Kathy Torpie

Kathy Torpie s a psychologist, magazine columnist, an international author and professional speaker.

As a psychologist and long term multi trauma patient with experience of the health care sector at just about every level of care, Kathy offers a unique perspective of health care that is based on both professional and personal experience. It is a perspective that few other speakers can offer.

By combining her own experiences as a patient with insights as a psychologist, Kathy demonstrates the essential role that interpersonal and communication understandings and skills play in every aspect of the patient experience. She refers to medical research and organizational theory to then show how these same understandings and skills, when applied to relationships throughout the health care organization, deliver benefits including improved clinical outcomes, savings in time and money, staff retention, and improved patient satisfaction.

In 2005, Harper Collins NZ published a book Kathy authored about my medical and personal journey of recovery (Losing Face; A Memoir of Lost Identity and Self Discovery). She has since been invited to present as a Keynote speaker to medical conferences in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States. She had the honour to be the first patient to deliver a Keynote presentation to 3,000 world leaders in health care from 70 countries at the 2011 International Forum on Quality & Safety, organized by IHI and the BMJ Group. Kathy is happy to say that the audience response was enthusiastic, as was the response to her presentation at the 2011 NRC Picker International Symposium.


• Coping with change
• Success – finding opportunity even in the worst scenario


“I watched you present at the International Patient Safety and Quality Conference in Amsterdam and was deeply moved by your story.... I have decided that following my Amsterdam experience I would like to share your experiences with my colleagues, to ensure that clinicians are more self-aware in my ICU environment. It is all too easy, to become obsessed with outcome data, latest audit results and the latest bundle. All too often we judge our success as a service on survivor rate/mortality rate, infection rates and compliance data etc. Too long have we contented ourselves with the fact that we 'saved' someone’s life...... Can I finally applaud you again for sharing your experience with us, and being the true voice of patient-centered care.” (Intensive care nurse with 14 years experience NHS, UK)

“I wanted to write and tell what a privilege and pleasure it was to listen to you speak at the International Forum on Quality & Safety in Healthcare in Amsterdam in April. I am a Charge Nurse in The Children’s Emergency Department..., England and I have all ready made progress to develop how we gain feedback from our patients and families following the forum, and in particular your powerful and very interesting accounts of your personal experiences in healthcare... For your interest I have also included a slide which is one of three that we are presenting to the regional patient safety conference here in Nottingham and your presentation and recommendations have been acknowledged and shouted about very positively!” (Charge Nurse NHS, UK)

To hear Kathy give talk is to hear a pin drop in the room at the same time. And for days afterwards that is the lecture that sticks in your mind. That is the topic that people talk about afterwards. Kathy provides the take-away message of any conference.

Kathy talks powerfully and provocatively and intimately of the patient experience and the need for empathy throughout the patient journey.

Kathy is an inspiration not just the first time you hear her but over and over again.

Buy the book but be careful with whom you share it. If you do not track the borrower you will find yourself needing to buy another book. This is a message that everyone working in the health system needs to not just hear but act upon as well. (Gray Maingay FPS MRPharmS Chronic Care Pharmacist ,Middlemore Hospital)

“Your topic of ‘The Patient Experience’ on Saturday was so well received and certainly set the scene for a lively conference. There has been some great feedback (to me) on your talk including from my General Manager, Brad Healey, who attended for a couple of hours that day.” (Lesley Hawke and the NZHPA Conference Committee 2008)

“It was a pleasure to hear your story, to see you connect with so many of the Healthcare professionals and even your questions to other speakers were a learning experience! You are a grand lady and I count it pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet and work with you.” (Lynn Phillips, Senior Conference & Partnership Executive, The Governance Institute)

“Renowned speaker, former patient shares healthcare journey.... Her life changed forever after a severe head-on collision from a drunk driver. She experienced almost all levels of healthcare in the public and private sectors as a multi trauma patient of 17 years – as a critical care patient on life support, an elective surgery patient and outpatient. Now, Kathy Torpie is acclaimed as one of the most sought after speakers in the healthcare industry, both on a personal and professional level..... Jona Raasch, CEO of The Governance Institute, said Torpie has been one of TGI’s frequent speakers and has been very well-received. “As I read her book, I looked and looked and she covered all aspects of Picker’s dimensions of care.” (NRC Picker Focus e-Newsletter, October 2011)