The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 8, 2013

Vidant Edgecombe honors excellence at annual reception


TARBORO — “Team player,” “patient advocate” and “greatest educational resource” are the terms Vidant Edgecombe Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU) manager Tammy Turner uses to describe ICU nurse Alvin Argel.

Argel was named “nurse of the year” at a hospital reception Tuesday afternoon. He has worked at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital since 2002.

“It makes you feel accomplished. It makes you feel like the hard work you put in is worth it,” said Argel. An expression of shock crossed his face when he realized he had been chosen as nurse of the year, and several minutes later, he said he was “still very surprised.”

Argel described nursing as a “busy and demanding” profession that requires a great deal of teamwork.

“Being a team is always a big factor. It makes those really demanding days a lot more bearable,” he said. “You’ve got to have teamwork. You really don’t need to be asked to pitch in; you see what’s going on and you just help.”

As Argel says, being a nurse is a great responsibility, but with it comes great rewards.

“The life of the person is there with you and sometimes those people aren’t able to make their needs known, so basically it’s your responsibility to figure it out,” said Argel. He added that the hospital doctors are very supportive of the nurses and provide them with the clinical staff education they need to do their job well.

“One of the most rewarding things is when you see them (the patient) come in very sick and then they gradually get better. It’s really satisfying to see that,” Argel said.

Argel earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in his native country, the Philippines, 20 years ago. His aunt Lourdes Argel was a nurse and influenced his decision to go to nursing school. Prior to joining the staff at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, Argel worked as a nurse in the operating room at a hospital in Pitt County.

Sharon Sherrod, discharge planner assistant for Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, was recognized as “clinical assistant of the year” at Tuesday’s reception. Since she was hired as a nursing assistant on the hospital’s surgical unit in July 1989, Sherrod has received 25 “Wows” – recognitions for going “above and beyond” the call of duty. Sherrod said she was “extremely surprised and honored” to receive the recognition.

“I have a true sense of love for people, for helping people,” Sherrod said. She is known for her chipper attitude, greeting people when they get off the elevator in the morning with a smile and a “Good morning, welcome to Vidant Edgecombe Hospital.”

“Even on my bad days, I still try to keep a smile on my face,” said Sherrod. To her, the staff at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital “feels like family” and she works hard to make sure the patients who walk through the doors of the hospital feel like a part of that family. She said she loves being a “center of support” for fellow staff members, and “upholding one another” is part of the hospital culture. Sherrod enjoys interacting with Dr. David Miller, an orthopedics physician with whom she has worked for 24 years, and her manager Wanda Neathery.

“She really employed in me the value of teamwork and what it means to be part of a team,” Sherrod said. Sherrod studied health occupations as a student at North Edgecombe High School and her grandfather’s work as a patient care assistant at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital influenced her decision to join the hospital team. She has been married to her husband, Rodney Sherrod, for 20 years.

The nursing reception is an annual event at the hospital, in honor of Nurses Week, a tradition that began in 1994. The observance began Monday and ends Sunday, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of modern day nursing.

Susan Suiter, Vidant Edgecombe Hospital’s senior director of patient care services, shared with the crowd at Tuesday’s reception that the nursing profession is now “3.1 million strong worldwide.”

“You call yourself nurses. We call you heroes,” Suiter told the nurses gathered at the reception. “Thank each of you for the noble work that you do every day. You do make such a difference.”

Suiter shared statistics about the impact nurses at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital made in the past year – assisting with 2,071 surgeries, 2,085 oncology visits, 405 deliveries, 49,275 lab draws and 26,215 emergency department visits.