Clinical Nurse Supervisor

Kelly MacKenzie always knew she wanted to be in healthcare, but it took breaks and changes in her major before deciding to pursue her passion—a career in nursing. “Once I figured out what I wanted to do, every-thing just clicked,” said the mother of two boys, reflecting on her 14 years in the field. We asked Kelly six questions to find out more about her role as Clinical Nurse Supervisor for TRICARE’s Nurse Advice Line, and to get some insight into this amazing QuarterLine employee who goes above and beyond to deliver superior service to the military community. 

#1) What is your typical day like? 

I manage 16 nurses on the team. We take calls from active-duty military, spouses, kids... and triage them to ensure they get the proper level of care. I address day-to-day needs, handling questions and concerns to make sure we’re meeting government standards. I coach them to improve call quality... 

#2) We know your husband is currently deployed overseas. How has this affect-ed how you do your job? 

Being married to an active-duty Air Force officer and exposed to the military culture for 15 years now, I’m glad to be able to give back through my work. He’s an aircraft officer and makes sure the planes are properly maintained. I’m thankful to be able to call and talk to him on a regular basis com-pared to earlier in his military career when I could only call once a week. We talk to him all the time... He’s our rock! 

#3) What do you like most about your job and why? 

My experience with the Military Health System helps me with decision-making when dealing with both active-duty and veteran patients that call the ad-vice line. I absolutely love the military community! It’s awesome to be able to support their health and wellness. 

#4) How has the pandemic changed the way you perform your duties? 

A.) It was like a switch flipped. It went from business-as-usual to chaos! Going from 1,500 calls per day before the pandemic to upwards of 5,000-6,000 calls per day after it has been one of the biggest challenges. Since the pandemic changes from day-by-day, we’re required to follow the CDC and make sure we’re looking at credible sources for information updates and guidelines. With COVID-19 comes isolation, stress, and despair, so I noticed a significant increase in calls regarding mental health. By going through the advice line, patients can sometimes more easily express how they feel. 

#5) How long have you been with QuarterLine and how has your career progressed so far? 

A.) I’ve been working here since 2018. After 6 months, they gave me addition-al responsibilities to work more closely with the Program Manager to support hiring and provide input when screening nurses for my team. Whether it’s a stubbed toe or an active heart attack, we need to make sure to provide great advice and care—to make them comfortable and build trust with them. You have to have experience under your belt to fully understand how to treat these patients. This entails a firm understanding of the process and the ability to make decisions quickly during the phone call. Our team has really grown in a good way. 

#6) What’s one thing you have yet to cross off your bucket list? 

I never made one, but I told my husband when he gets home from deployment, we need to take a vacation... maybe go swimming with dolphins. The kids like that idea too! Anything you’d like to add? The only reason I’ve been successful in this role is the caliber of the nurses that I work with. It’s a pleasure and an honor to work with them. I want to do good by them...do good for them. My team is just fantastic, and they have made everything possible! Knowing that I have these amazing people that need me, it has made it worthwhile... They truly are a blessing to me!”