Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 10, 2019

Hospital Earns LGBTQ Leader Honor

Duke Raleigh Hospital has again been named “Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality,” in the recent national Healthcare Equality Index. The honor is given by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.

The designation is based on a hospital’s attention to LGBTQ-specific patient and community engagement, employee benefits and policies, staff training, and patient services.

The designation was reported in the 12th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index . A record 680 health care facilities actively participated in the HEI 2019 survey, with 406 earning the top score “Leader in LGBTQ Health Care Equality” honor.

Duke Raleigh Hospital has held the Health Equity Index designation for the last five years.

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 4, 2019

A Bond Built by Care

Patient Story 9.19 (1)Neahleek Hudgins was excited to mark his 20th birthday with friends and family—a birthday he was told he may never see.

“Other hospitals before here told me I wouldn’t make it to my 20th birthday,” said Hudgins, who had been in an out of six different hospitals, sometimes as much as three times a week, before coming to Duke Raleigh Hospital. Hudgins’ body wasn’t absorbing the proper nutrition from his diet, causing weight loss, dehydration and loss of strength.

Hudgins has since spent three months at Duke Raleigh Hospital, back and forth to the Intensive Care Unit, intubated once, and often in his room on the fourth floor.

“There were times when I wanted to give up,” Hudgins said. “But, this staff has motivated me to do better, to eat better and to keep working. They really lifted me up when I was down and depressed.”

A team of doctors, nursing staff, PAs and Lisa Marker, Marcella Krzywicki and Illa Jones in Nutritional Services put together a plan for Hudgins focused on dietary changes, complex medication management and Hudgins’ motivation.

Hudgins gradually grew close with that team, his housekeepers, Cassandra Richey in pastoral services and Derrick Thornton, a patient experience ambassador. “They’ve become family,” Hudgins said.Patient Story 9.19 (11)

On Hudgins’ birthday, Duke Raleigh Hospital team members surprised him and his family with a celebration complete with gifts, decorations, a cake, fresh fruit and snacks, all organized by Thornton. Hudgins’ mother was also able to surprise him with family he hadn’t seen in a while.

“I really feel like you’re a father to me,” Hudgins told Thornton as he opened the new Bluetooth headphones Thornton gifted him. “You’ve helped me see what I have to live for.”

Thornton joked, “I’m not sure I’m quite old enough to be your father,” but said he agrees with the sentiment.

“I’m in a unique position where I get to spend quality time with our patients to help ensure their experience is consistent with the values here at Duke Raleigh Hospital,” Thornton later said. “During this time patients not only share their concerns, but their life stories and a connection is often made. Neahleek is an inspiring young man and it means a lot to have this connection and watch him grow.”

As Hudgins’ care continues at Duke Raleigh Hospital he says he’s exploring the idea of becoming a nurse, inspired and motivated himself by the medical team and the steps they’ve taken in his care.

–by Stephen McNulty

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 3, 2019

Duke Raleigh Hospital Nurses Named in Great 100

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Nine nurses from across Duke Health, including three from Duke Raleigh Hospital, were recognized as Great 100 Nurses. The honor recognizes registered nurses in North Carolina for their commitment to excellence and to promoting a positive image of the nursing profession. They will join their fellow Great 100 Nurses at a gala October 5.

Leanne Edwards, BSN, RN, AAACN, CNIV
Same Day Surgery
“What makes Leanne an outstanding nurse is that she gets involved to assist with the growth and development of her patients, their families and her peers.”

Leanne Edwards 600






Tigist Gessesse, BSN, RN, CPAN, CNIV
Post-Anesthesia Care Unit
“Tigist took the initiative to re-organize our unit’s policy and procedure manual. This amazing nurse spent hours making sure the manual was easy for her colleagues to reference.”

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Marie Irene Nagel, BSN, RN, CGRN, CNIV
Endoscopy Department
“Marie is a humble, compassionate nurse, mother, friend, colleague and advocate – the best of the best in the nursing practice and in advancing the profession of nursing.”

Marie Nagel 600






You can find all of the Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina at

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 1, 2019

Duke Raleigh Hospital Nurses Honored for Excellence

Candice Stringfield Earns HonorTwo Duke Raleigh Hospital nurses—Candice Stringfield and Tammi Hicks—have been recognized with the Friends of Nursing Excellence Award.

One of the highest honors a Duke nurse can receive, the award recognizes nurses who exhibit professional excellence in nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing research. Tammi and Candice join 38 nurses across Duke University Health System who were honored with the award and a $1,000 educational stipend.

They will be recognized at a Friends of Nursing gala in October in Durham. Congratulations to these exceptional nurses!

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | August 16, 2019

Sweet Treats Showcase Staff Appreciation

Brownie fudge cake, tiramisu, key lime pie – no delectable dessert is off the table for Jennifer Sousa, CNMT, when it comes to celebrating her staff.

Sousa, imaging manager for nuclear medicine at Duke Raleigh Hospital, makes sure every birthday is celebrated and every accomplishment is recognized for staff in her department. She finds out every staff member’s favorite dessert, and then bakes for them on their special day.

“Celebrations are just one way of appreciating our team members, and showing people that we’re happy they’re here, not just when they’re first hired, but throughout their time at Duke,” she said.

Sousa also helps to arrange celebrations for holidays and special occasions. On July 4th, the team was treated to a festive lunch.

“It’s the small things that make a difference, and I want my team to know how thankful I am for them,” she said. “Baking something special is just one way of doing that.”

Javier Castro, a nuclear medicine technologist, said that the celebrations make him feel appreciated at work.

“Jen’s thoughtfulness contributes to a more positive work experience, because we know we’re appreciated by our manager, and our team,” he said. “Taking time to celebrate milestones in life shows we care about each other.”

Sousa’s specialty is a brownie fudge cake with softened ice cream, fudge sauce and caramel drizzle. But, it’s the thought behind it that means the most to her.

“I just love making my team happy – that’s what’s important to me,” she said. “A happy team makes not only me happy, but our patients happy, too.”

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