NEW YORK NURSE: November 2009
What is a leader?
“A leader uses the privilege to motivate, initiate, agitate, and inspire leadership in others,” says Kittie McGee, president of the local bargaining unit at Harlem Hospital Center in Manhattan.
In recognition of her years of putting this philosophy into practice, McGee received the 2009 Delegate Assembly Award during the Unity Brunch at convention.
Born in Virginia, McGee moved to the Bronx in her youth. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York and master’s degree from Columbia University Teachers College. When she’s not working at Harlem Hospital, McGee – who is also a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and godmother – writes songs and is a soloist with her church choir.
McGee was drawn to nursing because of her interest in acute care nursing and in the use of pharmaceuticals to treat illnesses. After two years of bedside practice, however, she decided it was just as important to teach people how to prevent illness. “I saw the need to nurse the healthy public, as well as the sick,” she said.
McGee’s wisdom in the workplace is well-recognized. “Many people say: ‘You know everything.’ Of course I don’t know everything! I just know where to get answers,” she said.
She also has a reputation for fairness: “I believe in democracy. “I have respect and love for all races, colors, and orientations because people are God’s creatures and I have to answer to him about how I treat them!”