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Rostraver woman named COO, executive VP at Jefferson Regional Medical Center

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Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:31 a.m.

Louise Urban remembers the day she decided that she wanted to go into nursing.

“I always thought about it (healthcare) and my mother always encouraged me,” Urban recalled.

“I think when I was a senior in high school, I woke up one day and decided that's what I wanted to do.”

It's been 30 years since the 1982 graduate of Belle Vernon Area High school made that decision to pursue a career in healthcare.

Recently, the Rostraver Township resident was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

“This promotion recognizes Louise's demonstrated record of success and the importance of an operational focus as we move toward finalizing our affiliation with Highmark,” said John Dempster, president and CEO of the medical center.

“Throughout her career at Jefferson Regional, she has exhibited the highest standards of professional practice, a commitment to quality and the patient experience and the ability to work corroboratively with the medical staff, management and employees.”

Urban first joined Jefferson Regional as a registered nurse in the ICU in 1991. She has been promoted numerous times, having been an assistant nurse manager and patient care manager in the ICU and director of patient care services.

In 2006, she was promoted to vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. She was named senior vice president of hospital operations in 2010.

A graduate of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, she earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from California University of Pennsylvania and a master of science degree in health service administration from the University of St. Francis.

“I always had a desire to do something that would help and provide support to people,” said Urban. “I was inspired by other people in my environment that left an impression on me.”

Urban said she loved the role of nursing, dealing one-on-one with people whose lives she felt she could impact in a positive way.

“When you get to see the impact you can have on the individuals who are suffering - when you can do something to alleviate some of their concern and make their lives better, that's what makes the profession meaningful,” Urban said.

The memories of the patients she helped stay with her.

Urban especially recalled a young woman in her 20s who came into the intensive care unit of Jefferson Hospital a few years ago.

“That woman was so acutely ill and I could see her go through her pathway to full recovery - she left an impression on me,” Urban said.

“I always remember her because I was there taking care of her when she was so ill and felt so good that we were able to get her healthy again and back to her family. That was so rewarding.”

She has taken that background of experience with her into her management roles.

As a leader, Urban said, she tries to cultivate some of that experience among the caregivers in the healthcare facility.

“Your nursing background - because you're doing so much planning, evaluating, implementing - that gives you good background to lead,” Urban said.

“Having that compassionate component to the way you approach your profession is critical. My entire career, as I was taking on new roles and broader responsibilities, I always brought those skills as a nurse. The skills you learn as a nurse are a sound foundation for a leadership role.”

Outside work, she enjoys spending time with family.

Urban and her husband, Ken, have two children – Nicholas, a first-year law student at Drexel, and Laura, a junior at Washington and Jefferson College who's studying business administration.

“Family time is most important,” Urban said. “We like to garden and take care of our yard.”

Urban said having spent more than 21 years at Jefferson has given insight to the hospital's vast operations – and its people.

“One of the things that is nice is that I've had opportunity at Jefferson Hospital to serve in all kinds of roles,” Urban said.

“I have a relationship with so many people in so many departments. That's a positive.

“I have worked in a lot of people's shoes and have had an opportunity to connect with them.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or

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