May 3, 2019

Michele Pilon: The Nurses of Transylvania Regional Hospital: Creating Positive Outcomes through Expertise, Commitment to Safety and Dedication to Patients

Michele PilonBy Michele Pilon
Chief Executive Officer, Transylvania Regional Hospital

Typically, the blossoming of spring is in full effect in western North Carolina during the month of May. This is also the month when we get the chance to recognize the caring professionals who make Transylvania Regional Hospital (TRH) what it is: A facility where patients receive the most advanced care, rooted in evidence-based practice and delivered with a sizeable dose of heart and soul, thanks to our nurses. Their work is pivotal to our being named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital for four out of the last five years.

The care TRH’s nurses provide shapes our patients’ – and their families’ – experiences every day. When we refer to “positive outcomes,” it’s important to think about what that really means, and how accountable nurses are for creating them. We’re proud that 33 of our nurses hold advanced certifications in a wide range of specialties, including, but not limited to, OR (operating room), ER (emergency room) and critical care certifications. We also encourage and support our nurses as they seek additional training in many areas, from diabetes education to oncology. We want to help our nurses grow their careers in the ways they want, because a more engaged nurse workforce ultimately benefits our patients.

TRH’s most valued and important stakeholders – our patients – have also made their voices heard regarding our nurses. Our most recent inpatient Overall Quality (OQ) and Likelihood to Recommend rating is an impressive 78 percent, while the TRH emergency department earned an 80 percent score for Likelihood of Recommending and Overall Quality. The Likelihood to Recommend score for our outpatient services, which include minor surgery, radiology screenings and lab testing, is 82 percent and the outpatient services area earned an excellent Overall Quality score of 84 percent. Our rate of hospital-acquired infections is currently at the remarkable count of zero, an achievement that is undeniably exceptional, and that we can surely attribute in great part to our nurses.

I also want to highlight our nurses’ contributions to enhancing TRH’s relevance in our community and beyond. They allow our neighbors to get the “close to home” care they deserve and our clinics to be referral mechanisms to the hospital so care remains in our community. We do outreach outside of Transylvania County by providing care to the Highlands-Cashiers community. For example, one day a month one of our surgeons performs colonoscopies for patients at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital, and our nurses are there to assist with the procedure, as well as deliver pre- and post-procedural care. In addition, they represent TRH at community events, and they volunteer at churches, schools and community agencies.

TRH’s nurses build trusting bonds with their patients, care for them with an extraordinary blend of competency and emotional intelligence, and serve as bridges between patients and other clinicians who treat them. The numerous critical roles they play in patient care make them simply indispensable throughout the care continuum.

If you can, take a moment this month to think about a nurse who has made a difference in your or your family’s life. Even better, write them a note or tell them what their care has meant.

Michele Pilon, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Transylvania Regional Hospital. Her diverse professional experience includes service as a bedside nurse and over a decade as a leader at healthcare institutions in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. Ms. Pilon earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Ohio’s University of Akron and a Masters in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in Illinois; she is also a Board-Certified Nursing Executive.