district manager for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. She currently serves on the board of the Black Women's Health Study and is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. Dr. Georges is a College of Nursing member of the President's Advisory Group and was inducted as a Golden Pirate in 2015. She received her M.A. in Nursing form New York University and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Vermont.

Heather Heil Linsalata, M.S.N. '12 received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Young Alumni Award. She holds her certification as an emergency room nurse and a trauma certified registered nurse, teaching review classes for both certifications. Linsalata sits on the Research Committee at Morristown Medical Center, is the 2016 president-elect of the northern New Jersey chapter of Emergency Nurses, and is the 2018 program chair for the NJ Emergency Care Conference held annually in Atlantic City. She represented NJ at the 2017 ENA Day on Capitol Hill and serves as a delegate for the 2016 and 2017 ENA General Assembly. Linsalata was awarded the 2017 ENA National Rising Star Award at their national conference in St. Louis. 

The Seton Hall Fund for the College of Nursing  
Giving to the Seton Hall Fund is one of the most important ways alumni and friends can show their support for The College of Nursing in preparing future leaders like this evening's honorees. Your kind donation is most appreciated and can be made here»

Categories: Health and Medicine


Flickr 2017 Margaret C. Haley Awards

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View the Full Set on Flickr »

For more information, please contact:

  • Michael Giorgio
  • (973) 275-4953
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