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ICU Nurse given ‘Healthcare Hero’ Award

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - For more than a year now, we’ve been heavily leaning on our healthcare workers to help guide us through this pandemic, and this week a local Intensive Care Unit Nurse was honored for her efforts.

Melinda Houston is a nurse and now the Intensive Care Unit Clinical Manager at CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern. It’s a role she was quickly thrown into just before COVID-19.

“I took over for my manager kind of spur of the moment after an injury, so I was responsible for the ICU starting in February, and then the pandemic hit,” said Houston.

But the uncharted waters of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t slow her down. Houston’s colleagues say she went way above and beyond her normal duties to ensure they had enough personal protection equipment, adequate staffing, and even created protocols to keep them safe and able to care for their patients.

“With Melinda’s leadership, we were able to go through the storm pretty easy, and it was much easier than it would have been had we not had policies in place,” explained ICU Nurse Charlie Hill.

Hill is just one of Houston’s staff members that was so impacted by her efforts that they wrote nomination letters to the North Carolina Healthcare for her to be their next ‘Healthcare Hero’ award recipient.

“I figured she would be the first person they would call once they read those letters and saw how much not only was she a leader in the hospital but even in the community. All the things she was doing for the staff, her co-workers and I think that says a lot about her personality and her character,” said Hill.

This week Houston was surprised by her team and the NC Healthcare Association with a medal citing her as their newest Healthcare Hero.

For Houston, the honor was greatly appreciated, but she says it’s not why she shows up to work every day.

“Getting an award is nice, but getting to do what I do every day here with these people that I work with and the patients is far more of a reward than anything I could receive,” said Houston.

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