Egan Alumna Eileen O’Donnell ‘94 Finds Passion in Public Health
Fairfield University’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies offers students a wide-range of career and field opportunities. Nursing alumna Eileen O’Donnell ‘94 uniquely transitioned from holding a traditional nursing career to working on the corporate side of public health, which the Egan School recently added as a new major and minor.
“The Egan School prepared me for my career by providing me access to professors, classes, and clinical rotations in many different areas of healthcare. The professors had very different backgrounds and experiences to share with us, and we had the opportunity to work in many different settings, including pediatric, outpatient, and behavioral health,” said O’Donnell. “Having access to a broader liberal arts education was also beneficial. Having that added exposure helped to develop my skills and broaden my understanding of career options outside of nursing.”
Following graduation, O’Donnell began her career as a medical surgical nurse at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT. After being persuaded by her college roommate to join her team at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, NY, under neurosurgeon Fred Epstein MD, O’Donnell’s career path began to shift.
While at Beth Israel Medical Center, O’Donnell began as a nurse in the ICU, before accepting the opportunity to work on the administrative team. Here, O’Donnell learned about the business side of healthcare, from an operational, strategic, and financial perspective, which she quickly fell in love with. Dr. Epstein convinced O’Donnell to receive her masters in business administration, which she pursued at Cornell University.
O’Donnell explained that she used her new MBA as a starting point to find a position in healthcare that was not clinical in nature. This led her to a small boutique management-consulting firm, where she worked for seven years. In 2009, O’Donnell accepted a position on the healthcare division of Pricewaterhouse Cooper’s (PwC) management consulting business, where she spent eight years. During her time at PwC, O’Donnell was able to work on large transformational engagements, mergers, and acquisitions in the healthcare space. She worked with executive leadership of organizations to ensure that the right people were in the right place to execute strategic plans of organization.
“I enjoy working with organizations to ensure that they have the right people in place to drive success for the future,” said O’Donnell. “My experience as a nurse, a practice administrator, and a consultant has taught me that business objectives will always fail if you don’t have the right people in place. I now spend all of my time working with organizations to help them identify and hire talented individuals to join their teams so that they can succeed in meeting their business goals.”
After her time at PwC, O’Donnell joined Korn Ferry’s Executive Search team in January of 2017 as a Senior Client Partner in the Global Healthcare Practice. O’Donnell describes this position as a natural fit, as it enables her to continue the work that she is passionate about.
O’Donnell encourages current nursing students to “study hard, stay focused, and do not be afraid to explore the many rewarding and challenging paths that you can take. You can pursue many different areas within healthcare with your nursing degree, and you can do so with the confidence that the Egan School has prepared you for anything.”