Kelly Cobden

FON Photos edited x Cobden

Kelly Cobden


Clinical Lead

General Surgical Unit 6-3

Duke Regional Hospital


Duke Regional Hospital Medical Staff Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice


Kelly joined General Surgical Unit 6-3 at Duke Regional Hospital in 2017; her entire nursing career has been at Duke.  She is a Clinical Lead and has also worked PRN in Operations Administration since October.  As an OA, she rounds across the hospital to support staff and help them problem-solve situations in real time.  Kelly has been an excellent leader during the COVID pandemic.  When her unit closed to prepare to receive COVID-positive patients, she became a Superuser for donning and doffing PPE and trained all surgical employees; had another sink installed for handwashing; ensured that PPE was easily accessible for all staff; and posted donning and doffing signs to all patient rooms.  This nurse lives and breathes Duke’s values.


This nominee displays integrity, honesty and accountability, as she has received a good catch award at the hospital for noticing that a patient was not receiving the correct blood pressure medication.  She immediately called the provider to advocate for this patient and ensured that the medication was corrected.

The nominee makes sure that the unit is staffed from different cultures and backgrounds.  In addition, she is part of the scheduling committee to ensure that each shift has a great staff mix so that excellent patient care is given to our diverse patient population.  She has taken courses on how to care for patient from different cultures and backgrounds.


This nominee has a passion for continuing education, as she is certified in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN).  She frequently takes extra courses to improve her personal practice, such as a telemetry monitoring course.  She just recently registered for a leadership development course.  As a Clinical Lead, she makes staff aware of educational programs and how to receive tuition reimbursement so that others can advance in their profession.

This nominee actively assists with recruitment and retention.  She not only interviews on a frequent basis, but she also participated in recruitment fairs before the COVID pandemic.  Her unit is currently 100% staffed because of her diligence with interviewing.


She helps new staff in their new graduate fellowship program by performing evidence-based quality improvement projects on the unit.  She helps new graduates identify small changes that ultimately make a big difference with patient care.  For example, she helped a staff member collect data to improve the process of giving CHG bathing treatments on our unit to reduce the incidence of infections.

The hospital underwent a major change when the responsibility for monitoring and understanding telemetry readings was shifted to nurses.  This nominee became a Superuser for telemetry so that she could educate staff.  In addition, she made sure that the unit had all the necessary supplies and equipment to ensure that the transition was seamless.


This nominee makes herself available whenever there is a need on the unit.  There was one situation when the unit received a patient with a tracheostomy.  Since the unit does not typically care for trached patients, she immediately contacted the nurse educator and quickly pulled together resources to provide just-in-time training to the nurses.  She created a folder with tip sheets and additional resources.  She also contacted respiratory so that staff could receive bedside training for both day and night shift.

Our providers were expressing concerns that patients were not following Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) protocols by ambulating post-surgery.  She provided education to all staff about the importance of post-surgical ambulation.  She also added hallway signs showing the distances in the hallway so that staff and patients are aware of how far they walk when doing laps around the unit.


This nominee is great with problem resolution; she takes time to listen to the patient.  She wants to understand the factors that are upsetting them, and discusses their options to make them have a better patient experience.  She uses RELATE training, which is a communication method to improve dialog between patients and care providers.

This nominee is a leader on the unit:  Clinical Lead, Charge Nurse and Preceptor.  She created a “New Graduate Guide” as her Nurse Residency Project.  She frequently reevaluates the guide to ensure that the information is still relevant and helpful to new graduate nurses.  The information includes how to page physicians, how to draw labs, important phone numbers, etc.  This guide saves new and experience nurse time, as it answers many questions in one quick resource.


This employee lives and breathes Duke’s Values; serving her patients and being a team player is truly her heart’s desire!


Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021