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Keith Essen

Keith Essen, PhD, MSN, BSN is a recently retired Active Duty Army Colonel. He has held multiple roles both as a Nurse Executive and as a Director of multiple medical center operating rooms. Keith attained CNOR certification and has spoken nationally at the annual AORN Convention multiple times. He has extensive experience serving as a staff nurse, OR course Director for 4 years, and as the Perioperative Nursing Director of 4 Army Medical Centers culminating as the Director of Perioperative Nursing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Keith was appointed by the Army Surgeon General in 1999 as the Perioperative Nurse Consultant. While serving in that role he was the Co-Leader in setting up the Patient Safety Program at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. As a consultant Keith served during a pivotal time as the emphasis on patient safety culture evolved subsequent to the IOM report “To Err is Human”. He oversaw the Army’s initiative to develop the Universal Protocol for Surgical timeouts. Keith earned his PhD from Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences. His dissertation was a structural equation model on safety culture. Keith has extensive management experience and is a recognized speaker nationally. He has conducted numerous presentations both locally and nationally on strategies to overcome Toxic Work Environments, Organizational Structural failures that impede safety and efficiency and an array of other issues. Currently Keith is employed with the Veterans Administration National Center for Patient Safety and assigned to the Central Office in Washington, DC.


Keith Essen, PhD, MSN, BSN