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Katy Welkie: Working with Care

By: Josh McFadden

May 1, 2012

Any parent who has had to send a child to Primary Children’s Hospital knows that child is getting the best possible care. Now, families can be assured the excellence will continue under the direction of new CEO Katy Welkie.

Welkie has a wealth of healthcare experience to prepare her for her role of ensuring safe care and the highest value for patients at the nationally renowned hospital. After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1983, Welkie started a long and successful career at Primary Children’s that began as a bedside nurse and has included responsibilities in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

“[The PICU] was an immensely stimulating mental and emotional environment,” Welkie says. “It was there I developed a strong commitment to the value of relationships and the importance of teamwork.”

Welkie became director of the PICU in 1992, followed by the position of chief nursing officer a decade later. Last spring, she was appointed as the hospital’s chief operating officer, and she recently accepted the position of CEO.

Welkie knows firsthand what a special place the hospital is and how important her responsibilities are.

“There really is not a better place to work than in a children’s hospital, and Primary Children’s is an exceptional hospital,” she says. “You know that every day when you come to work, you have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.”

Welkie already has a clear vision and well-defined objectives.

“It’s about making sure we have the right people on our teams, that they have the resources to do their jobs well, that there is a clear direction and that we are guided by a common mission and common values.”

Welkie acknowledges that the healthcare industry poses many challenges. She notes that finding a way to advance the quality of care while trying to keep costs down is a priority. Coping with change is another task Welkie is coaching her employees to accomplish. But whatever obstacles she may encounter, she’s comforted in knowing she can positively impact lives every day.

“If you are ever having a difficult day or feeling like your job is daunting, you can spend time visiting with patients, families and staff in the hospital,” she says. “You return in awe of the courage, strength and resilience of humans—large and small.”

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