The Man for the Job: Dr. Joseph DeRanieri

His graduate work at WilmU has proved invaluable for this highly credentialed executive in his new job at Beebe Healthcare.

DeRanieriOf the five — count ’em, five — academic credentials that Dr. Joseph DeRanieri can claim, his MSN (master of science in nursing) from Wilmington University ranks among the most significant.

This is especially so in his current job as executive director of Orthopaedic Services at Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, Del., a position the 53-year-old was appointed to late last year.

“My education at Wilmington helped provide me with a strong understanding of research and how to use research in my everyday practice,” says DeRanieri, who received his MSN in 1995. “This is a huge component of my job, making evidence-based decisions happens every day and helps to increase the level of quality care I provide. In addition, I educate staff at Beebe and precept doctoral and master’s students from universities around the country on the application of evidence in clinical decision making. Having this content early in my nursing career has made a huge impact on my practice and skill set.”

The native New Yorker calls his two years at WilmU “a great experience,” and says he and his 19 classmates in the family nurse practitioner program were well supported by the faculty. “Wilmington was cutting-edge on
placing such a strong emphasis on evidence-based practice at the time. We got both great classroom experience and clinical experience; we did rotations in private practice as well as emergency rooms.”

He brings to his post at Beebe a solid background in orthopedics. “I worked for 10 years — part time — at Children’s Seashore House with brain-injured children who had orthopedic procedures,” he says. “While the population I currently work with is adult, the specific orthopedic issues
are very similar.”

His responsibilities are extensive. They include project management for orthopedics and physical rehabilitation, developing business strategies and initiatives to provide quality current care for orthopedic patients, enhance evidence-based practice across the healthcare system, manage physician relations with orthopedic surgeons, critically analyze business and clinical data to make cost-effective business decisions, and develop customized clinical systems for physical rehabilita-tion services.

Dr. Denise Westbrook, dean of the College of Health Professions, immediately congratulated DeRanieri on his appointment and offered any assistance he might need in his transition to Beebe. “My offer emanated from our connected paths,” she says, “that of a WilmU alumnus as well as a previous Beebe Nursing School alumnus and Surgical Services RN employee. Also, residing in Lewes, I have a vested interest in the success of my local community hospital and am humbled to know that Wilmington University has helped to play a part in Beebe’s continued pursuit of excellence in leadership. The success of our academic programs is certainly recognized by our national accreditors, but the proverbial cherry on top is witnessing our graduates embark on such opportunity that positively impacts the health of an entire community.”

Orthopaedic services is just the latest in a long list of wide-ranging specialties DeRanieri has tackled in a career that has taken him from New York to Philadelphia to Delaware, along with other stops, including a cooking school in Bangkok. In the process, he has compiled a curriculum vitae that runs to 11 pages.

It all started in Brooklyn, where he grew up the only child of a father who worked at the Stock Exchange as a financial printer and a mother who was a computer programmer and then a stay-at-home mom. After graduating in 1980 with honors from Brooklyn’s Xaverian, an all-boys Catholic high school, he enrolled — with the help of a partial scholarship — at New York University. First he got an associate degree in liberal arts, then he received a bachelor’s in finance, with a second major in health care administration.

“Both of my parents influenced my career path,” he says. “My mother had a background in finance and computer systems and my father was in finance. I come from a small family, as an only child, so I was always close with my parents.”

At first, the financial world beckoned.

“In college,” he says, “all of my summer jobs were in regional banking.” Those were temporarily heady times for the banking industry. “It was during the savings & loan crashes of the ’80s,” he says, then adds: “Many of those banks no longer exist.”

He quickly earned a new set of initials — R.I.A. (Registered Investment Advisor) — certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Then he made his first foray into the medical field, although it was as a senior investment analyst at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

In 1987, he moved to Delaware to work at American Express Credit Corp. in Wilmington. After one year, the company wanted to transfer him back to New York, but he found that he liked The First State, so he left Amex and took a job as a cost accountant at Mercy Catholic Medical Center, in Darby, Pa., just a short ride from his home in Bear, Del.

In 1991 he moved on to MeadowWood Behavioral Health System in New Castle, Del., where he demonstrated his versatility in several assignments, including mental health specialist, crisis intervention specialist, nurse recruiter, infection control nurse and finally, case manager.

While at MeadowWood, he spent two summers in an entirely new profession: teaching as an adjunct professor at Salem Community College in Carney’s Point, N.J. He found that he liked teaching, and in 1998 was hired by Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia as an assistant professor in its School of Nursing.

After nine years at Jefferson, he took a job closer to home, at the University of Delaware, and took on multiple assignments: assistant professor, coordinator of the Graduate Health Services Administration Program, and financial consultant for the Nurse Managed Health Care Center in the School of Nursing.

As he continued to succeed in the working world, DeRanieri was accumulating degrees: a BSN from Jefferson in 1992, an MSN from WilmU in ’95, and, via online study, a DM from Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs

His seemingly endless range of interests also led him to attain his BCECR (Board Certified in Emergency Crisis Response) from the American Academy of Traumatic Stress. He jumped into this new field in his spare hours, joining other counselors who went to work sites where shootings and other tragedies occurred, offering both group and individual counseling. “We worked with those who witnessed the event or were working there at the time,” he says.

Then 9/11 happened, and he began traveling periodically for nearly a year to New York and northern New Jersey to counsel New York City policemen and firemen who worked at Ground Zero.

“Mostly they suffered from PTSD,” he says. “They simply couldn’t cope anymore. It was crisis intervention, not long-term counseling. We got them into continuing therapy with a psychologist or therapist.”

DeRanieri found some relief from what must have been a stressful period for him by heading off to Bangkok with a friend in the summer of 2002. The trip involved yet another school, and another of his interests: cooking.

“I was always fascinated by Asia,” he says, “and as a professor at Jefferson I had the summer off, so I decided to spend some time there.”

He and his friend enrolled in the cooking school at the BelAire Bangkok Hotel. “We cooked in the hotel restaurant,” he says, “and we did the shopping for the hotel. Unlike America, where everything is pre-packaged, we bought everything fresh each day. There were just four of us in the class, and the other two were Aussies who were trained chefs. It was a great experience.”

He puts his cooking skills to use at his home in Rehoboth, where, he says, he and his husband, James Plutte, who also works at Beebe, entertain often.

His father died in 1989, but he continues to spend as much time with his mother, who now lives in Lewes, another Delaware seashore destination.

DeRanieri has been published numerous times on a staggeringly broad variety of healthcare topics, including Parkinson’s disease, the effects of youth violence, nutrition, exercise, virtually every aspect of nursing, and a 2015 collaborative article on emergency preparedness.

Somehow he also finds time to serve as one of the scientific reviewers for The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a government-sponsored organization charged with investigating the effectiveness of various medical treatments under Medicare. He also was recently appointed to the Cost Containment Committee for Delaware for the telemedicine program, which involves introducing medical specialties into rural areas via two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology. “This typically provides dedicated AV equipment so a physician or provider can remotely do an assessment of the patient in the room,” says DeRanieri.

Of his work at Beebe, he says, “It’s nice to have just one job now. And it lets me do all the things I have been trained for.”

He also was pleased to discover that many of the staff at Beebe are his former students. They call him “Dr. Joe.”

Given his résumé, “Dr. Jack” may be more accurate, as in Jack-of-all trades. Wu