Carol Wolfenbarger: So Many Reasons to Celebrate in May at Mission Hospital McDowell

Carol WolfenbargerBy Carol Wolfenbarger
Chief Executive Officer, Mission Hospital McDowell

You may think that there are no fun holidays in May, but think again. There are actually plenty of reasons to celebrate. National Lost Sock Memorial Day is May 9, National Dance Like a Chicken Day is May 14 and National Macaroon Day is May 31! This month is special for Mission Hospital McDowell as well, and offers plenty of reasons to celebrate.

I’m happy to announce to the community that we just received our Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Certification from The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. This designation is something we are honored to receive, but even more importantly, it means that our community has access to the most advanced and rapid stroke treatment available.

Every second counts in identifying and treating stroke. The hospital underwent a review that acknowledges that we employ stroke care-qualified clinicians, have the capability of performing diagnostic testing for stroke at any time of the day or night, can provide timely clot-busting drugs for patients who require this intervention and have telemedicine access to neurology to orchestrate the care of the patient. This also means that care is initiated in the field through collaboration with McDowell County EMS and that we have the support of and access to a Comprehensive Stroke Center, which Mission Hospital is. We are proud to be able to offer this level of care to our patients, as nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke annually across the US, and stroke is a primary cause of adult disability.

We will also be celebrating cancer survivors this month as we participate in the Relay for Life on May 10. There is hardly a person I meet who has not been touched in some way by cancer – either themselves or a loved one. Relay for Life is about celebrating the courage, strength and resilience of all in our community who have experienced a journey through cancer. You can join the event on Friday, May 10, at 6 pm at Tom Johnson’s Campground. Participants and their supporters can expect an evening of love for cancer survivors and their caregivers with speeches, a moving survivor/caregiver walk and a luminaria ceremony in honor of survivors and in memory of those we have lost, as well as great food, music and other surprises.

Last but never least, we celebrate our care team with National Nurses Week, May 6-12 and National Hospital Week, May 12-18. It needs to be said: Without our incredible nurses and team members, who care for patients and their families with a powerful blend of technical skills and heartfelt compassion, we wouldn’t even exist. Our nurses are second to none when it comes to performing complex medical interventions, mastering the technological tools required to monitor patients, understanding unspoken patient needs and simply holding a patient’s or loved one’s hand, compassionately sharing time and space with them. Likewise, without the complementary efforts of other compassionate and skilled clinical non-nursing team members, such as those in imaging and laboratory, as well as our expert support teams like environmental services, plant operations and patient access, our efforts would flounder.

The Mission Hospital McDowell team proves every day that “Together Is Better!” I am grateful for each of them and celebrate the care they provide to our community.


Mission Hospital McDowell


Carol Wolfenbarger, MSN, RN, FACHE, is Chief Executive Officer of Mission Hospital McDowell. She holds both Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees in nursing administration from the University of Tennessee, is board certified in Healthcare Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Carol, who has served hospitals and health systems for more than three decades, has worked to add full-time cardiology services, led growth in outpatient services including imaging and surgery, and the expansion of primary care offering in Burke County since assuming her role as President at McDowell Hospital in 2015. She is an active member in Rotary and serves as a Board member for the Rutherford/Polk/McDowell Health District Board of Directors, the Corpening YMCA Board of Directors, and the McDowell County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.