Katherine McDuffie

FON Photos edited x Mcduffie

Katherine McDuffie


Nurse Manager

Special Care Nursery

Duke Regional Hospital


Durham County Hospital Corporation Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice


Katherine has been a nurse for 23 years – 20 of those at Duke.  She said that she had planned to move back to Canada after one year, but stayed for her “dream job” and the professional growth opportunities.  Before becoming the leader of the Special Care Nursery at Duke Regional Hospital in September 2020, Katherine was a staff nurse and Clinical Lead for the Intensive Care Nursery at Duke University Hospital.  She said that she has made an impact by bringing her experience as a bedside nurse to leadership roles.  According to Katherine:  No one becomes pregnant and thinks that their journey will start with an infant who needs special care; so we experience it with them – being a shoulder to cry on or celebrating milestones.


This nurse exemplifies “doing the right thing.”  She ensures that her peers and staff uphold the highest level of integrity and accountability.  This nurse has promoted exceptional care for infants and neonates over the past many years, no matter the need, acuity, demographics or other variables of the various situations.  She demonstrates integrity by acknowledging implicit biases and needs, all while demonstrating equitable care provision to all.  This nurse strives to promote diversity within her unit to endorse a balanced work force that mirrors the diverse patient population.  She identifies opportunities for improvement within her unit and will offer professional, honest feedback to others to enhance their own practice of integrity and growth.


This nurse has worked diligently to grow in her profession and roles over the past decades as a nurse at Duke University Health System.  She has successfully climbed the Clinical Ladder and grown in her career from Clinical Nurse, to Clinical Lead RN, to currently a Nurse Manager.  As a manager, she promotes equitable, consistent leadership to her unit and in collaboration within the service line.  She earned specialty certification (CCRN) from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.  This nurse has not only progressed in the leadership realm of nursing, she also has also worked diligently to advance academically, as well.  This nurse earned her Master’s of Science in Nursing.  This nurse exemplifies professional growth and leads by example to promote the values of Duke Excellence, as well as the principles of the Magnet Recognition Program.  She encourages and promotes others to seek opportunities for professional growth and educational endeavors, as well.


After conducting a needs assessment, this nurse implemented an education plan on the best practice of lab sampling attainment from umbilical catheters.  Her innovative project was supported by evidence, engaging, promoted staff competence and confidence, and improved the care of the patient population.

Another influential implementation is this nurse’s standardization measures for intravenous (IV) tubing, including peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines, umbilical arterial and venous catheters (UAC, UVC) and peripheral intravenous (PIV) access.  Previously, the IV tubing for PIVs differed from that of PICC line tubing, but the standardization of one product, along with detailed staff education of the innovative care change, improved safety to decrease medication access errors and infection risks from unnecessary line changes.


This nurse has developed a Medication Safety Council to improve safe practices of administering all medications, but particularly emergency medications that are utilized less frequently.  During her innovative construction process, she consulted with multiple interdisciplinary team members regarding these medications and safe, effective administration during emergency situations.  She introduced and educated all staff on the need of intranasal Versed and provided skills and knowledge support on the proper way to administer medication via atomizer.

This nurse also planned and compiled a Safe Neonatal Transportation Kit for staff nurses to take when transporting neonates to other areas of the hospital for diagnostic testing and medical needs.  This safety initiative ensures life-saving measures and tools (including size- and age-specific resources) are accessible for emergency use, regardless of the location of the patient.  This project included input and feedback from interdisciplinary team members.


This nurse exemplifies the multiple facets of Swanson’s Theory of Caring.  Her professional ventures to not only navigate and climb the Clinical Ladder, but also grow and advance her professional role, have increased her knowledge and expertise to develop into a true leader.  Her wisdom and care of neonates, coupled with her initiative for knowledge attainment, promotes the theory of knowing.  Her concern for others and therapeutic presence is another attribute that demonstrates her ability to care for others.  She offers a calm, rational presence and can defuse any situation.  She extends herself to assist others with tasks, in times of need.  She enables others by offering tangible support and presence, as well as supporting others through her knowledge and teachings.  Her wisdom is unselfishly and humbly shared.  She offers direction, but always allows others to guide themselves in their journeys of learning.  She is an advocate of others and enables her team to the fullest extent.  This nurse maintains belief in the importance of collaboration and the effects of evidence-based care for patients and the community.


Words cannot express the value that this nurse brings to the organization, not only through knowledge-filled tenure, but by a prime example of leadership and care.


Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021