It’s a brilliant end to the year for Kim O’Keeffe who is being awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Year’s Honours.
Kim has been Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust for the last two years and more recently has taken on a dual role as director for the Cornwall Partnership Foundation NHS Trust.
Kim’s Honour comes in recognition of her services to nursing and the nomination particularly highlights the role she has played at RCHT where she has been fundamental in supporting change. Her strong caring leadership has mobilised the nursing workforce across the Trust’s three hospitals.
RCHT Chief Executive Kate Shields said: “Kim is driven to make sure that the Trust do right by people and having been treated for breast cancer she knows that how care is experienced is as important as how care is delivered. She uses her experience in every day conversations to keep the patient/person at the centre of all that we do. She is a powerful advocate for the vulnerable championing a vulnerable persons team at RCHT that has been nationally recognised. She supports team members to be the best they can be so that our people in Cornwall can get what they deserve….the very best. Simply put – Kim is Brilliant!”
Kim says, “It is such a thrill to receive this Honour. I am so proud to be a nurse – and especially as part of the great team at RCHT here in Cornwall There are many things I feel proud and privileged to have been able to support and help make happen, such as the transformation of maternity services and the integration of our safeguarding team.
Kim’s career began in Durban, South Africa in 1981. She had moved there from the West Midlands as a young child, experiencing life in a pre and post-Apartheid country.
After qualifying as a registered general nurse in 1981 and then in mental health nursing in 1983, Kim developed her career through a number of roles that involved working in state and private healthcare settings, a large GP practice and rural clinics where she set up a vital immunisation programme for pre-school children.
During her time in South Africa Kim brought together the first post-Apartheid mixed nursing and medical team on a ward for mixed patients. Kim says, “This was one of the most rewarding and most challenging things I have ever done.”
In 1999 Kim returned to the UK with her own young family where she took up a post at the Dudley Group of Hospitals who had been advertising for nursing staff to come to England;
After gaining experience in a range of specialties, Kim decided to move to Cornwall where she took up post as Chief Nurse for Surgery with RCHT. She later became Deputy Director of Nursing and was appointed to the Trust’s Board as a Director in 2017.