Mutya Valente

Mutya, who is known as “Cha,” has been at Duke for more than 18 years.  On her first day as a nurse, one of her patients wrote a note complimenting her on her ability to explain about his surgery and the care she was providing.  He described her graceful movements in and out of his room as “like a ballerina.”  To this day, Cha is still known for how she connects with and supports others.  Her nominator wrote:  She has been a guiding light to us all over the past number of years, but especially these last two.  When many of us have doubted why it is that we do what we do, she has reminded us that nurses make a difference – we are the backbone of health care.


This Nurse is our most senior Preceptor on the unit, and she always teaches and leads by example with integrity and accountability.  She consistently wants to learn from her mistakes, and will research available resources to educate herself and, then, the rest of the unit.  She holds herself accountable, as well as her peers, and she will make herself available to provide education and share experiences with everyone.

An example:  She approached a provider who was not following proper protocols when completing a bedside procedure.  She appropriately addressed the provider in the moment, while creating a comforting environment in the room with the patient.  The provider respected her and appreciated her honesty with noting the error.  The patient remained safe, and the more novice nurse in the room saw what to do if in a similar situation.  It can be so easy for a nurse to feel inferior to a provider, or as though they do not have a say when they are in the room and “in charge.”  This nurse put the patient’s safety first and spoke up without hesitation.


She is a CNIII and is very active as a Preceptor, Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) Champion, Unit Educator, and active in the community to support our patient-specific associations.  Every year, she participates in the revalidation and education for HAIs and the unit-specific education.  One of this nurse’s passions is preventing HAIs.  Throughout the year, she provides real-time education to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).  She takes extra time after shifts and on days off to conduct audits, in-services, answer questions and provide education to both day and night shift.  She listens to the staff; makes note of their learning styles, what information is lacking; and then she finds a way to meet their needs.  She recognizes that staff members are ever changing, so she continuously creates new ways to reach them.  She provides real-time feedback to staff in person.  She ensures staff understand the information related to CAUTI and CLABSI prevention, and if they do not, she spends dedicated time with them providing education and allowing them time to speak with the expert.


She created a poster for CLABSI education after receiving questions about what a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) actually looked like in the patient, and why proper technique is so important.  She reached out to other departments in DUHS and obtained a PICC line and dressing kit.  On her poster, she showed where a PICC line inserts and where the tip ends.  She also included information on techniques for cleaning and dressing changes, and much more.  It was extremely helpful to provide our staff with this visual.  Currently, our unit has been 687 days without a CLABSI!


When this nurse walks around the unit hallways, there is always a patient or family member who is saying “Hi” to her – even when it’s not her patient.  This speaks volumes!  Our unit is very busy, and we work with high acuity patients.  The patients and family members both are nervous, scared and have varying levels of education.  When this nurse walks into the patient room for the very first time, she makes a point to get to know the patient and their loved ones.  She will build a rapport with them to help ease their anxiety, while providing education with everything she does.  Whether she is changing a dressing, suctioning a trach, giving a medication or taking the patient for a walk, she strives to inform them about what she is doing for them.  She is always talking with the patient and family as though they are her family members.  She will answer their questions and never rush them when they are speaking – even if she is in a hurry.  She wants to be sure that each patient feels like they are her only patient.  Even after she is no longer their nurse, patients will stop and talk with her because they feel cared for and comfortable with her.


There have been many times when patients and family members have received news that there is an unexpected outcome or a poor prognosis.  She will be sure that she is able to sit with the family and patient to help answer their questions, guide them to next steps, and if she doesn’t know what to tell them, she will find resources for them.  She takes great care in being sure that they feel supported and cared for during a time that is so scary and unpredictable for them.  Even at times where a patient or family member is at their lowest, this nurse is able to help them feel more at ease and supported.

In a similar way that she supports her patients, she also supports the other nurses on the unit.  Through the rough days of patient workload, sadness of loss, limited staffing, being exhausted, crying in the med room, losing loved ones to this horrible virus, and still having to come to work – she reminds us that we do it for the patients.  We do it for the family members.  We clock in every day to make a difference in someone’s life, and we can do this.  She rallies us and tells us that we are stronger as a team, strong as a unit and that even something so small can make a huge difference in a patient or family member’s outcome.  Even if that is just listening to them.


This nurse is the reason so many of our staff members continue to practice in the inpatient setting, and it’s because she is a supporter, educator, nurturer and cheerleader to everyone she meets.  She is the epitome of a Duke Nurse.

FON Photos edited x Valente

Mutya Valente


Clinical Nurse III

Cardiothoracic Stepdown Unit DMP 6 East

Duke University Hospital


Nan & Hugh Cullman Heart Center Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice



Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021

Friends of Nursing Gala 2021