2023 AWARD WINNERS
As a child, Cecilia knew she wanted to be a nurse. Today, her nursing career spans 42 years and includes serving as Director of Nursing for a hospital and a medical center, and being a leader in Home Health organizations. When she joined Duke nine years ago, Cecilia drew on her experiences to bring a sharper vision to our Home Care mission. The needs of this patient population can be very challenging to meet; Cecilia is the first to ask: “HOW can we make it work?,” “What else can we think of?” Her mantra: We need to think outside the box to meet our patients’ goals, or to come as close as possible. And she leads her team in doing so, with compassion, hope and optimism.
This nominee is a strong, humble and selfless individual who always has time for her employees and others in need. Even when her plate is overflowing with tasks and “to-dos,” she jumps in and is willing to assist, never making others feel like they are a burden. Her intentions are always focused on patients, families, and the best clinical outcomes. We all know that there are patient needs that are very challenging to meet, but she is the first to ask, “HOW can we make it work? What else can we think of?” She does this all with selflessness and patience. Just like Sherry Leigh Thomas did her work with no need for accolades, this nominee does her work with no need for – or expectation of – recognition. Her work ethic is exemplary, and it truly is what drives her each day. I have worked in health care more than 25 years, and I have never seen a more efficient and effective nurse. One example of her work ethic is when she effectively filled in for three different roles, Referral Center Manager, Clinical Care Coordinator and Clinical Manager, to meet the needs of the patients and the agency.
This nominee has written and re-written processes and procedures for our agency, always working to move us toward best practices. She has been instrumental in crafting innovative practices during COVID, including a solution to bring home COVID-positive patients who would have otherwise remained in the hospital. In addition, she possesses an in-depth knowledge of hospice, which she uses to create access of hospice care to her patients.
She leads by example, demonstrates integrity, communicates effectively, makes hard decisions, recognizes success, empowers others, motivates and inspires. During times of need, she always steps up, recognizing that the patient lives and needs should come first. She expects excellence not only of herself: but of all those around her. She precepts Clinical Care Coordinators. Teaching new hires is one of her strengths, exhibiting patience, clinical expertise, technical skills and the ability to adapt to varied learning styles. Not only does she have technical abilities, but the ability to motivate others to live our mission and serve with passion.
She is a member of a variety of health system and agency-specific initiatives. One area was that of the Home Health Perception Committee. As a result of the work of the committee, including her suggestions, a newly designed Patient Handbook was created. Her knowledge of and experiences with patients was instrumental in crafting a meaningful tool.
Education is at the heart of her belief system. She has given formal presentations to Physicians, Case Managers, Nurses and other staff about Hospice, Home Health, and Infusion. She also educates through her informal interactions. These quiet, impactful, personal interactions often leave the most lasting impressions. I am always impressed with her ability to break down nursing jargon for non-clinical personnel, and to have patience while explaining the important information.
She has built trust within the health system to effectively and efficiently communicate patient outcomes to her colleagues. They have expressed their confidence in her ability to collaborate and coordinate patient care with the upmost thought and expertise. Her mantra: we need to think outside of the box to meet a patient’s goal, or as close to it as possible.
This RN leads with professionalism and a quiet strength. She practices strong leadership skills, utilizing active listening and encouragement, and engages the clinical team members to allow them to be an active part of change. Additionally, and most importantly, she shows compassion — a hallmark of all successful nurses. Her knowledge base is immeasurable, and she serves as a pillar of information for the agency. Her experience as a Hospital Director of Nursing brings sharper vision to our Home Care mission, and her experience has proven beneficial to our hospital partnerships. Leadership is her strength, from handling difficult situations to encouraging staff, to empowering her direct reports in nursing.
She sets the tone for the Business Development Team, and encourages kindness and compassion within the team. She recognizes when a team member is having difficulties, and she empathizes and encourages the person. She becomes a wonderful cheerleader!
She advocates for and supports her direct nursing reports, who then become Preceptors. Several of her team members have pursued MSN degrees or Nurse Practitioner school due to her inspiration and support. Never is she intimidated by other’s advancement! She stands as a quiet cheerleader, often reviewing their presentations and papers.
She exemplifies all of the traits of an excellent nurse leader, and she is an invaluable member of our team. She is reliable, innovative, highly effective and efficient with compassion and kindness.
BSN, MA, RN, CNML
Clinical Manager – Business Development
Nurse Manager, Ambulatory Care
Duke HomeCare & Hospice