Kathryn Quinn, NP

Practice Specialty:

Practice Location:
Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA 

Describe why you chose to become an NP.

Growing up, I always wanted to work in the healthcare field. My intention was to go to an MD/PhD program and work as a physician doing bench to bedside medicine/research. After college, I worked in a neurosurgery lab for 2 years and quickly realized how much I disliked the lab and missed human connection. I switched jobs and worked as a clinical research coordinator at MGH in their cancer center and that was my first exposure to nurse practitioners. I interfaced with both physicians and nurse practitioners, but really loved how much more time nurse practitioners spent with patients. It was that experience that changed my career trajectory and went to a master’s entry NP program 1 year later.

Describe a situation in which you made a meaningful difference in the lives of one of your patients.

I work at Boston Medical Center which serves the city’s most vulnerable patient population. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is incredibly challenging, but even more so when you are here alone without family or resources. I had a patient from Jamaica who had an aggressive form of metastatic prostate cancer and during his treatment he was also diagnosed with Sezary syndrome. He had limited education, and it further complicated a very challenging social situation. We treated both aggressively, however it became very clear that things were advancing quickly. It is a fine line to determine when to stop treatment, especially when patients have family elsewhere as you never want to miss that window. We were able to celebrate his final birthday in the United States and worked as a team to have his family come here and transport him back to Jamaica to ensure he was able to spend his final time with his family. I will never forget him, and how grateful he was for our transparency and for really treating him as a person not as a diagnosis

What do you think is the best part of being a Nurse Practitioner?

I absolutely love my job. It can be challenging, but I know at the end of each and every day I am making the lives of others better. I can sleep at night knowing that I am doing meaningful and impactful work.

Describe your greatest practice challenge in the current healthcare environment.

My greatest practice challenge is the ever changing landscape of the healthcare environment. Administration without direct healthcare experience makes decisions. We need more clinicians moving into administrative roles to ensure good care continues to be provided and is more quality based not quantity.

What is the best advice you have been given or would give to a student entering the profession?

It is important to be self-aware--identify what you know and what you don’t know, and always strive to be a better clinician.