Thrift Store Benefits Local Home Health & Hospice Patients

The volunteers of Granny’s Attic presented a donation of $61,700 to Murphy Medical Center on January 16 for the hospital’s Good Shepherd Home Health and Hospice Agency.

The auxiliary operates the Hayesville-based thrift store which sells clothing and small household items. Since its inception in 1985, Granny’s Attic has raised over $700,000 for Good Shepherd in support of its hospice efforts offered in Cherokee, Clay, and Macon counties.

“Customers will come in to our store with a donation, commenting on how the hospice program has been such a help to their family,” said Granny’s Attic president Lee Brown. “We also get to visit and interact with them and it’s been such a blessing to all of us.”

Granny’s Attic is located at 200 Highway 64 West in Hayesville, in Suite B next to Subway. Donations of items are accepted during hours of operation which are Wednesday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm and Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm. There is also a donation box located in the main lobby of Murphy Medical Center in Peachtree.

“I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to our volunteers for their dedication and hard work,” said Director of Volunteer Services Mary Carol Campbell. “Additionally, our fundraising efforts could not happen without the support of everyone who donates items and shops at our thrift store. Your contributions have made a big difference in many lives.”

Good Shepherd Home Health and Hospice is a department of Murphy Medical Center. It provides skilled nursing, tele-monitoring, physical and occupational therapy, medical supplies, bereavement counseling and support groups, emergency response call button service, CAP case management, and various other services for those in need of home health care or hospice care in Cherokee, Clay and Macon counties. Past thrift store proceeds have allowed Good Shepherd to purchase laptop computers, medical equipment and specialty vehicles to care for patients in remote and often difficult to reach locations.

For more information, call Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice at (828) 837-1197 or online at

Granny’s Attic President Lee Brown (shown rear center, left) presents a $61,700 check to Good Shepherd Home Health and Hospice manager Julie Yonce (shown rear center, right). Joining them for the presentation are Eva Robinson, Katie Dawes, Fern Dennis, Joyce Bernier, Roberta Stetson, Betty Schopp (seated from left), Yvonne Andrews, Ida Holmes, Debbie Thrower, Jo Ann Hutchinson, Vonda Hohman, Kathy Parker, Judy Jaeger, Toni Lovingood, Barb Field (middle row from left), Carleen Brock, Sandy Jersey, Mike Stevenson, Mary Shelton, Trudy Bessent, Arnaldo Lugo, and Karen Robinson (back row from left)

First Baby of the New Year Arrives at Murphy Medical Center

Angie Davis, RN, Maternal-Infant Nurse presents a gift basket celebrating Murphy Medical Center’s first newborn of 2018, Melody Joy Floyd, to her parents Erika and Christopher Floyd of Andrews (shown from left)

Heralding the arrival of every newborn at Murphy Medical Center, the hospital’s public address system played “Happy Birthday to You” for the first time in 2018 on January 1.

Melody Joy Floyd arrived at 8:13 pm, weighing 7 pounds, 8.6 ounces, and measuring 19-3/4 inches in length.

Her parents, Erika and Christopher Floyd of Andrews were presented with a basket of baby gifts from the hospital staff with their congratulations and best wishes.

“We congratulate Erika and Christopher on the arrival of 2018’s first baby,” said Laura Hughes, Inpatient Nursing Supervisor at the Peachtree facility. “We’d also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Floyd’s and all families for choosing Murphy Medical Center as the place to bring their precious little ones into the world”.

Hospital Recognizes Surgical Technologists

Murphy Medical Center’s Surgical Services Department gathered on November 21 to recognize their dedicated team of Surgical Technologists, who recently earned National Certification in Surgical Technology.

The hospital’s team of technicians completed an accredited 48-credit hour educational program covering anatomy and physiology, microbiology, surgical procedures, clinical practice settings, and perioperative patient care. They were also required to log a minimum of 1,000 hours of working experience and 120 procedures as the primary Surgical Technician, prior to sitting for the certification examination, which is administered by National Board on Certification in Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

Surgical Technologists, or scrub techs, are essential members of the surgical team, responsible for assembling and set-up of surgical supplies and instrumentation, assisting the surgeon during procedures by providing visualization, passing of needed instruments, suctioning, maintaining sponge and needle counts, and participating in patient safety measures such as the surgical time out.

Surgical Technologists must possess a comprehensive knowledge of surgical procedures and physician preferences, while staying abreast of changing technology and evidence-based practice recommendations. They must also be able to identify thousands of surgical instruments and understand their application in each surgical specialty area, ranging from orthopedics to ophthalmology.

Establishment of certification places Murphy Medical Center’s Surgical Technologists ahead of recent North Carolina legislation (House Bill H199), which was introduced in March of 2017. This bill would require NC hospitals and Ambulatory Surgery Centers only to employ surgical technologists who have completed training through an accredited education program, and who maintain a Surgical Technologist Certification.

Murphy Medical Center’s Surgical Technologists gather to be recognized for their recent National Certification in Surgical Technology. Pictured with their certifications are Sharon Bevins, Lynda Sullivan and Kendra Baines (shown from left)

Hospital Joins Effort to Help Keep Community Warm

As temperatures begin to plummet, a coordinated effort is underway to collect winter coats and provide them where they’re most needed.

Local State Farm Insurance agent Jim Miller is leading a county-wide initiative to provide gently-used coats as a source of comfort and protection from the cold weather.

“We started this program two years ago to provide coats for children and adults who couldn’t afford them,” Miller said. “Last year, we were able to distribute over 600 coats to those in need.”

Kristin Engelskind, manager of the hospital’s Environmental Services Department is spearheading the collection initiative at Murphy Medical Center. Engelskind is leading a team of hospital employees and volunteers to collect, launder, sort and prepare the coats for a mid-December distribution in Peachtree, in association with Toys for Tots.

For more information, contact Jim Miller at (828) 835-7200.

Murphy Medical Center’s Kristin Engelskind (shown third from left) holds the first coat donated to this year’s coat drive. Joining her are Pam Barmore, Jim Miller and Tanya Gibson (shown from left)

Hospital Announces DAISY Award Recipients

Murphy Medical Center hosted its annual DAISY Award For Extraordinary Nurses during a ceremony held November 10. The awards were presented at the facility in recognition of the extraordinary work and patient care that nurses provide.

This year’s DAISY Award recipients were Mary Jane Burns, LPN, Linda Hoefsmit, RN, Helen Atchison, RN, Kallie Norton, RN, and Chris Woods, RN.

The DAISY (Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Award is a national program to reward excellence in the nursing profession. It was created by the DAISY Foundation to honor J. Patrick Barnes of Glen Allen CA, who passed away in 1999 from complications of an immune system disease. Bonnie Barnes, President and Co-Founder of The DAISY Foundation stated, “When Patrick was critically ill, our family experienced first-hand the remarkable skill and care nurses provide acutely ill patients every day and night. Yet these unsung heroes are seldom recognized for the superhuman work they do.”

Chief Nursing Officer Teresa Bowleg stated, “Murphy Medical Center is defined by the compassion, dedication and skill of all of our nursing staff. They are often the unrecognized professionals who will transform healthcare. I congratulate our DAISY Award winners and nominees, and am honored to serve our nurses whose practice reflects the highest standards of nursing excellence.”

Murphy Medical Center DAISY Award honorees receive a pin, certificate and hand-carved stone sculpture titled ‘A Healer’s Touch’. Additionally, everyone attending the award ceremony enjoys freshly-baked cinnamon rolls – a favorite of Patrick’s during his illness.

Fellow employees and patients are encouraged to nominate candidates for the award, based on their commitment to teamwork, quality, safety, compassion and professionalism. This year’s DAISY Award winners join the ranks of nineteen nurses who have previously received the award since the hospital adopted the recognition program in 2009.

For additional information, or to nominate a nurse for the DAISY Award, visit us online at

Murphy Medical Center’s DAISY Award winners Mary Jane Burns, Linda Hoefsmit, Helen Atchison, Kallie Norton, and Chris Woods (seated from left) join fellow nominees Tobi Sellers, Kaitlin Turner, Amanda Norton, Crystal Green, Lisa Parker, Lisa Wilner, Rachel Kilpatrick, Meredith Justice, Mary Patterson, Debbie Curtis, Gracey Hughes, Vickie Martin and Angie Davis (standing from left) at the award ceremony on November 10

Hospital Promotes Health Care Quality & Infection Prevention Weeks

Healthcare quality professionals at Murphy Medical Center proudly join the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), and The Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) in celebrating Healthcare Quality Week and International Infection Prevention Week October 15-21.

The week brings greater recognition for the healthcare quality profession and the contributions and impact these professionals make in their organizations.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. A growing list of infections are becoming harder to treat as antibiotics become less effective. The World Health Organization has declared antibiotic resistance one of the biggest global health threats facing the world today.

“Murphy Medical Center, Murphy Group Practice and Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice have infection rates well below the national average,” stated Julie Reagan, Infection Preventionist at the Peachtree facility. “We are seeing fewer infections in surgery and our inpatient unit, our Emergency Department staff has made great improvements identifying and treating patients with possible sepsis, and we have had no urinary catheter or related blood stream infections again this year.”

Connie Ensley, the hospital’s Quality Director, attributes an ongoing, team-based approach to ensuring the health and safety of their patients.

“We have been working hard to improve quality and are seeing real results,” Ensley said. “We thank all the healthcare heroes – quality and infection control professionals, physicians, nurses and staff members who work tirelessly to provide high quality patient care.”

Ensley cites the hospital’s proactive approach to helping keep our local communities healthy.

“We’re encouraging patients to get screens for colon and breast cancer, vaccinations against pneumococcal pneumonia, and regular monitoring for diabetes care and hypertension,” Ensley added. “Soon we will start administering vaccinations to staff and patients in an effort to decrease transmission of influenza. Everyone should consider getting the flu shot sometime between October 1 and March 31 each year.”

Additionally, Ensley recommends keeping a list of currently prescribed medications with you at all times and establishing a relationship with a primary care provider. “Together we can continue to improve the health of everyone in our communities as we improve healthcare quality and decrease infections,” she added.

For additional information, contact the hospital at (828) 837-8161, or online at

Murphy Medical Center’s Quality and Infection Prevention teams gather in recognition of Healthcare Quality and International Infection Prevention Weeks. Connie Ensley, Quality Director, Julie Reagan, Infection Preventionist, Monique Matheny, Accreditation Coordinator, Richelle Thomas and Wayne Peacock, Lean, Facilitator/Coordinators, Diana Gentry, Quality Associate, Chris Woods, Patient Experience (shown from left). Not shown are Vonda Boone, Quality Analyst and Kim Williams, Risk, Patient Safety and Compliance Manager

Erlanger and Harrah’s Support Saturday’s Road Race Fundraiser

Murphy Medical Center’s September 16th “Two Hours From Anywhere” 5K Challenge, Heart Walk and Kids Fun Run event received $2,500 donations from Erlanger Health System and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel.

Proceeds from Saturday’s event will help provide scholarships to area students pursuing higher education in the healthcare arena. This year, the hospital’s Foundation awarded 23 scholarships totaling $39,000 to graduating seniors from Murphy, Hayesville, Andrews, Hiawassee Dam, Robbinsville, and Tri-County Early College.

“We’re very thankful for the generous donations from Erlanger Health System and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel and to everyone who is helping support Saturday’s race,” said coordinator Deena Collins. “We’re looking forward to a very exciting event.”

Race day registration is $25 and begins at 7:30 a.m., with the 5K race and two-mile heart walk starting promptly at 9 a.m. The fun run is free for children ages 10 and under.

Donation and race registration forms can be downloaded from the hospital’s website at, and are available in the main lobby, Urgent Care Center in Murphy and PARC Fitness Center in Peachtree.

For more information about donating to the fundraiser or participating in the race, contact Deena Collins at (828) 835-7506.

Hospital Receives Echocardiography Re-Accreditation

Murphy Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Department has been granted an additional three-year term of accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in Echocardiography. This latest accreditation demonstrates the facility’s ongoing commitment to providing quality patient care.

“The Cardiopulmonary Department staff of Murphy Medical Center is proud to have received re-accreditation for its Echocardiography services,” said Dr. Brian Mitchell, Medical Director of the hospital’s Echocardiography unit. “We have been consistent in our providing excellent care for our patients who have cardiac illness, and whose health can be preserved and improved with the use of this very important service.”

Echocardiography is used to assess different areas of the heart, and can detect heart disease or serious conditions. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, followed closely by stroke as the fourth highest cause of death. According to the American Heart Association, more than 2,000 Americans die each day from cardiovascular disease, which amount to about one every 40 seconds.

There are many factors that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography. The training and experience of the sonographer performing the procedure, the type of equipment used, and the quality assessment metrics each facility is required to measure, all contribute to a positive patient outcome. IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that all patients can rely on as an indicator of consistent quality care and a dedication to continuous improvement.

“Our Echocardiography lab is unique among all of the medical services in the region in providing an accredited service for our patients,” added Mitchell. “We pledge to continue this high level of service we think our patients deserve.”

Murphy Medical Center is a not-for-profit, private healthcare organization serving a seven-county area in western North Carolina, northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. The hospital offers quality care through its skilled staff and up-to-date facilities.

For additional information, contact the hospital at (828) 837-8161, or online at

Dr. Brian Mitchell joins Murphy Medical Center’s Cardiopulmonary Department staff members Amy Crisp, Nancy Clark and Sonia Lovingood (shown from left) in recognition of the hospital’s recent Echocardiography re-accreditation

September Road Race Fundraiser Provides Education Scholarships to Area Students

The Foundation of Murphy Medical Center has begun the registration and sponsorship solicitation phase of its annual “Two Hours from Anywhere” fundraiser.

“We’re very excited about this event,” said coordinator Deena Collins. “This year’s fundraiser is benefiting a very worthy cause.”

Proceeds from the hospital’s 27th annual 5K Challenge, Two-Mile Heart Walk and Kids’ Fun Run on Saturday, September 16th will help provide scholarships to area students pursuing higher education in the healthcare arena.

This year, the hospital’s Foundation awarded 23 scholarships totaling $39,000 to graduating seniors from Murphy, Hayesville, Andrews, Hiawassee Dam, Robbinsville, and Tri-County Early College.

Toni Lovingood, Foundation Director stated, “The healthcare education scholarship program at Murphy Medical Center is possible, in part, due to generous contributions from donors to help encourage area students to become healthcare professionals.”

For more information about donating to the fundraiser or participating in the event, contact Deena Collins at (828) 835-7506.

“Everyone’s invited to join us – by participating in the race, through sponsorships and donations, or just coming out for a fun morning,” Collins added.

Murphy Medical Center’s event coordinators Dona Adams, Pat Wikstrom, Deena Collins and Russ Paine (shown from left) gather to display the t-shirts for this year’s 27th annual “Two Hours from Anywhere” 5K Challenge, Two-Mile Heart Walk and Kids’ Fun Run. Online registration is now open at Race and Walk participants are encouraged to register by September 1st to be guaranteed an event shirt.

Practicing Emergency Preparedness

Murphy Medical Center conducted a readiness drill on June 13, establishing a Point of Distribution (POD) during a simulated county-wide H1N1 flu pandemic.

The two-hour event involved staff members from all departments, simulating the distribution of vaccines to over 210 local residents.

Unlike a similar training event staged in 2015 – a ‘closed POD’ which distributed anthrax vaccines to healthcare providers in the facility – this ‘open POD’ scenario responded to a directive from the Cherokee County Health Department and North Carolina Department of Public Health for H1N1 vaccine distribution to the general public.

“This exercise provided a unique training opportunity to quickly respond to those who have been, or may have been exposed, providing them protection, or lessening the impact of the H1N1 virus on their body,” said Russ Paine, Human Resources Manager and Hospital Safety Officer. “It provided a unique experience to broaden our scope of knowledge and cross-train staff members to effectively operate a public point of distribution.”

Murphy Medical Center readiness drills keep the hospital staff well-prepared for dealing with emergent situations. Past exercises have included weather-related and bio-hazard scenarios – providing an opportunity for all staff members to work as a cohesive team to prepare for unexpected interruptions to normal activity.

“The outcome of this exercise proved very successful,” Paine added. “We have great teams of people on our Environment of Care and Disaster Preparation committees. They’re smart folks who do a lot of research and take their roles very seriously.”

Murphy Medical Center is a not-for-profit, private healthcare organization serving a seven-county area in western North Carolina, northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. The facility has a staff of over 550 employees and includes an attached 134-bed Nursing Home, equipped with a 14-bed Alzheimer Unit.

For additional information, call the hospital at (828) 837-8161 or online at

Murphy Medical Center and Cherokee County Health Department staff gathers for the hospital’s preparedness drill on June 13. Human Resources Manager and event Hospital Safety Officer Russ Paine, Materials Manager Steve Wittenberg, Cherokee County Health Director David Badger, Infection Preventionist Julie Regan, Chief Executive Officer Mike Stevenson, Good Shepherd CAP Supervisor Vickie Derreberry, Plant Operations Manager Pat Wikstrom, Risk Manager Kim Williams, Emergency Department Nurse Manager Gail Bachteler and Health Information Analyst Misty Hall (shown from left)

Hospital Foundation Awards 23 Scholarships

The Murphy Medical Center Foundation has awarded scholarships totaling $39,000 to area students pursuing higher education in the healthcare arena.

The Foundation provided scholarships to graduating seniors from Murphy, Hayesville, Andrews, Hiawassee Dam, Robbinsville, and Tri-County Early College.

Toni Lovingood, Foundation Director stated, “The healthcare education scholarship program at Murphy Medical Center is possible, in part, due to generous contributions from donors to help encourage area students to become healthcare professionals.”

This year’s graduating high school student recipients were Samantha Leigh Barnes from Murphy, Shelby Lynn Shore from Murphy, Lauren Elizabeth Lands from Hayesville, Lindsey Davis from Hayesville, Kristina Grace El-Khouri from Andrews, Madison Daune Bias from Andrews, Marceline Elizabeth Sena from Murphy, Lauren Micayla McGuire from Robbinsville and Chloe B. Matheson from Young Harris, GA.

The hospital also renewed scholarships as students continued to qualify throughout their studies. An additional 14 scholarships of $1,750 each were awarded this year to college students pursuing a wide range of healthcare-related education.

Scholarships are granted in the names of five valued community members: Mr. John Carringer, Ms. Dorothy Cloer, Dr. Jeffery Larson, Dr. Helen Wells and Trish Brady.

All proceeds from the Foundation’s annual 5K Challenge, Heart Walk and Kid’s Fun Run – to be held this year on Saturday, September 16th – will benefit the hospital’s education scholarship program.

To make a tax-deductible gift to the Murphy Medical Center Foundation, contact Lovingood at (828) 835-7558.

Local Communities Benefit From Hospital’s Fund Raising Events

Employees and volunteers of Murphy Medical Center presented checks on June 2 to five local community agencies, recognizing them for their essential service and commitment to those in need.

“This is just another way Murphy Medical Center is able to help our local communities by giving back,” said Mary Carol Campbell, Director of Volunteer Services at the hospital. “Our employees are proud to make these donations, helping organizations that work hard to assist people in our own community.”

Murphy Medical Center hosts approximately ten fundraisers throughout the year, with proceeds used to provide educational scholarships, purchase new equipment and support local charitable organizations.

“We’re also very appreciative of everyone who has helped us make a difference by supporting our fundraising events,” Campbell added.

On September 16, the hospital’s Foundation will host its 27th annual “Two Hours From Anywhere” 5K Race, Two-Mile Heart Walk and Kid’s Fun Run. All proceeds from the event go to scholarships for high school seniors from Cherokee, Clay and Graham counties who plan to pursue a career in healthcare.

For more information, visit the hospital’s website at

Murphy Medical Center employees Veronica Shook, Deena Collins, Dona Adams, and volunteers Alice Hopstock and Wanda Arrowood (seated from left) present checks to local community organizations including Mary Ruth Keller representing Daniel Boone Council; Nichole Croisant, West Regional Director of NC Autism Society; Carol Lackland, Director of Pregnancy and Counseling Center, President Diane Young and Executive Director Karen Borchers with United Way of Cherokee and Clay Counties, and HAVEN Director Crystal Glenn (standing from left)

Hospital’s Environmental Services Team Wins Top Award

Staff members from Crothall Healthcare gathered to celebrate receiving top honors for their exceptional service to Murphy Medical Center.

The 36-member team has been providing housekeeping, laundry, floor care and clinical engineering services to the hospital since 2012.

“Our team achieved a score of 91.9, the highest quarterly score among eighty contenders in our division,” said Kristin Engelskind, Manager of the hospital’s Environmental Services (EVS) department.

The scoring is a component of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), a series of patient surveys rating health care experiences in the United States. The surveys focus on healthcare quality aspects that patients find important and are well equipped to assess. Among the survey questions submitted to patients is their opinion of the cleanliness of the hospital environment.

“Our staff consistently strives to provide the most hygienic and safest experience possible for our patients and their families,” Engelskind added. “By ensuring a clean and well-maintained environment, our team helps promote patient confidence and overall comfort during their stay.”

In addition to the distinction, the EVS team was awarded $1,000 to celebrate winning the Crothall Quarter Four HCAHPS Challenge.

Founded in 1991, Crothall Healthcare serves over 1,200 healthcare facilities in forty-four states. Crothall has been named to Modern Healthcare Magazine’s “Top 100 Best Places to Work” in 2016 – the fourth year in a row.

Murphy Medical Center is a not-for-profit, private healthcare organization serving a seven-county area in western North Carolina, northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. The facility has a staff of over 520 employees and includes an attached 134-bed Nursing Home, equipped with a 14-bed Alzheimer Unit.

For additional information, call the hospital at (828) 837-8161 or online at

Murphy Medical Center’s EVS team gathers to celebrate winning the Crothall Quarter Four HCAHPS Challenge. Unit Manager Kristin Engelskind, Teresa Epperson, Ashley Bruce, Jamie Ward (front row from left), Rebecca Johnson, Paula Johnson, Jean Irvin, Rose Bloodworth, Frances Lee, Paula Ledford, Debbie Chatham, Debbie Harbin, William Bradshaw (middle row from left), Victor Wells, Jenniffer Roberts, Michelle Zellmer, Laura Schroder, Wanda Carver, Candy Johnson, Richard Kenney, Carole Mitchell and Mark Chatham (back row from left)

Hospital Training Helps Reduce Patient Bloodstream Infection

A team of Murphy Medical Center nurses recently completed training for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC), which accompany or replace conventional intravenous injections for patients.

Each thin, translucent PICC line has precise, incremental markings along its surface to ensure reaching its ideal destination. The PICC line is carefully inserted through the skin and skillfully guided into a larger vein or artery leading directly to the heart.

Patients requiring multiple vascular injections or long-term infusion therapy stand to benefit most, as the PICC helps reduce multiple injections, lessening the possibility of skin trauma and infection, while providing more comfort to patients.

“Staff training is critical for proper PICC line placement,” said Julie Reagan, Infection Preventionist for the hospital. “If the line is not properly inserted, or the environment is not completely sterile, bloodstream infections can occur.”

Statistics indicate that over 250,000 central line associated bloodstream infections occur in the U.S. each year.

Murphy Medical Center nurses who insert and maintain these devices are required to complete annual education to demonstrate the skills necessary to prevent central line associated bloodstream infections. In addition, public reporting of this type of infection is required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, so every device inserted by the hospital’s staff is followed closely for signs of infection.

“Through the efforts of our dedicated nursing staff who place and monitor patients with PICC’s, it has been five years since a central line associated bloodstream infection has been detected and reported by Murphy Medical Center,” added Reagan.

Murphy Medical Center staff gathers for the Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) training course at the Peachtree facility. Course instructor Holly Norris, Byron Barnett, Clay Springer, Tobi Sellers, Josh Nicholson and Infection Preventionist Julie Reagan (shown from left). Not shown in photo are course instructors Kammy Neil and Cheri Pinner

Hospital Celebrates Nursing Staff

Murphy Medical Center joined hospitals throughout the nation in celebrating National Nurses Week May 6-12, honoring them for their hard work and dedication. Throughout the week, nurses are acknowledged as leaders who improve the quality of health care, practicing in diverse roles such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.

First proclaimed by President Richard Nixon in 1974, National Nurses Week concludes by commemorating the May 12 birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), who is widely recognized as the founder of modern nursing. Nightingale’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

Patients often recognize that a nurse is the healthcare professional with whom they and their families have the most direct contact, but they may not realize that nurses are also leading initiatives to continually advance the quality of patient care.

“Nurses throughout our facility have risen to the challenge of providing outstanding care to our communities,” said Gail Bachteler, Emergency Department Nurse Manager. “Our nurses continue to play a strategic role in improving the patient experience in our hospital.”

Murphy Medical Center nurses Debbie Curtis, Beth Rosendale, LaNita Harris and Ashley Stiles receive an appreciation gift basket during National Nurses Week from hospital volunteers Debbie Foster, Alice Hopstock, Mary Lutz-Karvonen and Carmen Markham (shown from left)

Occupational Therapy Profession Celebrates 100 Years

The Occupational Therapy staff at Murphy Medical Center joined over 213,000 of their counterparts celebrating National Occupational Therapy Month.

Every year during the month of April, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) works to raise awareness for their profession in all areas of practice. Since its founding, AOTA has worked to create a global understanding of the profession through public education and by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations, and serving as an advocate to improve health care.

Murphy Medical Center’s Occupational Therapy staff members gather in recognition of National Occupational Therapy Month. Kathi Van Hall, Alicia Woodham, Cindy Franz, Germaine Shroeder, Holly Carlisle, Patrick Hopkins and Sharon Smith (shown from left). Not shown in photo is Belle Spangle.

“We’re proud to have such a dedicated and compassionate staff of OT practitioners,” said Holly Carlisle, manager of the hospital’s physical and occupational therapy departments and the PARC Fitness and Rehabilitation Center. “Our team of occupational therapists enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.”

Occupational therapists focus on whatever tasks or activities are meaningful to the individual. Their solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors. Through these therapeutic approaches, occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments (e,g., home, school, or work) and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive. It’s a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and best practices that have been developed and proven over time.

For more information, call 828-837-7777, or visit the hospital’s website at

Celebrating Our Volunteers

In observance of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, Murphy Medical Center will be honoring their volunteers with a picnic at the hospital’s outdoor pavilion on May 17.

“Our volunteers are a priceless treasure for patients, their families, and the hospital staff since opening in 1979,” said Director of Volunteer Services Mary Carol Campbell. “These caring people give back to their community by volunteering to help people during their most difficult time.”

Five of Murphy Medical Center’s 140 volunteers gathered to begin planning for the May 17 appreciation picnic. Michelle Nerney, Marilyn Brown, Kathryn Gamble, Mary Lutz-Karvonen and Carmen Markham (shown from left)

According to Campbell, 140 hospital volunteers donated over 17,000 hours to help patients and hospital staff last year. Volunteers serve in many hospital departments, assist hospice patients and families, and operate the hospice thrift shop, Granny’s Attic.

“Many volunteer opportunities are available at Murphy Medical Center, and volunteers are encouraged to choose a schedule that is convenient for them,” Campbell added. “The volunteers’ enormous contributions enable the medical and clinical staff to provide better care for patients.”

Anyone interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Murphy Medical Center may call Mary Carol Campbell at 828-835-3667.

Hospital Honors Health Care Providers

Murphy Medical Center physicians and allied health staff were honored April 6 at a reception culminating National Doctor’s Day activities.

The celebration also paid tribute to Dr. Michael Rohlfing and Dr. Terrence Doan, both retiring after over 40 years of combined service.

“Murphy Medical Center and the Board of Directors are proud to recognize our health care providers for their continued service to our community,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mark Gilbert.

To honor America’s physicians, President George Bush signed a proclamation in 1991 designating March 30 as National Doctor’s Day.

“More than the application of science and technology, medicine is a special calling, and those who have chosen this vocation in order to serve their fellowman understand the tremendous responsibility it entails,” begins the proclamation. “Referring to the work of physicians, Dr. Elmer Hess, a former president of the American Medical Association, once wrote: “There is no greater reward in our profession than the knowledge that God has entrusted us with the physical care of His people. The Almighty has reserved for Himself the power to create life, but He has assigned to a few of us the responsibility of keeping in good repair the bodies in which this life is sustained.”

Murphy Medical Center is a not-for-profit, private healthcare organization serving a seven-county area in western North Carolina, northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. It offers inpatient and outpatient services, physician services, nursing home care, and home health and hospice care. Since opening in 1979, Murphy Medical Center has expanded to meet the healthcare needs of its rural community and offers a spectrum of healthcare services that benefits its patients in all stages of their lives.

There are currently over 90 physicians and allied staff members associated with its healthcare operations located in Peachtree, Murphy and Hayesville, NC.

For additional information, call (828) 837-8161 or online at

Murphy Medical Center physicians and allied health staff join the hospital’s Board of Directors for the recognition dinner at the Hackney Warehouse in Murphy on April 6. Roderick Kuwamoto, PA-C, Ann Rymer, CRNA, James Portwood, PA-C, Jeffrey Peacock, PA-C, Teresa Heavner, MD, Henry Meinecke, MD (seated from left), Chief Medical Officer Mark Gilbert, MD, Michael Reynaud, CRNA, Board of Directors member David Hilton, David Alvarez, MD, Kathryn Blocker, MD, Paul McAuliffe, CRNA, Brittney Portwood, PA-C, Michael Nerney, MD, Terrence Doan, MD, Jeffrey Martin, MD, Brent Davis, MD, George Heilner, MA, Daniel Stroup, MD, Board of Directors Chair Tom O’Brien, Brian Mitchell, MD and Kevin Cormier, MD (standing from left)

Hospital Recognizes Health Information Professionals

Murphy Medical Center joined The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in honoring health information professionals during
the 28th annual Health Information Professionals Week, March 26 – April 1.

“During AHIMA’s Health Information Professionals Week, our goal is to raise awareness that health information management professionals are the best equipped to understand health data and turn information into knowledge that powers better decision making,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon. “HIM professionals understand the volumes of health data and information being generated, and they know how to manage it and what it is saying.”

Murphy Medical Center’s Health Information Department manager Debbie DeHart said, “Our staff of fifteen HIM professionals has a combined 179 years of service. We strive to provide and maintain health information that is accurate, accessible, secure, and available to the right person when needed. We are proud to recognize our Health Information staff for their experience, commitment and outstanding service to our local communities.”

For additional information, contact Debbie DeHart at (828) 835-7596 or visit the hospital’s website at

Murphy Medical Center’s Health Information staff gathers in recognition of Health Information Professionals Week. Crissy Raxter, Doris Campbell, Debbie DeHart, Misty Craig, Sandra Lands, Emily Moore, Misty Hall, Carla Radford, Susan Phillips, Elaine Morgan, Barbara Insalaco, Michelle Frazier, Jill Hamby, Ginger Anderson and Renee Studley (shown from left)

Hospital Honors Certified Nurses

Murphy Medical Center joined healthcare providers across the country on March 19 to recognize Certified Nurses Day.

“Nurses choose to achieve professional certification because they believe the public deserves the best in health care,” said Teresa Bowleg, Murphy Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer. “There is a demand for experienced, highly-skilled Registered Nurses (RNs) who possess the depth and breadth of knowledge necessary to deliver complex patient care.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA), the largest nursing organization in the U.S., and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) proposed March 19 as Certified Nurses Day to honor the birthday of the late Dr. Margretta Madden Styles.

Dr. Styles architected the first comprehensive study of nurse credentialing in the 1970s. She then pioneered the development and implementation of standards and credentials for nurses. A driving force behind the creation of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), Dr. Styles advanced nurse certification services and programs across the U.S. and abroad.

“Preparation for certification improves the nurse’s ability to care for acute, chronic, or critically ill patients,” Bowleg added. “Murphy Medical Center’s administration and leadership team are proud of these RNs for going above and beyond to improve the care they provide to patients.”

Board Certification of nurses plays an increasingly important role in the assurance of high standards of care for patients and their loved ones. Nursing, like health care in general has become increasingly complex. While a Registered Nurse (RN) license provides entry to general nursing practice, the knowledge-intensive requirements of modern nursing require extensive education, as well as a strong personal commitment to excellence by the nurse.

Eleven of Murphy Medical Center’s thirty-five certified nurses shown outside the Peachtree hospital. Monique Matheny, Trudy Brackett, Amanda Norton, Holly Norris, Kathie Cornwell, Sheila Rodgers (front row from left), Rebecca McClure, Kammy Neal, Paula Watson, Ashley Stiles and Katie Gore (back row from left). Not shown are Julie Yonce, Kathi VanHall, Barbara Cruse, Jill Crapse, Kim Hogan, Michelle Reisberg, Marsha Coleman, Kelly Roberts, Diane Dockery, Audrey Hughes, Dianne Jackson, Stefanie Moral, Sherry Popular, Wendy Spiva, Stephanie Forbess, Katrina Blocker, Jan Partin, Laura Hughes, Marji Ferrell, Janet Shively, Connie Ensley, Vonda Boone, Cheri Pinner and Maria Pearce

Volleyball Team Donation Is A Win For Local Breast Cancer Awareness

Murphy High School’s varsity volleyball team presented a record-setting check for $4,000 to Murphy Medical Center on February 20.

Funds raised through t-shirt sales, gate admissions and community sponsorships will help support the hospital’s breast cancer education and awareness programs in our communities.

“We wanted to do something to help those locally whose lives have been changed by breast cancer, and Murphy Medical Center was our first choice,” said Nikol Watson, Murphy High School volleyball coach and physical education instructor at Murphy Middle School. “We’re proud that this donation is our largest to-date, and want to thank everyone who helped make it possible.”

According the American Cancer Society, breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and most easily treated. Therefore, it is very important for women to follow recommended screening guidelines for detecting breast cancer at an early stage.

When breast cancer has grown to a size that can be felt, the most common physical sign is a painless lump. Sometimes breast cancer can spread to underarm lymph nodes and cause a lump or swelling, even before the original breast tumor is large enough to be felt.

“Murphy Medical Center is strongly committed to breast cancer awareness, through our educational programs and training resources,” said Paul Brown, Radiology Manager at the Peachtree facility. “We’re very thankful for this generous donation from the volleyball team, and for their support of our breast cancer programs.”

In addition to educating the community on the importance of early detection, Murphy Medical Center has programs to provide mammograms and follow-up visits for those unable to afford the services.

For additional information regarding breast cancer prevention and treatment, call Murphy Medical Center’s Radiology Department at (828) 835-7540 on online at

If you’d like to support the activities of the volleyball team, please contact Nikol Watson at (828) 837-0160.

Murphy High School’s varsity volleyball team presents a $4,000 check to Paul Brown, Murphy Medical Center Radiology Manager (shown center), Aubrey Clapsaddle, Abby Carder, Alana Cook, Emma Stroup, Katlyn Stiles, Jessica Beckner, coach Nikol Watson, assistant coach Amanda Johnson, Caitlyn Irwin, Hailey Thompson and Leighton Brown (shown from left). Not shown in photograph is Shelby Shore.

Hospital Introduces Telehealth Remote Monitoring For Patients

Murphy Medical Center now provides an innovative care program for its Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice patients.

The program, free to Good Shepherd patients with qualifying medical conditions, places Honeywell HomMed remote monitoring equipment in participating patient’s homes to keep track of their blood pressure, weight, pulse and oxygen levels.

Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice Telehealth Program Coordinator Connie Hernandez demonstrates the Honeywell HomMed remote monitoring unit to Deena Collins, Murphy Medical Center’s Community Relations Coordinator (from left)

Once the system is placed in the home, patients follow on-screen instructions from the unit, guiding them as they stand on the connected scale, attach the blood pressure cuff and blood-oxygen levels sensor to their fingertip. Their vital signs are recorded in under ten minutes and automatically sent via telephone to Good Shepherd each morning to be monitored by a nurse. If there are notable changes in these numbers, the patient’s physician is immediately notified.

“People like being at home, and the last place they want to be is in a hospital,” said Teresa Bowleg, Chief Nurse Executive at Murphy Medical Center. “Telehealth monitoring focuses on prevention. This technology can assist the care team in determining the health status of a patient before an emergency situation occurs, helping reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

Remote monitoring of patients in their homes provides nurses the ability to review trends and assess the current plan of care with their medical provider. The nurse and provider work collaboratively to determine the need for medication adjustments or the need to be seen by the provider or home care nurse.

Patients with congestive heart failure, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, hypertension and any other illnesses that requires daily monitoring of blood pressure, pulse, oxygenation or weight, stand to benefit most from the Telehealth Program.

Benefits of the program are many; reduced patient anxiety, increased communication with Good Shepherd and their physician, early problem detection and decreased hospital visits.

“I think the biggest benefit to the patient is self-awareness of their health,” said Connie Hernandez, Telehealth Program Coordinator. “It helps patients understand how their daily statistics affect their overall well-being. Those numbers tell a big story, especially to the medical profession.”

For more information about Good Shepherd Home Health & Hospice’s Telehealth Program, please call (828) 837-1197, or visit online at

Hospital Recognizes Cardiac Rehabilitation Week

Murphy Medical Center is helping reduce the potentially devastating effects of heart disease through a campaign of public awareness, education, and exercise programs.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Week is recognized February 12 – 18, and coincides with both Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month in an effort to draw greater national recognition to heart health.

“We’re here to serve, educate and help our participants recover from a recent heart attack, open heart surgery or other heart event,” said Nicole Mallard, program director at the Peachtree facility. “We’re also equipped to help those with pulmonary disease manage their symptoms and make daily activities less taxing on their bodies.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, claiming approximately one million lives annually. An estimated eighty-five million Americans have one or more types of heart disease.

The cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs at Murphy Medical Center are certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). The programs implement dietary and stress management education to modify risk factors, and provide monitored exercise programs on treadmills, stationary bicycles, and recumbent cross-training machines.

The hour-long sessions are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with flexible times to accommodate most people’s schedules. Program participation requires a referral from a primary care physician, cardiologist or pulmonologist.

After completing 36 sessions of the cardiac rehabilitation program, Mallard cited the patient’s mortality rate is typically decreased by 47%, and their chance of having another heart-related incident is less than 30%.

“If the participant’s insurance does not cover rehabilitation, or they have a high co-pay, we offer a very affordable out-of-pocket program,” Mallard added. “It’s $69 per month, and provides participants the same level of care as those whose insurance covers the program’s costs.”
The new rehabilitation facility, which opened in June 2016, is located next to the hospital’s Professional Building located at 4048 E US Hwy 64 Alt. in Peachtree.

For further information call the Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department at (828) 835-7615, or online at

Cardiac rehabilitation program participants Nancy and Eddie Board (shown center) work with Sarah Payne and Nicole Mallard at Murphy Medical Center’s rehabilitation facility (shown from left)

CRNAs Provide Safe and Effective Anesthesia Care for Every Patient

In recognition of their profession’s commitment to exceptional patient care, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) at Murphy Medical Center and across the country celebrated the 18th annual National CRNA Week, January 22-28.

Established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), National CRNA Week was created to encourage CRNAs to take the opportunity to educate the public about anesthesia safety, questions to ask prior to undergoing surgery, and the benefits of receiving anesthesia care from nurse anesthetists.

“Murphy Medical Center’s team of anesthetists has over 56 years of combined service to our community,” said department manager Ann Rymer. “We have a team of capable, dedicated professionals who pride themselves in providing the best possible care for our patients.”

Rymer cited the hospital’s approach to preoperative care which helps put patients at ease before their surgical procedure.

“Outpatients come in before their surgery day to review their health history with their CRNA – using that opportunity to discuss various anesthesia options,” she added. “Using this approach, a patient can make an informed decision and experience less stress by knowing what to expect.”

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, five ways CRNAs make a difference every day include:

1. Safety First: CRNAs are highly trained anesthesia professionals who safely administer approximately 43 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States, according to the AANA 2016 Practice Profile Survey.

2. Rural America: CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services. In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals.

3. Military Presence: Nurse anesthetists have been the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines since WWI. Nurses first provided anesthesia to wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

4. Practice Settings: CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons and pain management specialists; and more.

5. Cost-Efficiency: Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies. The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps control escalating healthcare costs.

For additional information, please call Murphy Medical Center at (828) 837-8161 or visit online at

Gathering in recognition of National CRNA Week are Murphy Medical Center’s team of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Paul McAuliffe, Will Cowan, Kim Cowan, Ann Rymer and Sean Reynaud (shown from left). Not shown in photograph is CRNA Cheryl Bartlett