Leaders are not in charge, but responsible for those in their charge. – Simon Sinek
About Kathleen Koch
I was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. My Mother worked part-time as a bookkeeper, and my Father was in charge of snow removal at Buffalo International airport for 35 years. They strongly advocated for my sister and I to get a college education as neither of them were college graduates. My parents demonstrated and encouraged a strong work ethic to meet all personal and professional goals. I attended the University of Buffalo and graduated from the UB School of Nursing in 1987 with my Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing Degree. I wish I could tell you I knew I wanted to be a Nurse or that I loved Nursing School, but instead I feel it was a rite of passage and I was following my parents wishes to get a college education. I’m forever grateful to the UB School of Nursing for identifying that I was not feeling challenged giving me the opportunity to do clinical time in the intensive care unit at a level I trauma center. I knew immediately that I loved working with critically ill and injured patients and their families. This was a high performing team in a teaching environment where everyone contributed to our patients outcome. As a new grad nurse, I was expected to work on a busy med/surg unit to develop fundamental skills before I could seek the opportunity to work in a critical care unit. I had the opportunity to transition to critical care working in the Trauma/Surgical/Burn ICU at Duke University Medical Center. The academic environment, collaboration, and innovation of all clinical and interdisciplinary team members fueled my desire to be the best critical RN I could be. They invested in each and every team member knowing the impact that it would have on patient outcomes! I returned to Buffalo to help my parents care for sick grandparents and worked at Erie County Medical Center, affiliated with the University of Buffalo Medical School and level I trauma center. As I transitioned, I had the opportunity to precept new critical care units, coaching and mentoring them along with the very smart and talented Physicians, Nurses, and other team members. I left Buffalo in 1992 as a traveling Nurse heading South for a break from Northern weather! In Florida, I initially worked at Bayfront Hospital in the Neuro ICU then took an assignment at Tampa General Hospital. I have always enjoyed the environment a teaching facility, tertiary care, and level I trauma center possessed. I worked in the ICUs to include Pediatric ICU, Neonatal ICU, CCU, Cardiovascular ICU, and the ED. It was while working in the Emergency Department that I was exposed to the Aeromed air transport team and Dr. Catherine Carrubba, Aeromed Medical Director.
Dr. Carrubba was a brilliant adult and pediatric board-certified ED physician who was an icon in the air medical industry. She helped develop a program committed to patient care and safety. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work and learn from Dr. Carrubba about the impact of a high performing team on patient care. Dr. Carrubba embodied integrity and leadership in everything she did. I earned the opportunity to work as a Chief Flight Nurse continuously learning and being challenged. After 23 years, I still love my career, work to promote the high performing team. I am a proud member of Tampa General Hospital committed to healing, teaching, and innovating – core values I believe in. My role has changed, and I challenge myself to be the best leader possible. Leadership does not mean we are in charge, but responsible for those in our charge. My goal now is to be the best leader possible while coaching and mentoring those who will fill my position in the future. When those future caregivers and leaders are promoting the safest and best care possible, I will know I’ve contributed to the well being of others!