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Everyday Heroes 2018: Corrine Kohn

“She is dedicated to her work and to her family. She gives 100 percent to everyone.”

Corrine Kohn is a nurse leader and serves as the quality coordinator for all of the ambulatory clinic nursing staff for Mercy Health.
Corrine Kohn is a nurse leader and serves as the quality coordinator for all of the ambulatory clinic nursing staff for Mercy Health.

As the manager of nursing practice and quality at Mercyhealth, the focus of Corrine Kohn’s job is to assess clinic best practices, analyze data and provide insight on how to improve the patient experience. But her personal focus in this role is making sure practitioners and nurses, her “partners,” feel heard and valued.

“In this role, I’m always asking the question, ‘How can we make this better?’ It’s a team effort to give our patients the best possible care,” Kohn said.

Kohn and her team use data to drive best-practice improvement and identify barriers to help patients get the best care. They serve Mercyhealth clinics in Winnebago, Walworth, Rock and McHenry counties. They also provide education for physicians and nurses to keep them up to speed on workflows and protocols. For patients, they visit local libraries to provide education on health topics such as blood pressure screening and flu vaccinations. This year, they are focusing their efforts on HPV vaccination, colorectal cancer screening and hepatitis C screening.

The primary goal is to provide physicians and nurses with the tools to provide patients the best-quality care. Even something as simple as analyzing where equipment is stored in an exam room can affect the patient care experience.

This focus on care came naturally to Kohn, who knew she wanted to be a nurse in high school. Growing up in Chicago, her parents took care of her grandparents at their home. She learned from experience how to care for patients and their families. It was her grandfather who encouraged her to pursue a nursing degree. She began her career at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago, working nights and weekends for 15 years while raising her children. She then worked with morbidly obese patients in Gurnee, and became the process improvement coordinator at Mercyhealth in 2013.

Kohn is passionate about patient care, a quality that at once makes this role her calling and greatest challenge.

“The transition from direct patient care into this role was challenging for me, because I’m passionate about taking care of patients,” Kohn said. “But I realized that I could channel that by living through my partners and by making sure to support a culture of safety for patients.”

When Michelle Boyer, Kohn’s oldest daughter, talks about her mother, she becomes emotional.

“She is truly the best person I know. Everyone says that about their moms, but it’s really true for me,” Boyer said. “She is dedicated to her work and to her family. She gives 100 percent to everyone.”

The value Kohn provides in her role is best seen in the value she gives others. For her, it’s all about respect for fellow humans.

“You become a nurse because you want to help people,” she said. “You want them to know they have a voice and they matter.”

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