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“Our standards are high because we care.”

Karen Hunter


Karen Hunter’s been a registered nurse since 1981. Over that time she’s been in the front lines clinical care across several Catholic Health venues.

“I’d already been in nursing a year or so when my father required hospitalization at St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center®,” she recalled. “Seeing the level of care and all-in commitment impressed and inspired me. I applied for an open position, and the next thing I knew, I was working in one of their med/surg units.”

Over the years, Karen has moved around, from med/surg to ICU to CCU. She took a pause from her career to concentrate on raising her family, but then re-entered nursing, soon finding herself at St. Catherine of Siena.

When Catholic Health moved from paper office charts to Electronic Medical Records, Karen transitioned into chart abstraction management, helping physician practices make the switch to Epic. As she did the majority of her abstract work for Great South Bay Family Medical, part of St. Francis Hospital, it wasn’t long before she joined that practice, becoming an ambulatory care nurse in 2015.

“The switch from inpatient care to outpatient care was a decision I will never regret,” said Karen. “I’m very involved in assisting patients in continuing their recovery post-discharge. We’re in constant communication with patients and their families, ensuring that they’re taking their meds and making their follow-up appointments.”

Karen likes the diversity of ambulatory care. “Some of the work is post-hospital transition of care, some of it is preventive care, like scheduling vaccines. There’s also a lot of triage, managing inbound calls from patients and their families, making a determination on whether they should come in for an examination or go to the Emergency Department. It’s what we’re here for.”

As someone who’s seen Catholic Health from a number of vantage points, Karen says it’s easy to see a common denominator. “We have extremely high standards. That’s because we care. The patients’ needs always come first.”

Karen’s advice to nurses thinking of joining Catholic Health? “Go for it. This is a very positive and collaborative environment. The work is not always easy, but we support each other. There’s a great deal of mentoring so you’re always learning. And when you see your patients getting better, and their families express their thanks, that’s your greatest reward.”

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Read more Living and Working the Mission stories.

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