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Nursing Home Week Spotlight: Kathy Wire

Nursing Home Week Spotlight: Kathy Wire

The Center for Patient Safety is proud of our diverse team and is especially proud of our Patient Safety Specialist, Kathryn Wire, JD, MBA, CPHRM, CPPS. Having spent much of her time in nursing homes, hospitals and health systems throughout her career, she now enters her tenth year with the Center in a supporting role. She is a valuable resource to all of our participating organizations. We recently sat down with Kathy and asked her a few questions…

Q: What first interested you in healthcare?
I stumbled into healthcare when I began defending hospitals in my first job at a law firm.  Within a few years, I moved into the field full-time, working for a hospital.

Q: Why is patient safety important to you?
I have always worked in patient safety in some form.  Initially, it was a way of preventing exposure in lawsuits.  But it became clear that our goal had to be good care, not just avoiding legal losses.  Then, there was not a "patient safety" function in the organizational structure, but it was the end result of doing work well.

Q: What do you miss most about working on the front lines (or in a care setting)?
I miss the contact with the people we work for and the fast pace of work.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at the Center for Patient Safety?
CPS has a great bunch of people who all just want to make care better. 

Q: Based on your experience in the healthcare provider setting, and your experience at the Center, what is your message to other [nurses/LTC/EMS/Hospitals]?We have to look at safety issues with an attitude of abundance:  "We can make this better."  The rest is details.

Q: What is your greatest achievement around patient safety (either in a previous job or current job)?
Early in my career, I worked very hard to move the focus from lawsuit losses to performance improvement and managing communication and conflict with our patients and families.  It is both satisfying and frustrating to see that so much of the healthcare industry is still struggling to make that transition 20 years later.  But every bit of progress helps.

Q: What was the last book you read?
The Girl on the Train

Q: Who do you admire?
The women on the Supreme Court.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share - interesting tidbits about where you’ve lived, where you’ve worked, about spouse, children or grandchildren, etc?
I was raised in a family that stressed generosity with time, treasure and talent.  I hope I can continue that theme and I am proud of the fact that my kids and bonus (in-law) kids all work in helping professions and have followed a similar path.