40-year nurse known for wisdom and "Star Trek" quotes


No, “K” isn’t a nickname. It’s K Anna Ashworth’s real first name.

“I don’t have a name. Just a letter,” says K, nurse manager of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “My mother said it came to her in a dream.”

What isn’t a dream are K's 40 years of being a nurse.

“I love what I do,” K says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s a calling – like being a priest.”

K lived a nightmare 11 years ago when she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. After a mastectomy and lumpectomy at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute – and insisting that she continue working as a nurse through chemotherapy – she’s a survivor.

“When you face your own mortality, you learn what’s really important,” K says. “You learn to embrace life.”

K_Ashworth_Secondary_Blog_ImageK’s colleagues admire her wisdom, garnered from years of nursing and life experiences. As a big fan of Star Trek and Star Wars, she’s known to quote Spock and Yoda.

“Spock often said, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ You have to think about what’s good for the organization and it’ll be good for us. They were very wise,” K said.

Farm life inspired K to help others.

“I grew up on a farm in Fayette County. We had cows, pigs, goats and chickens. I have a huge love for animals, so anytime they were sick, I would patch them up and make them better.

“When I retire, I want to have a farm and donate all my produce to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. I’d like to partner with Columbus City Schools to provide breakfast for elementary school kids. I have to get there, that’s my plan.”

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