The Advisory Board Company
July 22, 2013
Meet the nurse running a $13 billion health system
Lessons from the C-Suite: Judy Persichilli, CEO of Catholic Health East-Trinity Health
Persichilli named one of the 'Top Women in Healthcare'
Q: How did you go from staff nurse to hospital administrator?
Persichilli: I've always worked in Catholic hospitals--my first job was as an ICU nurse at St. Francis in Trenton.
After several years, I came to the realization that there was a lot more going on in the hospital than I could see, on my level. And often, the people making the decisions didn't seem to have much clinical knowledge.
That struck me as odd--I thought decision-makers in healthcare should have some clinical background--and I wanted to be able to help shape the type of care we delivered.
So I went back to school and ended up getting a Master's in Administration.
Q: And since then, your career has been a study in achievement: hospital executive, hospital CEO, and now health system CEO. Can you talk about a time when your path didn't unfold as planned?
Persichilli: About thirty years ago, I was asked to start a QA program in Trenton. And while there were challenges, I loved the opportunity--it gave me a really broad perspective on hospital operations.
But then I got an unexpected surprise. The sister CEO came and told me, "I'd like you to go work in the finance division."
And I thought, "No way. I love quality; it's my life's work."
Needless to say, I was moved. I spent several years in the finance division and that provided invaluable learnings that helped to shape my career. ...