Lakisha Dawkins

FON Photos edited x Dawkins

Lakisha Dawkins


Clinical Lead

Operating Room

Duke Raleigh Hospital



Award for Excellence in Perioperative Nursing


Lakisha has spent her career in the OR, first as a Surgical Tech.  After becoming an RN, she joined Duke Raleigh Hospital in 2008 because, as she said, “family” was important to her, and that’s what she found:  “a big family.”  Lakisha was an integral part of the huge undertaking of adding orthopedic procedures at Raleigh’s new surgery center.  She is an early adopter of new processes, technology and equipment used to improve safety and efficiency.  As a Clinical Lead, she puts staff at ease with her knowledge, experience and ability to jump in and directly assist with a case, if needed, or to serve as a resource.


This nurse holds herself to the highest standards that bring others to raise their own.  She is straightforward and honest in her practice.  She takes ownership of issues to resolution and approaches work with thoroughness and a solutions-based attitude.  To quote a team member, “She is proactive in ensuring the needs of our patients, our surgeons and our staff are met safely and efficiently, even when that requires last-minute adjustments.  When unexpected problems come up, as of course they will in any endeavor, she always brings a solution.”  Another nurse said, “I have witnessed this nurse take full responsibility for her team’s actions and practice, but at the same time making her team accountable and aware of every situation.”


This nurse’s commitment is clear in this this statement from a peer:  “She has a heart to serve; she seeks to provide purpose-driven patient care in all of her day-to-day work actions.  She shows integrity and commitment to advancing health care.  She is truly an asset to our team.”  She displays commitment to her colleagues with her word, her follow-through and her availability for her team members.  One nurse offered about her, “She follows through on projects with nurses, reps and surgeons on a daily basis.  She ensures everybody on the team has an opportunity to speak up and express ideas or concerns about any project she is involved in, consequently making all her projects a team’s success.”  Her commitment to patients and their families shows through the preparation she does prior to each case and the support she provides to her team in the OR.  She puts staff at ease with her knowledge, experience and ability to jump into a case to assist directly or serve as a resource.  In one team member’s words, “Although she is a team lead, she does not hesitate to scrub in, circulate, give breaks, or turn over rooms.  She exemplifies teamwork, leadership and professionalism.”  This nurse is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and the North Carolina Nurses Association (NCNA).


As the Administrative Facilitator for the Unit Practice Council, this nurse assists in promoting the use of evidence-based practice to improve processes at the point of care and enhance patient outcomes.  Notably, she helped create and implement changes to practice designed to decrease room traffic and ultimately reduce surgical site infections.  This nominee is an early adopter of new processes, technology and equipment used to improve safety and efficiency.  Specifically, she started a process improvement project for the flow of vendor instrument and implant trays through Central Sterile Processing to the OR, which resulted in a decrease in the number of case delays caused by instrument tray issues.  In another practice improvement endeavor, she rounds on the unit to complete audits on staff regarding the proper donning of personal protective equipment and the use of sharps safety zones on the sterile field to increase safety awareness and decrease employee injuries.  As well, she was an integral part of the huge undertaking of adding orthopedic procedures at our new surgery center.


As Clinical Lead for orthopedics and spine surgery in the operating room (OR), this nominee coordinates all the moving pieces necessary for successful surgeries.  She is a professional presence and the primary contact for the interdisciplinary group needed during procedures.  She takes action quickly, finds solutions, and facilitates the workflow between Nurses, Surgical Technologists, Surgeons, Anesthesiology, Radiology, Central Sterile Processing and vendors.  She is the liaison with our Surgical Techs and Attendants.  She has helped the teamwork dynamic greatly by starting an evening huddle with the Surgical Attendants to communicate afternoon needs and updates.


This great nurse encourages and supports her team members through the coaching and evaluation process to further their education or climb the Clinical Ladder.  She supports novice nurses and those new to the OR to find their confidence and become more comfortable in the operating room setting.  Recently, when this nominee was on weekend administrative call, she came in for an overnight shift to support a novice nurse who had been called in to work a night shift as Charge Nurse by herself for the first time.  She is a great listener, a knowledgeable resource, and a pleasure to work alongside.  One of her more novice team members said, “She is a phenomenal and dynamic OR team lead.  I came to the orthopedic team via the New to the OR Residency Program.  Of course, I have new questions every day.  She is very responsive, patient, and willing to teach.”  Many of her team members serve as preceptors, and she works closely with them to make appropriate assignments for new staff to learn.  One of these staff members commented, “She treats staff with respect and appreciation, and encourages us to be better and become leaders in our own right.  She is a wonderful role model and a wonderful nurse.”


This nurse is exceptional and a great asset to our team, as she goes above and beyond on a daily basis to ensure the success of surgeries – measured by positive patient outcomes; patient and staff safety; surgical case efficiency; and patient, staff and surgeon satisfaction.


Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021