2022 AWARD WINNERS
BSN, RN, CCRN
Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit DMP 6 West
Duke University Hospital
DNP, NP-C, AACC, FAANP
Melissa has been a nurse in the Duke University Hospital Surgical Intensive Care Unit for 19 years. In addition to being a Clinical Lead she co-chairs the Critical Care Standards Committee and is Co-President of the Triangle Chapter of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Melissa said that she leads with compassion by listening to her patients and coworkers. She feels that, by listening, she establishes trust, which deepens the patient-caregiver bond and helps to decrease the fear that most people have when they enter a hospital. Melissa is also one of the most thoughtful people you will encounter. She sends hand-written thank you notes and kudos to colleagues.
One of the most thoughtful, honest, and relatable persons you will encounter. She follows through on her commitments and her word. With our long-term patients, she checks in with them and their visitor(s) weekly, whether that be on her staffing shift or administrative (Clinical Lead) shift. She responds timely to all requests, whether it be via email or phone. During this difficult, unprecedented time, she maintains consistency and professionalism when adhering to visitation guidelines for all patients (COVID, non-COVID, victims of violence, patients of coworkers, patients of Duke employees, etc.).
After she completes new hire onboarding with her staff, she follows up with an email reiterating what the new hires should expect in the upcoming weeks throughout their orientation.
She sends hand-written thank you notes and kudos! These are meaningful to the staff (nursing, Respiratory Therapy, providers, etc.).
She is a Clinical Lead in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) 6 West, Co-Chair of the Critical Care Standards Committee, and Co-President of the Triangle Chapter of American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The pandemic changed a lot for many, and despite the restrictions, a new “normal” way of life, and adapting to new ways to pursue continuing education, she did not let that deter her from keeping the Triangle Chapter and SICU staff engaged. She shared many virtual continuing education options with not only the Triangle Chapter, but her coworkers in the SICU.
She is an active member in the community, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and various Durham community outreach programs, even throughout the pandemic. She has done numerous presentations at the unit level, educating the staff on various topics.
As a co-chair of the Critical Care Standards Committee she is constantly ensuring our critical care-based policies and nursing protocols are kept up-to-date, utilizing evidenced-based practice and being renewed/reviewed every three years, as per the governing board requirements. She utilizes the teams approach, collaborating with multiple disciplines (i.e. Pharmacy, Respiratory Therapy, Providers, Social Work, RNs in various disciplines) to review the standards to ensure we are providing care across the continuum (all three Duke facilities) in a collective manner. She sets the example to enact and encourage change and promote zero harm. Also incorporates the “why” into all that we do.
She promotes ongoing learning by collaborating with educators within Duke and through outside companies, such as Medtronic, Alexion, Smith & Nephew, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and Shionogi, to set up education sessions for the staff of the SICU, others in the Medical-Surgical Clinical Services Unit (CSU), and the members of the Triangle Chapter of AACN. The invite also extends to other local North Carolina and South Carolina AACN chapters (AACN Region 5).
She collaborates with other disciplines to achieve patient care goals set by the patient and the care team. Last year, she realized that Child Life Services was an underutilized resource in the SICU. Through the support and guidance she gave the SICU staff, more and more of the nurses are reaching out as appropriate to Child Life Services to achieve positive goal outcomes for the patient and their loved ones.
One of the most successful collaborative efforts this year was the creation of the SICU Core Curriculum. Identifying a need for additional education to help new SICU nurses become successful and knowledgeable in the fast-paced ICU environment, she collaborated with the unit Advanced Practice Providers (Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants) and SICU Education Committee. She helped to spearhead the creation of the program to provide hands-on, didactic education to all SICU new hires, based on the SICU population. The core curriculum encompassed four sessions: each four hours in length and in-person. At completion of the session, 17 CE credits were awarded (which included trauma hours).
Weekly unit updates are sent to the SICU staff. She includes an inspirational quote each week in these updates, which help inspire, enable goodness, enable self-care, and establish a healthy work-life balance.
When a patient and family receive news that their disease process has reached a point where medical interventions become futile, she provides empathy and strives to understand the grief and shock the patient and family may be experiencing. She gives the patient/family space and time, and when they are ready to talk, she listens. She displays emotional connection by taking the time to listen to the patient/family. For other patients (whether that be our long-term, victims of violence, or post-surgical), she encourages family members to bring in favorite items of the patient and to bring in pictures of family, the patient, or even their favorite actors/actress, dressing up the patient’s room and bringing a smile often to the patient’s face.
A wife, daughter, friend, coworker, leader, etc., she has a heart of gold, altruistic, loyal, and selfless, always being the caregiver and taking care of all of those around her without hesitation, maintaining a smile.