Katie Rucker, sepsis coordinator at Advent Health Kansas City, goes above and beyond in her daily tasks. Having a
passion for her patients she noticed that sepsis was often a complication that could be mediated if only it was more quickly recognized. She took an initiative to educate her fellow nurses and soon a position was created for her to continue this work throughout the Advent Health systems network. In the spring of 2020, when COVID-19 immobilized our nation, filled our hospitals with patients they weren’t quite sure how to treat – the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and all of the hospital staff in the trenches of this war for health were physically and emotionally exhausted. Katie organized a collection of encouragement from the community. Cards, caffeinated beverages, meals delivered for the hospital staff… Katie made it happen. Her 8 year old collected hand made cards from his friends and neighbors. Katie cleared a bulletin board and posted it all – and a moment of appreciation was provided for everyone in a bleak profession who paused to take a look at her board. Sepsis never sleeps and Katie’s job never took a break, but neither did the nurses assigned to the COVID unit outside her office.
Outside of her daily job requirements Katie stepped in to be another hand in a department that was fighting the virus on the frontline. Through PPE shortages and many unknown factors, she didn’t hesitate to be there for her fellow nurses and for the patients who were scared and alone and isolated from their families. Watching people suffer alone in their last breaths wanting only to say final words to their families Katie collaborated with teams and created a process to teleconnect the patients with their families so they could see and speak to them one last time. In the spare time she created between working full time and finishing her masters in nursing leadership to add yet another collection of medical letters to her name, Katie also made masks to make sure people had PPE to keep them safe outside of hospitals. She would log on to update her community on what was going on in a non-sensationalized non-anxiety causing manner. She reminded people to stay calm, to live their lives and not be paralyzed with fear. To stay safe and be cautious and yet not forget kindness in the chaos around us. When the pressure of it all got to each of her friends and they cried out for help she was not only a shoulder to cry on, but also had profound words of wisdom to pick them up, keep them on their path and enlighten the way to a better tomorrow.
When it simply got too much for her to watch anymore, Katie took on the challenge of finding ways to reconnect families – make sure they could see their faces, hear their voices, say what really needed to be said. She changed the game. She gave people moments that changed everything that this horrible virus has taken away from so many. She kept her head and her heart centered so she could keep focus on what matters most. She kept medicine in mind but never forgot the power of the human spirit when nourished with compassion, love and empathy.
If Katie doesn’t completely represent what it means to Go Be Great, I don’t know who does. She has been a blessing to so many people and what she has done cannot be repaid.
Katie embodies “Go Be Great” every day.