Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | January 8, 2019

Staff Make Serving Food More Than Just a Meal

With an enhanced focus on process and customer service, Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Nutritional Services staff have made patient dining experiences among the best in the country.

2018 is the third year Duke Raleigh has used a concierge-like service for meal orders, which has quadrupled overall satisfaction scores provided by patients in that timespan. Ranking of “courtesy” toward patients in food service most recently ranked in the 92nd percentile among all hospitals in the country.

“When you’re in the hospital, there’s not a lot you can control when you’re getting care, but one thing we can give patients control of is their food,” said Derrick Thornton, a food service associate and patient ambassador at Duke Raleigh. “That puts a smile on their face.”

Instead of fixed menus with only a few options to eat during certain times of the day, Duke Raleigh implemented a room service model. Patients can call Nutritional Services when they’re hungry to choose from about 30 different options. Ambassadors also round on patients to take meal orders at the bedside for those that have hearing or vision difficulties.

Not only is it a personal touch, but Thornton and colleagues can also ensure dietary restrictions are in compliance. If a patient needs to watch sodium intake, for example, they can assist with best options from the menu.

Thornton said he takes extra pride in his work because he now has one-on-one time to show patients how much Duke Raleigh staff care. He builds relationships with patients because he has time in their room to chat and learn more about them.

“People are constantly seeing doctors and nurses checking on patients,” he said, “and I like that I can bring not just great food, but a smile and a good piece of conversation.”

Interested in a Food Service Career?

Join us for a hiring event, 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 2-4:30 p.m. on Jan. 22. Meet with recruiters and hiring managers about our openings in Food Services for production cooks, production associates, and Environmental Services attendants.

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | January 7, 2019

Making Patients Smile with Handmade Gifts

Tucked in the fifth floor break room of Duke Raleigh Hospital is a bin of colorful shawls and blankets that have been a labor of love for 12 hospital employees.

These individuals make up the knitting and crochet group, Made 4 U, which Becky Kandler, a respiratory therapist who is a nine-year employee of Duke Raleigh Hospital, started in October.

“I have taken my love for the fiber arts and used it to bring comfort and support to my patients over the years, always giving away more than I have ever kept,” said Kandler. “Seeing the need here, I starting digging deeper. I found that not only our hospital, but our cancer centers and even Duke University Hospital is in need of items. I needed more hands, so I decided to find more like-minded crafters and the best place to start looking was in front of me.”

The group is a mix of beginners, experts, and everyone in between. They meet, as schedules allow, in locations around Raleigh to tackle the long list of requests for handmade blankets, hats for cancer patients, prayer shawls, and blankets and caps for the tiny patients of the Duke University Hospital NICU.

Only last month did they first start sharing their creations with patients. Their reactions have been nothing but bright.

“Just having something that is not hospital colors, is soft, and you know someone made it for you can really change a patient’s demeanor,” Kandler said, rattling off stories about three long stay Duke Raleigh patient recipients whose smiles returned after receiving a shawl or blanket. “They just light up knowing that someone cared enough to do this for them.”

One of the group’s early members, Ronda Decker, a nurse manager in Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Progressive Care Unit and Central Telemetry, is about to finish a second shawl—her third contribution to the group. For Decker, the activity makes her connection to what matters—patients—stronger.

“This activity helps me unwind by giving me something creative to do that I know goes to someone in need,” said Decker, who regularly takes the activity home with her. “It keeps me focused on doing things that have a purpose and are patient centered.”

Over the holiday break, Ronda even had her mother and husband pitching in to make things for the group.

“We would all sit in the living room working away while watching Hallmark Christmas movies,” Decker said laughing.

For Sandy Miley, RN, CNII, GRN in the Duke Raleigh’s neuro step down unit, the group is a fun way to get to know co-workers that she may never have associated with outside of work.

“At this time in my life I find crocheting and quilting very therapeutic as I work long hours and go to school full time,” Miley said. “These activities are something I have always enjoyed and doing them for a group like Made 4 U, alongside my co-workers, makes it even better. I hope these simple handmade garments will comfort and bless patients who receive them.”

Kandler and Decker both noted that knowing how loved this little gesture makes a patient feel motivates them during the workday.

“We are so used to giving care one way—passing out medications, taking vitals—this group gives you the chance to see patient care and how you make a difference in someone’s life in a new way,” Kandler said.

–By Erin McKenzie


Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | January 2, 2019

Apply for the DUHS Pharmacy Technician Program

​A new Duke University Health System program offers training for those interested in jobs as pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense medication to customers or health care professionals. At Duke, there is a growing need for these certified professionals who work in a variety of locations, including our hospitals, specialty clinics, ambulatory surgical centers, retail pharmacy locations, and specialty pharmacies.

The program is open to those within and outside of Duke. Join one of two 45-minute information sessions on Monday, Jan. 7 to learn more about the program and its benefits:

Pharmacy Technician Training (1)

For more information about this program or to apply for this session before the Jan. 31 deadline, visit the Duke Health website.

Duke Raleigh Hospital became the first hospital in North Carolina to receive Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting accrediting body in health care.

“With the recent advances in endovascular therapies for acute ischemic stroke, it’s important to recognize hospitals which can perform this critical intervention safely and effectively and we commend Duke Raleigh Hospital on this designation,” said Edward C. Jauch, MD, chair of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Hospital Accreditation Stroke Subcommittee. “The TSC certification helps prehospital providers better understand hospital stroke capabilities and assist in regional EMS triage of stroke patients so that the patient gets to the right hospital for the right treatment.”

The new certification—developed in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and launched Jan. 1, 2018— recognizes hospitals that meet rigorous standards for removing blood clots from blood vessels (thrombectomy) in the brain and providing support to patients after the procedure. These standards include:

  • The ability to perform mechanical thrombectomy at any time of day;
  • Routinely exceeds the minimum volume of mechanical thrombectomy procedures performed in the past year;
  • The availability of specialized staff and clinicians with extensive training;
  • And procedures to collect, review, and submit data on patient outcomes.

“Receiving this certification is validation from The Joint Commission that not only can Duke Raleigh Hospital offer these services, but we do it very well,” said Elizabeth Larson, Duke Raleigh’s stroke program manager.

Among the hospital’s strengths was its highly trained staff, including three endovascular-trained neurosurgeons and a neuro-interventional radiology–trained radiologist. Duke Raleigh’s patient outcomes were also notable, with approximately 60 percent of patients able to take care of themselves or require minimal assistance 90 days after receiving mechanical thrombectomy.

New RAPID advanced imaging platform technology at the hospital enables doctors to identify damaged areas of the brain to make quick treatment decisions and extend the number of patients treated with mechanical thrombectomy procedures

“This certification is a true testament to the collaboration involved in caring for our stroke patients and it demonstrates our experience with these procedures and this specialized type of care,” said David Zaas, president of Duke Raleigh Hospital. “Such positive outcomes are the work and dedication of this entire team, including the Duke Transfer Center, the front-line emergency department staff, the neuro-interventional radiology team on call 24/7 and the ICU and step-down nurses.”

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

Original post at: See a similar story by Duke Today on the sisters:  

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