Newport News VA - Terris Kennedy RN, Debbie Campbell RN and Golden Bethune-Hill RN, retired Administrator of Riverside Regional Medical Center, were selected as top nurses in the Hampton Roads Magazine Excellence in Nursing Competition.

Terris Kennedy RN and Debbie Campbell's selection as Top Nurses exemplifies our mission that when you treat our patients and residents the same way you respond to and care for those you love, you build trust, which is what every patient and resident is looking for in their medical experience.

Nurses are an essential part of the Riverside interdisciplinary healthcare team.  We value their critical role as patient advocates helping to build the trust between interdisciplinary team members and the patient and residents we care for everyday.

Terris KennedyTerris Kennedy

Hospital:  Nursing Administration, Riverside Health System

Years as a nurse:  44

Special recognitions:  Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, US Army; Meritorious Service Medals; Army Surgeon General "A" Designator for Nursing Administration; Order of Military Medical Merit.

Why did you choose nursing as a career?  Growing up, I had a very caring, considerate and selfless neighbor who was a nurse-she became a mentor to me, providing guidance, support and at times a listening ear.

Favorite part about being a nurse?  Making a difference in providing health care services for patients and their families.  Even greater is the pleasure of promoting and advocating for nurses as an integral part of the interdisciplinary care team

Most Important thing you have learned during your nursing career?  Listening continues to be a key to success-listening to staff and gathering information to make informed and valid decisions and listening to patients and their families.

Proudest moment as a nurse?  It was my good fortune to serve as chief nursing officer at Shore Memorial Hospital.  It was a wonderful opportunity to make a difference working with a dedicated staff committed to providing quality care to the Eastern Shore community.  I now serve as the chief nursing officer for Riverside Health System.  I'm proud to be part of a progressive, patient-centered system that values nurses as significant members of the interdisciplinary care team.

One memory of a particular patient that you feel your care had a significant influence on?  My initial duty assignment as an Army nurse was in Japan during the Vietnam War.  I worked on a 120-bed orthopedic ward and cared for hundreds of young men with traumatic injuries over a two-year period.  We never lost one of those young men.

From her nomination:  She's dedicated, caring, concerned about excellence in patient care, fair, insightful and a mentor who has the ability to find one's strengths.  I only hope that I've been able to adequately convey what this amazing nurse leader has contributed to her patients, colleagues, community and her country."  – Kathy Menefee

Debbie CampbellDebbie Campbell

Hospital:  Administrative Director of Nursing & Clinical Services, Riverside Behavioral Health Center (RBHC)

Years as a nurse: 30

Special recognitions:  Third year champion of Caring pin; Outstanding Director of Nursing, RBHC; Thirty-year service pin, RHS.

Why did you choose nursing as a career?  My sister Sunjy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when I was 15.  I spent my evenings and weekends caring for her on the neurology unit at Riverside Regional Medical Center and helped my parents care for her at home.  Before my sister's condition declined, I promised her that I'd go on to become a nurse.  My sister died two years later, exactly two months before I went off to college to pursue my nursing career.

Favorite part about being a nurse?  I've been able to roll up my sleeves in my current role and provide hands-on care with a loving, personal touch, and I've made critical decisions that will have a positive impact on our patients/residents at RBHC.

Most Important thing you have learned during your nursing career?  Treat patients and their loved ones the way you'd want your family to be treated.  Keep your patients safe from harm; treat them with compassion, kindness, respect and dignity.

Proudest moment as a nurse?  One night, while making rounds, I went through the lower lobby -not part of my normal path-and found a staff member is severe respiratory distress that required CPR.  The Code Blue team and the CCU staff were able to revive the employee, who fully recovered.  I'm grateful that I followed my instincts and found the employee.  I was able to save a life.

One memory of a particular patient that you feel your care had a significant influence on?  I cared for a young patient with metastatic lung cancer in 1986.  I considered the care I gave to be typical of how I treat all patients.  However, this patient and family, who were grieving, viewed my care as special.  The patient passed two weeks later, and the family included my name and the work that I did for him in his funeral service.

From her nomination:  "Debbie is an intelligent and caring nurse-she is very much hands-on, and the staff loves her for it.  She is an excellent role model, takes responsibility for everything and everybody under her leadership and educates to ensure that whatever is not right is corrected."  –Belinda Ford

Golden Bethune-HillGolden Bethune-Hill

Hospital/Practice:  Founder and Executive Director, Community Free Clinic of Newport News.  Retired as Executive Vice President, Riverside Health System and Administrator, Riverside Regional Medical Center

Years as a nurse: 46

Special recognitions:  Trailblazer Award, 100 Black Men of the Virginia Peninsula; District Award Citizen of the Year by the District Council of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; New Jersey Governor's Award for Excellence in Nursing Administration; Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey State Board of Nursing; Most Influential Leader Award, Lynchburg

Why did you choose nursing as a career?  As a child, I witnessed my best friend die of bone cancer.  I also saw older people sitting idly in nursing homes or at home, and the look on their faces stuck with me.

Favorite part about being a nurse?  Caring for patients and seeing patients get better in part because of a decision that I made.  Providing support and care to patients who did not get better and to their family members.

Most Important thing you have learned during your nursing career?  The real value of the expression, "Nursing is an art and a science."  More than once, I trusted my instincts when the science was saying something different and was able to prevent major complications in a patient.

Proudest moment as a nurse?  Receiving the Governor's Award for Excellence in Nursing Administration in New Jersey.  My second proudest moment was when Centra Health in Lynchburg met the requirements for magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  Out of nearly 5,000 acute care hospitals in the United Stated, only 361 have earned this designation.

One memory of a particular patient that you feel your care had a significant influence on?  As a vice president, I did not practice often at the bedside, but I did attend lectures and read to remain current.  One day a lecture was given on a condition called epiglottitis, inflammation and swelling of the flap that prevents food from going into the trachea.  This swelling can interfere with breathing.  That afternoon when I was making rounds, I saw a mom in the admissions office holding a baby that had classic symptoms of this condition.  I asked the mom a few questions and directed her to come with me to the pediatric unit.  I shared what I observed with the nurse, we called the doctor stat, and this child had a tube inserted just before he stopped breathing.

From her nomination:  "She had a vision for a free clinic in the southeast community of Newport News, and she made it a reality.  The free clinic has been open since Nov. 23, 2010 and have seen more than 1,000 patients" – Gwen Hartzog

In addition, the May/June issue of the magazine acknowledged four Riverside Regional Medical Center nurses who were given Honorable Mentions in the Excellence in Nursing recognition. These individuals included: Kim Harper and Natalie Vines, pictured below, as well as Pat Boyles and Inez Yates.

Nurses recognized

Published: March 1, 2012