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HOK’s Kathleen Schwarz on the Frontlines of COVID-19 Crisis as ICU Nurse

Senior consultant with HOK’s Healthcare Consulting practice is an ICU nurse at one of New York City’s largest hospitals dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the midst of the worst healthcare crisis of our generation, nurses are working side by side with doctors and other healthcare workers, risking their lives every day to help save others. One of these unsung heroes is Kathleen Schwarz, MPA, BSN, RN, a registered nurse and senior healthcare consultant in HOK’s New York studio.

Schwarz has been working 12-hour shifts at one of NewYork-Presbyterian’s intensive care units (ICUs) while balancing her responsibilities with HOK’s Healthcare Consulting practice. With 14 years of experience as an acute care nurse, she is leveraging her skills in the ICU to care for the sickest patients.

“I work with an incredible group of people at NewYork-Presbyterian,” said Schwarz. “We’re providing the best care we can to our patients and families during this surreal time. We come to work each day with overwhelming emotions of fear, anxiety, hopefulness and uncertainty. Focusing on the little wins and positive moments allows for a glimmer of hope. After intense 12-hour shifts at the hospital, a simple thank you has never been more appreciated. It’s nice to hear that people are gracious for your efforts.”

“Working with healthcare professionals for nearly 30 years, I have always known them to be dedicated, altruistic and caring people,” said Anthony Roesch, director of HOK’s Healthcare Consulting practice. “Now I would add heroic to that list.”

After receiving her nursing degree and working at a hospital in Philadelphia for several years, Schwarz moved to New York City to join NewYork-Presbyterian’s nursing staff in 2010. She started collaborating with HOK’s Healthcare Consulting group in 2013, and then earned her Master’s degree in Public Administration from NYU.

“I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. I also knew there was more I could do to enhance the clinical environment and care delivery, which led me to consulting and furthering my education,” said Schwarz. “Working with HOK’s Healthcare Consulting group while going back for my masters allowed me to see the larger picture outside the clinical environment and the impact all factors have on broader healthcare strategy and planning.”

Schwarz has been working dual roles as a clinical nurse at NYP and healthcare consultant at HOK for seven years. She draws on her clinical and operational experience to help clients assess their healthcare delivery and facility needs and then develops strategic plans that support their organizational vision and goals.

“Kathleen’s experience on the frontlines of the crisis will enhance our ability to help clients deal with the immediate and long-term impacts of the pandemic,” said Roesch.


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