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Kathy Swanson: 40 Years of Caring

On the month of her 40th anniversary, Kathy Swanson, the President of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, announced her decision to retire.  Today, January 26, marks her last day with Orlando Health and closes out a long and successful career that impacted countless lives and the Central Florida community at large.

Kathy Swanson, who started out as a NICU nurse under Dr. Gregor Alexander, has become the life-blood of Arnold Palmer Medical Center.  Being part of the organization since 1977, she has held various positions, including administrator of business planning, administrator of clinical/ancillary services, director of nursing, and nurse manager of pediatric services.  Aside from her impressive professional pedigree, she holds the rare honor of being part of the group that toured Mr. Palmer when he first came to Orange Memorial Hospital (as it was called before) and had the rare opportunity in one’s career to open not only one hospital, but two – Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

What her pedigree doesn’t encapsulate is her infectious smile, the grace of her character, and the warmth she radiates to everyone she meets.  Whether she is meeting with a patient, donor, doctor, nurse, environmental staff, or security, she has the ability to convey pure empathy, understanding, and compassion and leave you knowing that you are a member of her Arnold Palmer family.  Some of our team members, who have known Kathy for many years, had the following to say on her retirement:

“I had the pleasure and great honor to work with Kathy for the last four decades.  As she climbed the administrative rankings to the highest position of President of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, she kept her strength, class, passion, and most importantly, her caring heart.  Her legacy and footprints will be felt throughout the walls of our hospital for years to come”— Dr. Gregor Alexander, NICU, Winnie Palmer Hospital

Kathy has dedicated her professional career serving babies, children, and families in Orlando through her tenure at Arnold Palmer Medical Center. She has been steadfast in her commitment to quality and compassionate care.  It has been a joy and privilege for me to serve with her for these past 40 years”— John Bozard, President, Orlando Health Foundation

Kathy is the Heart and Soul of APMC. Biggest fan of APH.  Somehow inspired me and others to achieve more.”— Dr. Larry Spack, Chief Quality Officer, Director, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Arnold Palmer Hospital

Her impact on Orlando Health and Arnold Palmer Medical Center has been tremendous. Her passion and priority has always been providing the best care for women, children, and babies in our community.  The investment of herself in APMC and all who serve there is immeasurable.  To say that she will be missed is an understatement.”—Sheila Bystrak, Chief Operating Officer, Winnie Palmer Hospital

While she treats the thousands of team members at Arnold Palmer Medical Center as part of her family, I have the honor of being part of the APMC family, and her immediate family. As her son, I couldn’t wish for a more caring, inspiring, and nurturing mother.  Being on the receiving end of her care, I can say with certainty that the love she gives her kin is of the same quantity and quality she gives to each child she sees in our hospital.  I am often told by team members how inspirational my mother is to them.  My reply is typically, “You have only seen the professional side of her; she is more profound than you could ever believe.” — Tyler Swanson, Foundation Events Coordinator, Orlando Health Foundation


Although she will be deeply missed, her legacy, life mission, and love will still vibrate within the walls of Arnold Palmer Medical Center.