Patient Safety Champion: Charge nurse Kendra McCarthy says ‘safety is ingrained in how I nurse’

Halifax Infirmary charge nurse Kendra McCarthy has been named at Patient Safety Champion.
Halifax Infirmary charge nurse Kendra McCarthy has been named at Patient Safety Champion (Chelsea Tucker/NSHA).

For charge nurse Kendra McCarthy, patient safety is a vital part of every task her team takes on at the Halifax Infirmary’s medical surgical intermediate care unit.

“It’s ingrained in how I nurse,” she said. “I don’t really think of it as something special.”

McCarthy is constantly striving to ensure patients on her unit at the QEII Health Sciences Centre site receive the best care possible.

As charge nurse, McCarthy leads the team of nurses on her unit, ensuring everything runs smoothly. Her days are filled with making sure nurses have the appropriate assignments, facilitating rounds with the medicine team, coordinating patient transfers and helping out where needed.

Her dedication to the patients on her unit has been noticed by many.

“Kendra's keen assessment skills allow us all to work in a safer environment and provide outstanding and safe patient care in our area,” said Christopher Fraser, manager of the HI's medical surgical intermediate care unit.

Patient safety is a key component of every nurse’s job, according to McCarthy.

Making sure patients are safely cared for includes everything from ensuring they’re receiving the right medication to helping them get up safely. For her, it all comes back to working to prevent harm.

“Kendra identifies safety concerns before they arise with a focus on prevention,” Fraser said, “using all of the tools at her disposal.”

Rather than focusing solely on a few patients, McCarthy’s position allows her to see the larger perspective on how patients move through acute care.

“It’s rewarding to see the bigger picture,” she said.

McCarthy always saw herself “going into health care.” After earning an undergraduate degree in biology, she quickly found her calling in nursing.

With 12 years as a registered nurse on her resume, McCarthy started embarking on the next path in her health care journey. When she’s not working on the medical surgical intermediate care unit, she’s studying to become a nurse practitioner.

Thank you, Kendra, for being a strong patient safety advocate for your patients!