New year launches with historic groundbreaking

December 30, 2005
The largest expansion project in New Hanover Regional Medical Center's history will be launched Thursday, Jan. 19, with a groundbreaking ceremony in front of the visitor's parking lot. U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre will give the keynote address. The groundbreaking will take place at the future site of a new Children's Hospital and Women's Pavilion, the first of its kind in Southeastern North Carolina. Among the services based at the facility will be pediatric surgery and critical care, another first for the region. The ceremony also marks the beginning of the overall expansion project on the NHRMC campus. Other projects include a new surgery pavilion with modern operating rooms, a renovated patient tower with all private rooms, a renovated Coastal Heart Center with its own entrance and an expanded Emergency Department that is tripled in size. All construction projects are set to be complete in 2010.Employee satisfaction scores on the riseWith nearly 75 percent of all employees responding, New Hanover Regional’s employee satisfaction scores significantly increased compared to last year as employees answered every survey question with a higher degree of satisfaction. “It is unusual, and almost unheard of, that we find improvement in every variable over the last year,” said Tony Jackson, of The Jackson Group, the company that administers the survey for NHRMC. More than 84 percent of those responding said they are proud to work for NHRMC and 71 percent would recommend this hospital to their families and friends needing care. “It’s clear to us that things have been going on in the last year,” said Mr. Jackson. “These are impressive scores.”Physican satisfaction scores rising as wellPhysicians are also registering more satisfaction with New Hanover Regional Medical Center. In a recent survey, the 68 percent who responded were almost uniformly more satisfied with working conditions than in a similar survey in 2002. On the survey's key question, 89.9 percent had a positive response to the statement "Overall, New Hanover Regional is a good facility in which to practice." This includes 32.3 percent who strongly agreed, a response that exceeded the organization's goal for 2005.Cancer program reapproved as Teaching Cancer HospitalThe American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer has awarded three-year reapproval to the cancer program at New Hanover Regional as a Teaching Cancer Hospital. The approval was given with commendations. Approval is awarded to facilities that voluntarily commit to the highest level of quality cancer care and undergo a rigorous evaluation process and review of their performance. The cancer program includes a 22-bed inpatient unit on the 8th floor at NHRMC, the Zimmer Cancer Center for diagnosis and outpatient treatment and a PET scanner for the latest in cancer detection.Network launches new websiteThe New Hanover Health Network website,, has a new look and improved functionality. The site, which went live in December, is designed to give visitors easier access to information through a cleaner design and more cross-referenced information.SMAT team honored for service in MississippiNew Hanover Regional sponsored a thank-you on Nov. 10 for the regional State Medical Assistance Team members who served seven weeks in Waveland, Miss., offering outpatient and emergency care for a region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Team members rotated through week-long shifts in Waveland, using equipment acquired from federal and state funds for health emergencies at home. The SMAT team provided medical care for more than 7,400 patients. Thirty-seven of the team members work for NHRMC. Among those thanking the team for its work was President Bush, who sent a thank-you letter. Team members, moved by the barriers faced by Waveland residents, returned to deliver Christmas gifts to children in the area.NHRMC adopts 60 famlies for ChristmasEmployees from 56 departments provided gifts, toys, clothing and food for 60 needy families for Christmas this year. A gift delivery the week before Christmas filled four ambulances. Many of the families live in temporary housing for the homeless, or are victims of domestic violence.Service Excellence in actionNew Hanover Regional Medical Center has embarked on a journey of Service Excellence. This is not a program, but a new culture that aims to make the hospital a place where employees want to work, physicians want to practice and patients want to receive care. Here are some recent examples of how Service Excellence works:
  • A patients' family had driven from New York and arrived in Wilmington at 2:30 a.m. Unfamiliar with the area, they needed information and directions for lodging. Debby Howell, CNA from 9 South, got on the phone and called the Hampton Inn, spoke with the clerk, confirmed room availability for the family members, took time after the call to give step-by-step directions from the front door of NHRMC to the Hampton Inn to the family and made leaving the patient to go to the Hampton Inn less stressful than the long drive that day had been. Carol Tuttherow, RN on 8 North, showed what excellence is all about when she stayed over four hours after her shift had ended to assist a patient in distress. Her compassion and sense of humor during this episode was much needed and appreciated at that time. "I am an anesthesia student from the Raleigh School of Nurse Anesthesia. We go all over the state to work at different clinical sites. It is our class' general consensus that the techs at New Hanover and Cape Fear are incredible. They make our jobs much more smooth and efficient. They truly are the best that I have encountered. You really should be proud of all of them."
  • Network news and notesBeverly Horrell, cafeteria assistant at Cape Fear Hospital, was selected Employee of the Year in 2005. Her prize package includes a plaque, a week of paid time off, gift certificates to the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort and a $1,000 check. ... A Chest Pain Center designed to reduce the wait time for initial tests for patients with chest pain, opened Oct. 31 at NHRMC. ... Nine new patient rooms in the Emergency Department at NHRMC are scheduled to open in January. The space had been used for offices. ... Aline Lasseter began Nov. 7 as Executive Director of the NHRMC Foundation. She brings 10 years of health care fundraising experience, most recently in Savannah, Ga. ... At its October meeting, the NHRMC Board of Trustees elected new officers for the 2005-06 Fiscal Year. They are: Bruce Prouty, chairman; Nancy Marks, vice-chairman; Patricia Leonard, secretary; Beth Dawson, assistant secretary; Jack Fuller, treasurer.