Kathleen Ahmann
December 2021
Transplant Center
Hennepin Healthcare
United States




Kathy has not only performed her job exceptionally well but is also willing to take initiatives out of her defined responsibilities to help others when needed.
I work with Kathy in the hospital with our post kidney transplant patients. Kathy is dedicated to providing an excellent education for the patient and family and is able to gear it to what is needed and what she can work on once in the clinic setting. She is good at looking at the future needs the patient will have and making sure at discharge all the loose ends get wrapped up. Transplant patients have a huge amount of information thrown at them and on top of major surgery; their lives turn upside down. Sometimes they get caught between dialysis and a functioning transplant. These are the most complicated discharges.

Kathy’s understanding of the dialysis world and now the new world of transplants for these patients can help bridge them and help calm them. She is their constant from the hospital and in the very vital transition to the clinic setting. She is a wonderful patient advocate and always goes the extra mile and then some. These are very complicated patients. On top of her superb attention to her patients, she is the best co-worker. Kind, forgiving of all the missed orders I may have at discharge, to a wonderful communicator with the rest of the team.

The clinic has had some staffing shortages and she has stepped up to the plate to do what is needed. She has come in on days off and re-adjusted days. As things settle down, I look forward to working on some mutual projects together. We are very lucky to have her in the Transplant Program. I wanted to continue to express how much I (as well as other nephrologists) enjoy working with Kathy in the post-transplant clinic. She is able to multi-task and is extremely dedicated, frequently helping us in the clinic even though it might be noon and others have gone to lunch. She is intelligent and quickly picks up how we manage commonly encountered problems post-transplant so we don’t have to rehash the plan every time. She establishes good rapport with patients and I have the sense that they trust her, sometimes to her own detriment because then they end up calling her several times a day.

New transplant patients are typically taking high-dose steroids and are often overwhelmed and emotional with all the new information. Kathy takes the time to put them at ease and reassure them that she is with them every step of the way and that the patient has the full support of the entire transplant team. She emphasizes that the patient is not alone! Rather the patient is part of the transplant team and that we will work together to not only get the patient's needs met but also to help them thrive as they launch their new life with a kidney transplant. She has a high emotional IQ and is very good at speaking in a calm, quietly reassuring way that puts patients and families at ease so that they are in a state where they can actually take in the new information.

Kathy is never reactive to an upset patient. She is able to meet them where they are at and go from there. When needed, she has literally spent several hours with a new transplant patient to help them through the visit, understand what they need to do and when/how to call the transplant clinic for assistance including after hours. She acts as an informal captain of their initial transplant journey. She helps them chart the way and avoid icebergs. If they do hit a complication, she helps support them to effectively and professionally address the patient’s needs while working closely at all times with the interdisciplinary team.

Kathy had an independent, demanding role at the Transplant Clinic. Kathy has embraced her position and continually works at developing her role to benefit the transplant program and patients. Kathy is self-motivated, hardworking, and patient-centered. Kathy goes above and beyond to support patients and the clinic's needs and goals. Kathy is always reaching out to expand her knowledge about transplants. Kathy develops relationships with her patients and ensures patients’ trust and confidence in her care and knowledge. Kathy has been an exceptional addition to our transplant team! Kathy, as inpatient transplant coordinator, provides consistent care bridging the inpatient and outpatient transplant worlds establish a relationship built on trust and reliability with patients, family, and colleagues. She helps equip new transplant patients with the tools and resources to successfully take on a whole new treatment regimen following transplant.

And if that was “all” she did it would qualify her for this award. But Kathy goes beyond that, she is a team player. Noting when a colleague may be struggling or foreseeing a concern, she proactively jumps in an emotionally intelligent manner that supports her colleagues. During the past year of furloughs, and with coworkers on leaves of absences, etc., Kathy, again and again, was willing to learn new tasks, and take on new roles, to make sure that safe and patient-centered care which we are known for was maintained. She is emotionally intelligent, patient-centered, a consummate team player. She embodies HHS essential values! So proud to have her on the Kidney Center and HHS team. She is diligent and attentive to all details of her patients’ care, never misses an abnormality, so very complete overall. She also exhibits a strong degree of emotional intelligence in caring for her patients, is intuitive to their specific needs, can meet them at whatever level they need to help their understanding of their condition.

From her years in dialysis, she obviously has skills related to understanding kidney disease, but most impressive is her general empathic care of all of the Program’s patients. Kathy has not only performed her job exceptionally well but is also willing to take initiatives out of her defined responsibilities to help others when needed. There were many times when I asked Kathy a question and she ended up spending time to help me solve the problem.