Faces of the QEH – Kara McQuaid-Duffy

“Kindness, caring and compassion are what people remember”

For over 25 years Kara McQuaid-Duffy has been supporting oncology patients of the QEH during their most difficult moments. Kara began her career in 1989 at the QEH as a front-line nurse and worked in that capacity until 2013, when she began a new role as the Clinical Nurse Lead in the Cancer Treatment Centre at the QEH. She now works closely with front-line nurses, educating and supporting them in delivering the best care possible to patients.

Person-centered care is something Kara is very passionate about, as she believes health care providers can do so much more for patients. “Everybody comes through these doors with a story; everybody comes with something that is important to them. It means a lot to patients and their families when we take the time to listen.  Kindness, caring and compassion are what people remember,” explains Kara.

Kara acknowledges that at times oncology nursing can be challenging, it can be sad, but there are also many great outcomes and stories of triumph to celebrate. “Thanks to medical advances, many patients live for a very long time. For some patients a cancer diagnosis becomes a chronic illness. It’s amazing the strength you can see in the patients, and it makes you a stronger person for being a part of it,” says Kara.

Knowing that essentially 100% of the state-of-the-art equipment in place at the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre is thanks to generous donors to the QEH Foundation, Kara herself contributes through the iDonate QEH Family Staff Giving Campaign, which are bi-weekly donations made through payroll deductions. “To have the equipment in place and be able to treat our patients right here on the Island, keeping them in their homes and close to their families as they go through a difficult journey – that’s invaluable.”