Elaine Milton

Elaine is an invaluable resource, always looking for ways to better her education and those around her. She recently took over the role of Stroke Champion for her unit, where she has collaborated with the Stroke Coordinator and their sister unit to help re-educate nurses about the requirements for assessing and documenting on their stroke patients, to help ensure that Duke Health will obtain their re-accreditation as a Stroke Center. She is extremely committed to ensuring that her unit provides the best care for the stroke population! There are so many attributes that make Elaine invaluable:  empathy, compassion, dedication and knowledge to name a few!


This nominee’s greatest asset is her thoroughness and detail-oriented observations!  She often asks questions about old and new policies to seek clarification. While precepting a new nurse, she caught that the provider had signed consent for a treatment for a patient, however, had placed the wrong patient’s name on the consent form. Because of this, the consent form was scanned and filed into the wrong patient’s chart. Since the patient was stable, she advocated for patient safety and consistency with the process, and requested the provider return to the unit and sign a new consent form with the correct patient information on the consent before beginning treatment. She then ensured that the consent form was filed into the right patient’s chart, and the previous consent was removed from the incorrect patient’s chart.


This nominee worked as a Nursing Assistant II for two years in a pediatric unit while she obtained her Associate Degree in Nursing. After completing school, she decided that she wanted to broaden her horizons and move into the adult world. She accepted a position in our unit where she has grown and developed as a competent nurse and dedicated leader on the unit. She has stepped into the role of Preceptor for both nursing students and new nurses on the unit. She is also one of our Charge Nurses and helps ensure that the unit runs smoothly and assists with patient progression to and from the unit. She advanced her education by pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She is a member of AACN and is planning to sit for the Progressive Care Nursing certification exam to progress up the clinical ladder and obtain her Clinical Nurse III.


Almost three years after being a new graduate and completing residency, her group’s residency project resulted in a sustained practice change for our unit. Our cardiothoracic surgeon orders chest physiotherapy (PT) four times a day on his patients. Previously, nurses would perform chest PT with their bare hands, which often caused discomfort to both the patient and nurse. For their residency project, they researched alternatives and trialed the use of silicone chest percussor cups. They sent out nursing and patient surveys and discussed patient outcomes with the cardiac surgeon to determine the effectiveness. Overwhelmingly, both the nurses and patients preferred the percussor cups over manual chest PT. Patients reported better lung clearance with deep breathing and coughing with use of the cups. The cardiac surgeon also said chest X-rays were improved, and he observed decreased complications with use of the cups. As a result, percussor cups have become standard practice for chest PT in our unit.


This nominee always has her eyes open for opportunities. She noticed inconsistencies of intake and output (I&O) documentation for patients on the unit. She assessed the problem and created a tool to help staff keep track of I&Os that would make it easier to document. The tool also encouraged patient engagement and collaboration with nursing to capture accurate I&O amounts. After educating staff on the tool’s use, it was implemented, and subsequent chart audits showed an improvement in the documentation of I&Os in patient charts. Providers have also noticed the improvement. When there are opportunities to help with unit education, this nominee can be counted on to volunteer to assist with things like Nursing and Nursing Assistant Skills Day. This nominee also supported new hire orientation during a busy summer onboarding period when our Clinical Lead was out on leave.


She has received multiple Living our Values stars from her co-workers recognizing her teamwork and care for her colleagues. This nominee stepped in to help a nursing assistant care for the patients when the unit only had one nursing assistant for a shift. She is always available and willing to help. A co-worker stated she was “so helpful while I was running around with my patients!” She also assisted other nurses by passing meds and taking vitals for a co-worker’s patient when she looked like she needed a hand. Another co-worker found this nominee especially helpful when her patient was vomiting and aspirating. The co-worker stated this nominee helped oxygenate and suction the patient, while remaining calm and teaching her at the same time.


This nominee received a star from a float pool nurse stating, “She was amazing as Charge Nurse. I have been to every unit in this hospital, and I’ve learned that the Charge Nurse can make or break your day. She absolutely MADE my day. She was super helpful and a great resource.”

Elaine Milton

Elaine Milton


Clinical Nurse III
Cardiac Telemetry Unit 5-2
Duke Regional Hospital


Duke Regional Hospital Medical Staff Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice
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The DUKE HEART CENTER would like to express its admiration and heartfelt thanks to Duke Nurses for what they do every day to care for our patients, their loved ones and each other.
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Congratulations to Duke Regional Hospital’s 2021 Friends of Nursing Excellence Award Winners



Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021