This past Monday, I attended a retirement party for one of Mass General’s “Greats” Kathy Hurxthal, NP, CDE. One of the larger conference rooms was packed with guests who all came to honor and thank Kathy for her 35 years of service to the MGH Diabetes Center. I was struck by the people who were in attendance. Colleagues were the largest group of attendees, but friends, family and patients also came to celebrate Kathy. Kathy’s colleagues shared fond memories of her early days at MGH and told stories of her elemental contributions to affecting change in the field of Diabetes. One patient was near tears as she commented on the impact Kathy has had on her life and that she considered Kathy a member of her family.
These things don’t surprise me. I have worked at MGH for five years as the Administrative Manager of the Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) and Support Program and was impressed with Kathy from day one. She is a carefree, fun-loving and empathetic individual who immediately puts you at ease when you first meet her. Kathy’s acumen as a Diabetes Educator has enabled her to transform countless patient lives by teaching them the necessary skills to manage their Diabetes. This rare combination of compassion and clinical knowledge has enabled Kathy to flourish as a Diabetes Educator.
Kathy is revered by her colleagues as the one to turn to when you don’t know the answer. As the chairperson of a monthly Diabetes Special Interest Group I often include case studies as part of the agenda for our educators to learn from each other. During these case studies, I witnessed countless times where all ears were tuned in to hear Kathy’s comments on the more challenging cases. Everyone knows that any of Kathy’s tips, suggestions and advice are trustworthy and deserve the utmost respect and consideration.
Kathy will be greatly missed, but her legacy will live on in the MGH DSME Program as we strive to emulate her style and influence. Thank you Kathy for your guidance, support and wisdom-you are an inspiration.