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All Stars 2014

Beth Buse, LMSW

Medical Social Worker

Beth Buse of Saltillo has served as a medical social worker for Hospice since 2005. She originally joined the NMMC staff in 2003 as volunteer/bereavement coordinator for Hospice.

Buse graduated from New Hope High School in Columbus. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Mississippi in 2001 and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Alabama in 2003. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Buse was cited for purchasing supplies to mat and frame a special photo for a patient. She was also recognized for always checking with other staff to see if they need anything delivered when she is traveling their way to see patients. She also made homemade candies for the staff Christmas party, helped a coworker write an article and helped a former coworker create a resume when her job was eliminated.

“What I love most about my job is visiting with our patients in their homes, getting to know the person behind the terminal illness and being able to share in the last steps of life’s journey,” Buse said. “It is a blessing and honor to hold their hand and care for them as God calls them home.”

Buse and her husband Beau have two children, Bennett, 6, and Liz, 4. They attend First Baptist Church in Saltillo. She also serves on the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Lee County Family Planning Council.

Phillip Collins

NMMC-West Point

Collins became a security officer at NMMC-West Point in 2013. He is a 1987 graduate of West Point High School. That same year he joined Union Star Baptist Church, where he serves as an usher and sings in the Male Choir.

Collins joined the Clay County Volunteer Fire Department in 1988. He currently serves as Volunteer Fire Chief for the southeastern section of Clay County, approximately 24 square miles, including a portion of Old Waverly. He completed the Emergency Medical School at the First Responders Academy in Jackson in 2000.

He is always quick to offer his services whether it’s a flat tire that needs changing or a coworker who is sick and needs someone to fill in. On one occasion, Collins noticed that an Environmental Services worker was having trouble washing windows because of their height. Collins washed the remaining windows for the worker. A coworker described him as the epitome of what teamwork is all about.

He and his wife, Tonya, have been married since 2002 and have four daughters and a son. He enjoys hunting, fishing and riding four-wheelers with his family. He also volunteers on the security staff for the Howling Wolf Blue Festival in West Point. He is a potential candidate for the upcoming District 2 Supervisor’s position in Clay County.

Sharon Cox

6 South

Sharon Cox, RN, of Amory serves as charge nurse for 6 South. She joined the NMMC staff in July 2013.

Cox graduated from Itawamba Agricultural High School. She earned her associate’s degree in nursing in 2013 from the Mississippi University for Women and holds TB certification. She was also honored with the NMMC Excellence in Nursing award for Rookie Excellence in 2014.

Once when Cox was visiting a family member in ICU she discovered that 3 South was extremely busy. Without hesitation, she borrowed some scrubs and shoes and reported for duty. She worked almost five hours that night helping a unit that wasn’t even her own.

She was also cited for helping with the hospital-wide pressure ulcer study on her day off. She spent the night in a hotel when icy conditions were predicted so that she could get to work, and on another occasion voluntarily came in on her day off to help during a tornado threat. She was also recognized for helping out on 5 West after working 12 hours on her own unit.

“I love my job because I get to help people who may be going through the most difficult time in their lives,” Cox says. “Sometimes all you have to do is be there and let them know there is somebody who cares and understands. I try to treat everyone as if they were my family. My father was sick last year and was in the hospital a great deal. I treat people the way I wanted my mother and father taken care of when they were here going through the most difficult time in their life."

Cox and her husband Stevie, have four children—Allen Davis, Clayton (Shae) Davis, Bridgett Cox and Brandon Cox—and two grandchildren, Georgia Lynn Davis and Kesley MyAnna Davis. She is a member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

Laura Duryee, RN

Home Health

Laura Duryee of Nettleton works as a registered nurse with NMMC Home Health in Tupelo. Previously she worked in NMMC’s Resource Pool.

A graduate of Shannon High School, Duryee earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College in Fulton. She also holds TB certification.

Duryee was cited for voluntarily taking on extra assignments when her coworkers are busy or felt uncomfortable going into a particular area. She also takes great care to thoroughly inform other nurses who are seeing her patients.

During an assessment of one patient, Duryee found a suspicious mole, insisting the patient see a dermatologist. The mole was diagnosed as melanoma, requiring removal and chemotherapy. In addition to making the initial doctor’s appointment, she called to remind the patient and then followed up afterward. “She is a wonderful, sincere nurse who has made a big difference in my life,” the patient stated.

Duryee was also recognized for her role in securing a low income senior apartment for a patient who was living in an unsafe home.

“The best part of my job is feeling like I made a difference in my patients’ lives,” Duryee said. “I wanted to be a nurse from a very young age, and I can say without hesitancy, I absolutely love my job.
She is married to Jason Duryee and has three children--Damion, 17; Stephen, 11; and Jaycee, 5. They attend Amory First Assembly of God.

Sandra Gordon, RN

Home Health

Sandra Gordon of Booneville works as a psychiatric nurse for Home Health in Tupelo. She joined the NMMC staff in 1980 and worked as an LPN for nine years.

A graduate of Booneville High School, she earned an associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College. She also holds certification in psychiatric nursing.

Gordon was nominated for buying food for at least two patients who had nothing to eat at home. She was also recognized for seeing a patient so his nurse wouldn’t have to travel through icy conditions to do so. She also shares recipes and vegetables from her garden with her patients, as well as brings treats for their pets.

“The best part of my job is the gratification of helping someone else. That’s what it is all about,” she said. “Going into someone’s home and providing the care that they so needed and seeing progress with those patients can be very gratifying.”

Gordon says patients look forward to these visits and will often bake goodies for staff and make them feel at home. “I have my home family, my church family and then I have my patient family,” she said, “and all are wonderful assets to make me a better person for the job that I have.”

Gordon has one son, Drew, and three dogs—Emma, Shiloh and Mollee. She attends Booneville Church of Christ.

Rhonda Lewis, M.S., CCC-SLP

Home Health Therapy

Rhonda Lewis of Amory works as a Home Health speech-language pathologist. She previously worked with NMMC Home Health from 1991-2001, then transferred to Longtown Medical Park, where she worked with pediatric patients at the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department until 2003. In 2007 she rejoined the NMMC Home Health staff.

A graduate of Quitman High School, Lewis earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence and Vital-Stim Certification.

Lewis was cited for arranging her schedule so that she could treat a dysphagia patient in the morning and would buy him whatever he wanted to eat for each session, as well as bring enough for his family to enjoy. She bought a new set of sheets for one patient and purchased necessary supplies for another one who could not afford it. Lewis’ kindness goes beyond her patients, as she was recognized for recommending dysphagia exercises to prevent swallowing problems for a dying patient who did not qualify for her services.

“The best part of my job is helping to improve my patient’s abilities to communicate with others or to be able to swallow safely so that they can eat,” Lewis said.

She and her husband, Jerry, have two children, Carroll (Seth) Lee and Matthew (Blakely) Lewis, and a granddaughter, Hayeslynn. Lewis attends First Baptist Church in Amory.

Erin McKinney

Behavioral Health Center

Rebecca Erin McKinney of Saltillo joined the NMMC staff in 2011 as an RN at the Behavioral Health Center.

McKinney graduated from Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton. She earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Itawamba Community College and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mississippi University for Women. She has training in Crisis Prevention Intervention and is TB certified.

McKinney has been recognized numerous times for her compassion and care for her patients. Whether it’s making sure each patient on the floor had their clothes washed and dried, bringing clothes to a patient who had nothing to wear on her day off or buying snacks and bringing movies for the patients to enjoy, McKinney shows her patients that she cares about them.

“I enjoy doing things for others; it makes me happy to make others happy,” McKinney says. “I know what it feels like to have people truly care, and I want others to feel that.”

McKinney and her husband, Daniel, have three children—Kagen, 13; Hagen, 11; and Simmi, 7. She attends church at The Orchard in Tupelo.

Brandy Riddle

Outpatient Rehabilitation
North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton

Brandy Riddle of Haleyville, Ala., is a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA/L) with the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department at North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton. She joined the hospital staff in May 2011.

Riddle graduated from Addison High School in Addison, Ala. She earned her associate’s degree in occupational therapy in 2005 from Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala. Before joining the North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton staff in May 2011, she worked for Haleyville Healthcare in Haleyville, Ala., and in home health for the LHC Group of Hamilton, Ala.

Riddle always asks if there is anything she can help with, and does it regardless of whether it's in her job duties or not. She will bathe patients, help them to the restroom and answer call lights. One patient could not use the soap at the nursing home because of allergies. Riddle used her own money to purchase soap for the patient to use. On one occasion Riddle helped a mother with twin baby girls who all had pneumonia. Riddle helped the mother get her daughters to
Radiology and helped change and feed the children as well.

“The best part of my job is that I can help my patients succeed despite their adversities.” Riddle said.

She and her husband, Sam, have one daughter, Ava. They attend Moreland New Home Church in Moreland, Ala.

Janice Walker

5 South/Inpatient Hospice

Janice Walker is a nursing assistant on 5 South/Inpatient Hospice. A graduate of Tupelo High School, she joined the NMMC staff in 1993.

Walker is always willing to lend a helping hand. She has been recognized for working extra shifts, purchasing fruit for a patient and buying a live plant for a patient and his wife for their anniversary. She was also honored for helping a hospice family get their vehicle loaded and riding with them to the pharmacy. Upon returning, she made certain everything was in order before leaving the family.

“What I love most about my job is serving my patients and families,” Walker said. “I love the whole Hospice team.”

She had her husband, Charles, have two children—Justin and Jessica. They attend Lane Chapel C.M.E. Church in Tupelo.

Heather Wooley

Med Serve
North Mississippi Medical Clinics

Heather Lynn Wooley of Pontotoc has worked as an admissions/discharge specialist at Med Serve since 2011. Previously she was a unit coordinator and certified nursing assistant at NMMC-Pontotoc.

A graduate of Pontotoc High School, Wooley attended Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. She is currently pursuing her nursing degree.

Wooley was cited for helping the clinic’s nurses by triaging patients to shorten wait time. She also cooked meals for her coworkers on her days off so they would not have to leave for lunch. When a very sick patient came to Med Serve but needed treatment in the Emergency Department, Wooley drove the patient there and told the security officer that the patient’s car would be in the clinic’s parking lot while he was in the hospital.

“I love helping others no matter if they are sick, tired, depressed, happy, sad, in pain, or just need a listening ear,” Wooley says. “It is very rewarding going home and thinking you may have helped someone today!”

“What I love most about my job is getting to help others and my fabulous coworkers,” Wooley said. “We become like family and work as a team to take care of all the patients we see from day to day, as well as each other.”
Wooley loves spending time with her two nephews and niece. She attends Church Street Church of Christ in Pontotoc.