Loyalty at Its Best: Kathie Wilkerson celebrates 45 years of consistent service

Kathie Wilkerson has enjoyed a storied career at VUMC. She began her 45-year journey in the neurosurgery and orthopedic ward as a staff and charge nurse during a time when she says staffers were hanging patients in traction for weeks or months for fractures we now treat with surgery on day one. In the 1980s, Kathie worked with the IV team and was, in fact, the first certified IV therapist at Vanderbilt. In 1990, she was the first nurse hired by the Vanderbilt Pharmacy Department.

And since 1992, she has worked in Infection Prevention, currently as the Principal Infection Preventionist, leading the team in emergency preparedness. Kathie led the efforts to educate and train staff members during the Ebola crisis to properly don and doff protective gear, and she is still involved in regular drills and helps the Medical Center institution maintain a constant state of readiness.

Not surprisingly, Kathie says the best thing about working at VUMC is that there are no two days alike. “There is always something new or exciting to do or see and there is always the call that makes us say ‘They’re doing WHAT?’”

Kathie’s colleagues describe her as loyal and reliable — someone who is not just a coworker but also a friend. “Through graduations, weddings, and epic changes in electronic medical records, she remains steadfast like a light house in a storm,” says one colleague.