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Chief Nurse Executive, UCLA Health, Assistant Dean, UCLA School of Nursing

UCLA Health

Karen Grimley came to UCLA Health in 2015. With more than 30 years of experience as a nurse leader she is responsible for the overall delivery and management of nursing practice, education, professional development, research, administration and clinical services, as well as enhancing a compassionate and respectful patient-centered clinical practice environment. Under her leadership, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica and Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA have earned Magnet Status for Nursing Excellence – the highest and most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence – from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, as well as several other prestigious nursing recognitions and awards.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Grimley was a key member of the UCLA Health Command Center. Her focus and clear-eyed leadership helped to guide the organization’s preparation for and management of the crisis. Partnering with the nurses and medical team, she was instrumental in finding real-world solutions to assure that both nurses and patients never felt isolated during the crisis. Her efforts to maintain human connections led to an expedited implementation of tablet technology that kept hospitalized patients in touch with their families. She also demonstrated deep caring for her staff, creating respite space for her nursing staff to decompress, reflect and rest. In collaboration with the chief medical and quality officer, she issued daily reports to assure UCLA’s workforce and community were kept informed about the evolving crisis and the development of hundreds of new policies, procedures and protocols.

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