Health Care

Health Care Heroes: Nurse

By Staff Reports, posted Oct 20, 2017
Here are the finalists in the 2017 Health Care Heroes Nurse category.

Honors a nurse whose performance is considered exemplary by patients, peers and other health care providers.

Deb Goughnour

TITLE: Grief and wellness RN, health adviser and CPR instructor

ORGANIZATION: Wilmington Healing with Hope

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “In addition to the remarkable work that Deb does in helping those grieving from a loss, she is committed to teaching thousands to do CPR in a year and has already trained over 200 people.

She is also active in providing assistance to organizations such as her efforts supporting the NHRMC I Heart Fashion Benefit and has participated in several citizen’s academies including WFD and NHCSO.”

Ruth Smith, friend

MORE ABOUT THE NOMINEE: Most of Goughnour’s nursing career has been centered around cardiothoracic medicine, her true love.

She has also worked in pediatric endocrinology and mental health and trains others how to do CPR.

“After taking some time off from nursing after my husband died, (from heart disease; I performed CPR for 30 minutes on him, alone, until EMS arrived) I realized I could make a difference in the lives of others and prevent the same outcome for those who are faced with a true emergency,” she said.

Traci Hammer

TITLE: Nurse-Breast Care Clinic coordinator

ORGANIZATION: Wilmington Health

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Traci is the consummate nurse. With a broad background from obstetrics to lactation specialist to hospice coordinator, she is the epitome of a patient advocate and friend.

With our high clinical volume of breast disease and breast cancer, she is a calming presence throughout the entire diagnostic process, treatment planning and follow- up.
During the darkest hours for a patient after a breast cancer diagnosis, she is a shoulder to cry on, a coordinator of care, an educator with regard to treatment and disease and a cheerleader.

In the years that she has been my clinical nurse she has never complained about the often formidable workload, fluctuating clinic scheduling and often urgent work-in appointments.

As a self-motivated employee, she completes tasks without prompting. She is seen as a leader in the department, becoming affectionately known as ‘Momma Trace’ to other clinical staff. In summary, after being in practice for 18 years and having seven prior clinic nurses, Traci Hammer is the most proficient, competent, personal, unselfish and compassionate clinical nurse that I have encountered.”

Bradford Tyler, Wilmington Health Surgery

Lowell Higgins Jr.

TITLE: NHRMC pediatric infusion coordinator

ORGANIZATION: New Hanover Regional Medical Center

WHAT THE NOMINATOR SAID: “Lowell has been a pediatric nurse since 1996, following his life’s dream to help children. Outside of work, Lowell continued to fulfill his passion through his involvement in community activities such as Relay for Life, Take Steps Walk benefiting irritable bowel disease and participating in five mission trips with Operation Rainbow to perform cleft lip and palate repairs in third-world countries.

In recent years, Lowell began to see the problems families were experiencing by having to travel several hours for services that were not offered here. Lowell researched what NHRMC could do to help these families and presented his findings to hospital leadership. The Pediatric Infusion Program saw its first patient in late August 2013.

The program provides infusions to children suffering from chronic conditions.

Lowell established relationships with doctors in Durham and Raleigh who were overseeing the care for these children, convincing them that we could provide the infusions the children need on a regular basis, while the primary care plan would remain in their hands.”

Iris Baker, NHRMC outreach coordinator
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