2021 AWARD WINNERS
Clinical Nurse II
Duke Urgent Care Brier Creek
Duke Primary Care
DNP, NP-C, AACC, FAANP
With over 20 years of service to Duke Health, Tonya comes to work with an unyielding enthusiasm and passion for nursing, mentoring those around her and providing exceptional patient care. She bravely handled a situation with an aggressive family member of a patient, calming the family member, patient and staff to enable successful treatment. She developed protocols for treating suspected COVID patients while keeping other patients seeking urgent treatment safe. Tonya exemplifies Duke’s values and nursing excellence!
She is the hardest working employee I have ever seen. She always finds something to do to improve her workplace. From organizing storage, updating the clinic bulletin board, to mentoring staff, she is always working to elevate her team and patient care. She has been a preceptor to many nurses throughout the Duke Urgent Care system, and is looked upon as a resource for training new nurses into the service line. As the lead Charge Nurse in her clinic, she has trained all the Charge Nurses she currently works with. If she realizes she has not met her own high standards, she will own that and identify how she can improve in the future. When a provider advised that the nominee could have provided a better referral for a patient, she took communicated this to her manager, while identifying that she could have received the feedback in a more graceful manner and how she would work to improve her performance. Her display of professionalism and integrity of her work has naturally made her a mentor to all her peers and the providers she works with.
She is actively involved in both the Work Culture and Performance Improvement Committees within her clinic. She is a leader within her clinic and is looked to as the best resource for not only clinical practice information, but in being a stakeholder when implementing changes within the unit. She has been an integral force for change within the clinic, regularly performing mini-5S’s in patient rooms and storage areas and advocating for PDSAs. She has partnered with her nurse manager to convert the clinic’s ordering system to Buy@Duke and streamline not only the storage areas, but also the setup of individual patient rooms to prevent excessive ordering of supplies and eliminate waste. In being identified as a leader by her peers, her work ethic is contagious and her opinion is sought with all changes that occur within the clinic. She has provided guidance not only to her fellow nurses, but to CMAs and Rad Techs looking to grow their knowledge and skills and advance professionally. She has also become a resource to her new leadership team as they learn the clinic and staff.
As the nursing representative of the clinic’s Performance Improvement Committee, she is regularly looking for ways to improve clinic performance and enhance patient care. With her background in cheerleading, she also became a “cheerleader” for her team as they transitioned into the unknown being the first Respiratory Care Center within the Duke system. This was an incredibly scary time for both patients and health care providers, but she maintained her positive outlook and encouraged her team they would come out stronger after this experience. Her positivity and leadership throughout that experience made her team resilient and strengthened not only their relationships with one another, but their clinical skills as well. As the clinic has transitioned back into an urgent care, she has continued to be at the forefront of conversations on how to best design the workflow for seeing suspected COVID patients while keeping other patients seeking urgent care safe from potential exposure.
She is respected by her peers and regularly works with CMAs, Rad Techs, PAs, NPs and MDs to provide outstanding patient care. She is seen as a resource by providers, regularly being asked questions about resources, supplies, and tips on how to best deal with various patient situations. As part of the Work Culture Committee and Lead Charge Nurses, she works directly with providers, CMAs, Rad Techs, and PSAs on identifying ways to celebrate staff and improve resiliency. After years of training new staff to Brier Creek, she is still seen as a mentor and resource by her peers, both within and outside of her assigned clinic. All those who work with her see her as a peer, but also a leader, and she is highly valued by all for her approachability.
She de-escalated a challenging situation so that a patient could be transported to the hospital for further evaluation. In “being with” the patient and the upset companion, she identified how to calm them both down enough to provide the medical care needed. By ensuring the safety of her staff and other patients within the clinic, she was able to “do for” her patient and get EMS into the clinic in a timely manner. She was also able to “inform” the companion of the patient’s status and “enable” the patient to advocate for him/herself and express the desire to be transported via EMS to the ED. Most importantly, she was able to “maintain belief” that she could keep her peers and patients safe within the clinic, while also ensuring the critical patient received the emergent medical care that was indicated. Swanson’s Theory is truly the nursing theory that she operates with on a daily basis, as she is always fully present for her peers and her patients and provides a calming presence in the urgent care environment.
With over 20 years of service to Duke Health, she still comes to work with unyielding enthusiasm and passion for nursing, for mentoring those around her, and for providing exceptional patient care all day, every day, which exemplifies Duke’s values and nursing excellence.