Kathleen Cleary

Kathleen Cleary, RN, BSN

Seniors Clinic
University of Colorado Hospital
Aurora, Colorado
United States
The call was turned over to Kathy who spoke to him in a calm and reassuring voice, gently reasoning with him until he felt satisfied with the plan presented to him.

Truly there isn't a nurse we have worked with who is more deserving of The DAISY Award than Kathy Cleary.  In a typical week, she and her team manage at least 10 different specialty practices and one primary care practice. It is a major challenge for her work with the personalities and expectations of all the providers.  She does an amazing job with this, making each provider feel as if they are the most important.  But her most valuable skill is her ability to make each patient feel special and that their concerns are being addressed. She can do this despite the many unique personalities and challenging situations she frequently encounters. 

For example, she and her dedicated team beautifully managed an elderly man with severe dementia who was requiring a Foley catheter to manage his bladder outlet obstruction.  Due to his dementia, this kind man had become at times combative and belligerent. His daughter was very involved, very caring, and very emotional.  There were episodes when this gentleman became disruptive in the parking lot and in the elevator. There was pressure to "solve" this problem, but truly the only way to fully prevent further incidents would have been to bar him from the clinic. With Kathy at the helm, there was excellent coordination with the Urology team and home health to manage his health problems.  Extra measures were taken, carefully planned in advance, to help the patient feel safe and increase the likelihood that he would remain calm.  This was successful, owing to a careful review of his case to learn from what did not go well.  The patient and his daughter may have been one of the most satisfied customers of the Lone Tree clinic!

In another example, a sometimes “difficult” patient had sustained a fracture and required home health in order to function in his home during his recovery. He had fired to home health agencies and was arguing with one of our nurses, demanding things that most would consider unreasonable. The call was turned over to Kathy who spoke to him in a calm and reassuring voice, gently reasoning with him until he felt satisfied with the plan presented to him.

In addition to her efforts to ensure patients receive the finest care, she has also taken the lead in extraordinary projects to improve the care we provide.  Specifically, she has single-handedly developed a system to identify our patients who have been hospitalized at non-UC-Health area hospitals.  Because of the Lone Tree Clinic’s location, most hospitalized patients do not use UCHealth in Aurora. Yet knowing about hospitalizations is critical, so that transitions of care can be optimally managed.  She has also taken the lead in setting up a Patient Advisory Group for the Lone Tree Seniors Clinic.  Input from this group of patients will help us deliver a higher quality of care.

In summary, Kathy Cleary is very deserving of The DAISY Award recognition because of her extraordinary service to patients, providers, and the UCHealth System.