Kathey M., LPN 4

Kathey is the first LPN to advance to Level 4 in the Vanderbilt Professional Nursing Practice Program (VPNPP)*. Kathey and her manager contacted the VPNPP Steering Committee as soon as the program started and after much writing and re-writing completed her application package, a 3-inch ringed binder that contained more examples of excellent work than most nurses complete after several years. Her passions are variable and extend beyond immediate patient care to include interests in legal nursing issues and patients’ ability to access the care that they need. One of the most impressive things about Kathey is her willingness to coach and lead others in patient-related and organization-related initiatives which enhances nursing practice. Her dedication to solving problems is another key strength she exhibits.

*Click to read the VUMC Reporter article which highlights Kathey's VPNPP accomplishment.

Kathey's Story


My mother was my inspiration to become a nurse. She was not well and required a lot of care. I wanted to help by easing her pain and I knew that I could ease others' pain too. I was only 22 years old when I applied for nursing school with a 4 year old in my arms. I knew there would be many days that I would have to juggle going to school, caring for my child, and caring for my mother and father. I did not have enough money to really go to school, but was granted money to attend since my father was a Veteran. I almost gave up a couple of times, but fought hard to continue, and made it.

I am the Patient Assistance Coordinator and the Case Manager for Dr. David Schwartz in the IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Clinic. I prepare and give education and paperwork to patients. These are the ways and means to get their medications and procedures done, even though they do not have insurance, or little or no income. I am constantly looking for resources to help our patients, especially in this economy, because our patients are so very ill and require a lot of assistance with some very expensive medications. I also help manage their care, so they stay compliant with the Treatment Plan implemented by the provider. I educate each patient on how to stay compliant and what the outcome could be for being compliant, as well as not being compliant.

Being a nurse for 34 years, I have seen patients struggle on a daily basis to get what they need to stay well. Some neglect their healthcare because they do not have enough money to eat and take care of their healthcare needs. I want to make a difference because I know the means are available, so they don't have to make the choice - eat or be sick. I know that people are counting on me. That's what motivates me to come in to work every day. I have to be there. I have been in their shoes before and I know they need my help and guidance.

I have been married to my husband Scott for 10 years. I have the greatest daughter in the world, who also works at Vanderbilt, and a 14-year-old granddaughter. I have a cat named Merlot, who was rescued and named based on where he was rescued. I love to make jewelry, bake, paint, and in the summer I love to fish.

I love working at Vanderbilt. I am so glad that my daughter kept pushing me until I applied. I have the World’s Best Manager, and an awesome team that I work with every day. They are a “very well-oiled machine.” They operate so efficiently and have allowed me to add my expertise to the mix. Now we are the best and each and every patient can come to our clinic knowing that we care, understand, and will go over and above the call to help.