Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | July 16, 2019

Support Lung Cancer Initiative Research with our Pie-Centage Night

Lung cancer takes more lives than colorectal, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers combined. Duke Raleigh Hospital is engaged in activities to bring attention to this disease.

Join us at Pielogy Pizzeria at 4158 Main at North Hills, Raleigh, from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14 for a Pie-Centage Night. Twenty percent of all attendee purchases will be donated to the Lung Cancer Initiative. To help contribute your check toward this effort, please download and present our flyer.

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | July 12, 2019

Wish Come True: Nurse Navigator Gives Back

Last year, Alicia Johnson, MSN, RN, NP, helped grant a patient’s wish for a holiday celebration with family with the help of local wish-granting organization Fill Your Bucket List Foundation. Johnson, a nurse practitioner and navigator with gynecology/oncology at Duke Raleigh Hospital Women’s Cancer Center, was so moved by her experience that she decided she had to get more involved.

“In our profession, we can experience feelings of helplessness, when we can’t change clinical outcomes for our patients,” Johnson said. “But, we can help provide them hope, and through my volunteer experience, I’m able to help provide some hope and happiness to many patients.”

Now, Johnson spends her free time as a “wish creator” with the organization, helping plan trips and experiences for the patients who receive the foundation’s help. Her perspective as a provider caring for patients with cancer brings a personal touch to her volunteer work with the organization.

“I feel that I have a unique ability to understand the clinical and emotional perspective of the cancer patients we’re helping,” she said.

Johnson helps adults with cancer throughout the state experience their favorite places with family and friends, or go somewhere they’ve never been before. The accommodations, travel, and meals are all covered by the organization.

“The wish granting gives a little sunshine back to the lives of patients going through a very tough diagnosis and treatment,” she said. “Seeing smiling faces in the photos of patients going on their trips has been so amazing and personally rewarding for me too.”

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | July 12, 2019

Duke Health Hospitals Again Receive Top Letter Grade for Safety

Duke Raleigh Hospital has earned the top score for hospital safety from The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit organization run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.

The “A” score for Leapfrog’s spring 2019 survey is part of the group’s Hospital Safety Grades, issued to hospitals every six months. Duke Health’s three hospitals— Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital—were among 832 out of approximately 2,600 hospitals surveyed nationwide to receive an A from the organization. Duke Raleigh Hospital has maintained an “A” safety grade since the fall of 2012 making it one of 56 nationwide and two in North Carolina to hold this record, according to Leapfrog.

The Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Score grades hospitals on a scale of “A” to “F” based on their overall performance in keeping patients safe from preventable medical errors, injuries, accidents and infections. The Hospital Safety Grade is compiled under the guidance of patient safety experts and is designed t o inform patients about facilities when faced with hospitalization.

To produce a single score representing a hospital’s safety performance, The Leapfrog Group’s rating system uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data. Grades are calculated on process, structural and outcomes measures. Process and structural criteria represent how often a hospital gives patients recommended treatment for a given medical condition or procedure and the environment in which patients receive care. Outcomes measures include what happens to a patient while receiving care. 

Comparisons of hospital scores locally and nationally are available at

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | July 4, 2019

Rock Garden at Duke Raleigh Hospital Has Positive Message

KidsCan! Children

Children involved in the KidsCan! Program pose near the rock garden on the Duke Raleigh Hospital campus.

Outside Duke Cancer Center Raleigh there is a garden where many go for the views and some quiet reflection.

Follow the winding paths to its center and there are brightly colored rocks with messages such as “Love for Dad,” “You are a superstar!,” and “Always look for the positive, be intentional.”

These new additions to the garden are meant to inspire those who may be struggling. They were created through the KidsCan! Program, established through a partnership with the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and the Holt Brothers Foundation to aid children who have a parent with cancer. Creation of the rocks has been a part of these two-hour monthly meetings for children and their families since the program launched in Wake County in March.

“The rocks give the children of KidsCan! the opportunity to care for others,” said Hannah Sasser, child life specialist for KidsCan! of Duke Cancer Center Raleigh. “Making the rocks and using them in monthly meetings and sharing them in the garden gives these children something positive to do with their sadness and the frustration of coping with a difficult diagnosis for a parent.”

KidsCan! is designed for children ages 4-18 years of age and brings families together over a meal. After the meal, children create the colored rocks with drawings or inspirational messages to use during their small-group activities. During these group activities, they learn more about the disease and use the rocks to talk with other kids who have a family member with cancer while parents meet to discuss the impact of cancer on their families.

ribbon cutting ceremony

Family members of the late Ashley Linden, the creator of Rocks of Hope, and Susan Garrett, who took over the Rocks of Hope Initiative joined the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 4.

On June 4, the rock garden debuted with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the Duke Cancer Center Raleigh Survivorship Day, mostly comprised of rocks made by children enrolled in KidsCan! at Duke Raleigh Hospital. The rocks were an idea that grew from the Rocks of Hope Initiative that was started by the late Ashley Linden, Sasser said.

In the month KidsCan! Rocks has existed on campus, visitors, staff, and volunteers have joined the program’s children to contribute new rocks using supplies stocked in a small house adjacent to the rock garden beside Duke Cancer Center Raleigh, 3404 Wake Forest Road.

“We encourage our staff and the community to take a rock or use the supplies on site to make a rock for someone else to find,” said Sasser, who noted that visits to the garden are now a regular part of KidsCan! monthly meetings. “My greatest hope is that the rocks let the children of KidsCan! know that someone is thinking of them and cares about them. In the months ahead, we hope to continue to grow our rainbow garden and spread more optimism and creativity not only to these children, but to the greater Raleigh community.”

Want to Participate?

On Saturday, July 20, from 8 a.m. to noon, KidsCan! will be at the Duke Raleigh Hospital booth at the Midtown Farmer’s Market. Stop by to paint your own rock for the garden and learn more about KidsCan! and our child life services offerings.

Families interested in registering for KidsCan! in Wake County may contact Hannah Sasser, or 919-954-4117. Meetings are held the third Thursday of every month from 6-8 p.m.


–By Erin McKenzie

Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | June 25, 2019

An Unexpected Stop in 1979 Led to a 40-Year Career

It was Feb. 5, 1979 when Linda O’Neal was out on a walk and passed by what was then Raleigh Community Hospital.

Having heard positive things from employees, and looking for new opportunities outside the nearby hospital she worked at, she went in and applied for a pharmacy technician position.

She impressed a variety of supervisors and started work the next day. Since then for more than 40 years, she’s been a staple with Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Pharmacy Services.

“This is my family,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said the many bonds she’s created with coworkers are built on an interest to “pay forward” her expertise. Whether it’s how to best handle medicine or tips on interacting with patients, she’s quick to offer help from her decades of experience.

“She shares with us what we can do to improve matters in critical conditions and offers different perspectives to handle tough situations effectively,” said Cassandra Terry, a pharmacy tech who’s worked with O’Neal for 15 years.

Most important, O’Neal said, has been the lessons she’s learned from the variety of diverse people she interacts with, from colleagues to patients. She’s loved experiencing new cultures through food with her team, sharing her chicken salad (a secret recipe) alongside Spanish or Indian food.

“I’ve grown a lot during these years because of all the people with different backgrounds and stories,” she said. “It’s been so important to help me grow as a person and appreciate all the people we help at the hospital.”

To Terry and others, the feeling is mutual.

“When the pharmacy team sees her first thing in the morning, we always get a feeling of reassurance knowing we have a master of four decades of health care alongside us,” Terry said. “She is an excellent problem solver, skilled critical thinker, expert in her position and a trusted friend.”

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