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Giving back to the community by giving your all

Kathleen Burke

Kathleen Burke has been part of Catholic Health’s St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® since 2004. In her capacity as manager for Telecommunications, she says the pandemic’s frequent surges were challenging as well as fulfilling.

“We fielded call after call from seniors or their families, all very concerned about where to get the vaccine. This was back when vaccines were just rolling out and were not yet widely available,” Burke recalled. “I compiled a long list and pushed for some extra attention for these callers. We were able to start up a special squad of ‘COVID communicators’ to contact each inquirer and help direct them to the easiest place to access the vaccine based on where they lived. We also assisted them in securing an appointment at St. Francis Hospital’s nearby DeMatteis Center.”

Burke shared that she and her team provided support for seniors who sometimes experienced challenges with online platforms. “We listened, showed empathy and carefully got the right information to the right people.”

She is quick to credit her many co-workers, especially St. Francis Hospital’s Vice President for Facilities George Huryn. “He’s really my mentor; always supportive, even when he gives me assignments that take me into new territory. It’s through those kinds of challenges that I continue to grow.”

The task of managing hospital telecommunications is tethered to Catholic Health mission. “We’re here for the patients as well as their families,” said Burke. “They all depend on us, and we take that very seriously.”

Asked what drives her, Burke replied, “At some point, we may end up spending time in the hospital. I think about how I’d want people to treat me or my family if the roles were reversed. That’s what it’s all about. And when I remember how so many community groups sent us meals during the COVID surges, I want to do what I can to give back. We all do here.”

“We” is a word Burke uses a lot in describing her department and St. Francis Hospital in general. “No one here walks around with hands in their pockets. Everyone pitches in. We all go the extra mile; we all have your back. It’s a very team-oriented environment, which I find very rewarding.”

Asked for words of advice for those looking to join the Catholic Health team, Burke responded, “Once you pick up the flow, you realize this isn’t a job—it’s home. This is a workplace that inspires you every day. And, as you make your individual contributions to our shared success, you realize how much you matter. It’s a very stimulating place to be.”

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