Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | December 4, 2018

Two of a Kind: Twin Sisters Reunite at Duke as Surgeons

For a long time, Kristen Rezak, MD, and Amy Alger, MD, worked to avoid being in the same place at the same time. For the close, twin sisters, it wasn’t because of ill feelings or potential for an awkward conversation. It was purely practical.

“I tell people all the time, if I don’t say hello, it’s probably not me,” Rezak said with a laugh.

It can all be a bit confusing, as Rezak and Alger aren’t just identical twins, but both are surgeons at Duke. Alger, a trauma and critical care surgeon who has worked at Duke University Hospital (DUH) for three years, recently welcomed Rezak, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon spending time at DUH and Duke Raleigh Hospital, as a new colleague. The two formed an interest in medicine growing up with a father who served as a firefighter and EMT and watching medical TV shows like “Emergency!”

Despite following their own career paths, the pair’s lives have continually been connected. They both attended the Ross University School of Medicine and purposefully created different hospital rankings for residencies. Still, they ended up in New York City during their clinical rotations and eventually at Duke.

“Our entire life has been a big, long infinity loop,” Alger joked.

But Rezak is quick to point out their eventual reconnection at Duke wouldn’t have taken place if it weren’t for a combination of the health system’s reputation, opportunity to help patients and family.

“Every time you move into a new system, it takes time to learn the system and about the trust and respect that comes from a new place,” Alger said.

“But, I wouldn’t be here,” Rezak added, “if it weren’t a good time to be a part of Duke and what’s going on.”

–By Bryan Roth

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Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | December 3, 2018

Surgeon Offers Patient Hope with First-of-its-Kind Surgery

David Logan is a fit guy. He’s a personal trainer, coaches wrestling and was even training to be a Navy SEAL before hip dysplasia derailed that dream.

It wasn’t until he met Brian Lewis, MD, a hip specialist at Duke Raleigh Hospital, that he regained hope. Before Logan came to Duke, other doctors told him a unique surgery to repair hip cartilage and bone wasn’t possible. A replacement was a likely option.

Lewis wanted to help.

“It was like talking to one of my friends,” Logan said. “Somebody who would actually listen to you and not tell you what was going to happen, but hear what was going on and then try to arrive at a solution together.”

Along with Duke colleagues, Lewis researched ways for a multi-step process for surgery. He performed procedures to fix cartilage and make specialized cuts in the hip bone to reposition the socket. It was the first time a surgery known as a MACI procedure had been used for hip surgery in the U.S. It meant Logan would be active again.

“In any patient, if there are ways to think a little bit outside the box to factor in what their goals are and come up with solutions, then that’s really what I’m trying to do,” Lewis said.

That mindset is at the core of everything Lewis does. He tries to set every conversation with a patient around their quality of life and how he can best bring it to reality.

“That’s what’s going to drive our decisions,” he said. “When somebody comes to you, you talk through things and always work to find their best outcome.”

–By Bryan Roth

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Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | November 23, 2018

Johnson Honored with DCI Superstar Award

Alicia Johnson, RN, and a nurse navigator at Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh, Duke Raleigh Hospital, was one of three individuals to receive this year’s Duke Cancer Institute Superstar award.

“Our 2018 DCI Superstar recipients represent the cream of the crop,” shared Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, executive director, Duke Cancer Institute, who visited Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital to present the 2018 awards to recipients. “They are exceptional individuals who every day go above and beyond to ensure our patients receive the best care possible — the future of cancer care . . . now.”

Johnson was nominated by Brittany Davidson, MD, and Laura Havrilesky, MD.

“As a gynecologist oncologist, it’s hard to imagine being able to deliver high quality care to our cancer patients without Alicia’s kindness, compassion and extraordinary dedication,” wrote the nominators. “She has found assistance for patients and their families suffering financial toxicity and nominated multiple patients for Bucket List Foundation gifts—all of whom won trips or experiences of a lifetime. Alicia does much more than her job description requires.”

Other awardees include Stacey Lisi, a clinical pharmacists in GU at Duke Cancer Center at Duke University Hospital in Durham; and Robin Hardie-Hood, MD, of Duke Cancer Center at Duke Regional Hospital in Durham.

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Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | November 20, 2018

DUHS Receives Magnet Redesignation

Duke University Health System received the Magnet redesignation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which applies to all hospitals within the system—Duke Raleigh, Duke Regional and Duke University hospitals. Less than 9 percent of hospitals receive the magnet designation, recognizing their commitment to excellence in health care.

Magnet is the most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes, according to the ANCC. “For DRAH, Magnet is a designation that recognizes our commitment to providing the Duke experience to every patient we have the honor to serve,” said Tammi Hicks, Magnet Program Director and Administrative Director for Clinical Education and Professional Development at Duke Raleigh Hospital. “It recognizes our staff members dedication to excellence and living our values on a daily basis.”

On a call Nov. 14 announcing the redesignation, the Magnet commissioner cited three examples of how DUHS demonstrated exemplar performance associated with mentoring and providing new knowledge to nurses, and in creating an inter-professional collaborative environment that is driving change for patients.

One example of this exemplary work cited by ANCC was the implementation of a structured nursing leadership development program for succession planning within DUHS. The work, led by Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Chief Nursing & Patient Care Services Officer Priscilla Ramseur, aimed to develop future nurse leaders at DUHS that’s ensured 100 percent of manager positions within the system are filled.

“It was really just exemplary to appraisers how an organization that’s so big and as complex as yours can really fill all those leadership gaps internally. That’s really impressive,” the ANCC told DUHS in a livestreamed call announcing the designation to all three system hospitals.

The mentoring program work, published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, describes the methods used and how they could be applied to development of nursing leaders in other healthcare organizations.

Magnet is a four year designation. To receive Magnet designation, a hospital or hospital system submits written documentation on how it meets Magnet standards. The documentation is reviewed by a team of appraisers who determine if the hospitals documentation meets standards. If the hospital documentation does meet standards, a site visit by Magnet appraisers is scheduled to verify, clarify, and amplify the Magnet standards in the organization before submitting the report to the Magnet commission for a final decision.

“Even though this is considered a nursing award, nurses cannot do this alone,” said Hicks. “We are thankful for all the work the DRAH team does to support the best possible patient outcomes and experience.”

DUHS will be recognized at the ANCC National Magnet Conference in Orlando, Florida, October 10-12, 2019.

–By Erin McKenzie

Watch video highlights from the celebration and hear comments from frontline nursing staff on what the redesignation means to them.

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | November 19, 2018

Carrying on her Mom’s Nursing Legacy

Nursing has always been a part of Anne Martin’s life. Her mother was a nurse and inspired her to become one too.

Her mother’s nursing legacy lives on every day in Martin, RN, CNIII, as she cares for patients in the cath lab at Duke Raleigh Hospital (DRAH). After her mom entered a nursing home, Martin discovered a series of letters she’d written about her nursing career. Even 50 years later, those letters still resonate for Martin as a nurse today.

“In her letters, she discusses her love for nursing, the challenges she faced as a nurse, and what the profession meant to her,” Martin said. “These letters transcend time—some of the same challenges she faced, I face today.”

Martin’s other siblings were equally as inspired by their mother to go into health care – her brother is a provider, and her sister is a nurse as well. In a previous role as a nurse educator at DRAH, Martin read the letters to new hires.

“Nursing was something I always wanted to do, because I always admired my mom,” Martin said. “She was so proud and passionate about nursing. If she did it, I wanted to, too. And now, I get to be a part of her legacy.”

One of Martin’s favorite quotes from the letters is one that she believes can resonate with nurses everywhere:

“Nursing is teaching, caring, listening, understanding, relating, devotion, and having empathy toward the patient. It is a frustrating, demanding, much misunderstood profession—I love it.”

–By Blair Callahan

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