Davie Medical Center strives for compassion and excellence

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Meredith Ratledge

Word Master Media Group

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center in Bermuda Run includes an emergency department, outpatient surgery, orthopedics, occupational and physical therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation facilities, among a host of other services.

But the medical center provides more than routine medical care; its staff is committed to fostering a culture of compassion and excellence.

Central to Davie Medical Center’s success is its team and culture. Lori Koethe, chief nursing officer and campus administrator, speaks passionately about the employees at the Davie campus.

“I’ve been in healthcare for over 30 years, and this place has the most solid culture I’ve ever been a part of,” she said. “When I first started interviewing for this position, what I heard from the first person I talked to the minute I got here, was about the Davie Medical Center culture.”

Koethe feels that their team sets them apart as a healthcare provider.

“It’s a pleasure to come to work,” Koethe said. “People really care about what they do, and it reflects in the care they provide our patients.

“I think a lot of what drives that is that many of our teammates live here in this community – so they’re taking care of their neighbors. So, it’s important to them to go above and beyond to ensure people are cared for, and not just physically, but giving them the best experience possible.”

Davie Medical Center has garnered numerous accolades, including being ranked among the top hospitals in the state for joint replacement surgery. They’ve also achieved high patient satisfaction scores, particularly in the emergency department.

HealthgradesAmerica recognized Davie Medical Center as the Top 5% in the Nation and one of the 100 Best Hospitals for Joint Replacement for four consecutive years (2021-2024). They are consistently recognized with five-star ratings according to the Healthgrades system:

• Five-star recipient for total knee replacements (2021-2024);

• Five-star recipient for total hip replacements (2021-2024);

• Five-star recipient for spinal fusion surgery (2023-2024); and

• Five-star recipient for treatment of sepsis in 2024.

It has received five consecutive A’s in the Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Grades. This reflects the hospital’s ongoing commitment to providing safe and high-quality care.

In the past two years, Davie Medical Center has been named a Top General Hospital by Leapfrog, a Best Hospital in America by Money, and a Top Patient Pick by Business North Carolina magazine.

Even as volume has grown, the hospital has maintained high levels of satisfaction. The medical center went from about 17,000 visits to its emergency room in 2017 to over 28,000 visits in 2023.

“It’s really great to hear we have a pretty good reputation out there,” said Koethe, “because we take that really seriously, and our team prides themselves on taking care of this community.”

“We’re always looking at what we can do better to serve the community,” Koethe said.

“We’re constantly looking at what makes sense to be in Davie County. When you’ve got a full-service tertiary care center just a few minutes down the road, we want to think about what makes sense to bring into this community.”

Koethe noted several wins in the ongoing alignment with Atrium Health and, more recently, Advocate Health, namely, their ability to expand services.

“We’re continually expanding – we just added another minor procedure room, six additional medical beds and are planning to bring infusion services. We are aligning our medical records with the greater Atrium Health Southeast market to make healthcare more accessible and seamless.”

Davie Medical Center is committed to nurturing future healthcare professionals, which is made evident in its involvement with students and partnerships with local community colleges. The center believes in exposing students to healthcare careers early on.

“We love to bring students in to shadow our teammates and expose them to healthcare careers. Our nursing educator and talent acquisition teams go to job fairs in the high schools and local colleges to encourage students to think about college as well as a healthcare career.”

Davie Medical Center provides opportunities for high school and college students to shadow, train, intern, and ultimately find employment at the facility.

The center participates in Camp Med, a summer camp offered to Davie High School health science students.Camp Med is a program provided through a partnership between local school systems, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Northwest Area Health Education Center. The camp enables DCHS students interested in healthcare to get hands-on experience and observation in real-world medical settings and network with healthcare professionals.

Davie Medical Center also works with students in nursing programs offered at community colleges like Davidson-Davie Community College (DDCC), Forsyth Tech and Mitchell Community College, hosting them on campus for clinical rotations and internships.

In partnership with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, DDCC created a Registered Nurse Apprenticeship program, which helps students achieve nursing certifications while getting on-the-job training with an employer.

The Leap to RN program offered in partnership with DDCC was the first of its kind in North Carolina.

The program enables aspiring nurses who obtain Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certification to receive Registered Nurse (RN) degree within 24 months, expediting the traditional 36-month timeline to achieve an RN. The program is made possible through training at both Davie Medical Center and Lexington Medical Center.

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist and DDCC announced their expansion of the Apprenticeship Program in 2022 to incorporate other focus areas such as Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Licensed Practical Nursing, Pharmacy Technology, Central Sterile Processing, Surgical Technology, and Nurse Aides, making it the largest healthcare apprenticeship in the state.

Koethe highlighted Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s partnership with DDCC’s EMT program, taught on-site at Davie Medical Center. By teaching the course at the Davie campus, students have access to all of the real-world tools at a paramedic’s disposal.

“We have nursing students here almost every day from the different colleges doing their clinicals, Monday-Friday. We work very closely with their clinical instructor to get them more experience. Even if they’re not physically taking care of people, we might get them into the operating room to watch a surgery. And then we try to recruit them when they graduate.

“I think having those relationships with the colleges is a good process. We give feedback on what we’re seeing – to the clinical instructor who works with all of the colleges, whether that’s a ‘you’re preparing them appropriately for the real world’ versus ‘maybe we need to incorporate certain experiences.’”

Richard McDaniel started volunteering at Davie Medical Center while attending DCHS. sA 2023 graduate of Davie High, he was admitted straight into the Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) program DDCC offers in collaboration with NC Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), which he began in August of 2023.

McDaniel is part of the NA to RN (NAvigate) Program at the hospital and became the first NA to RN Apprentice to also enter the RIBN Program at DDCC. After completing his associate’s degree in nursing free othrough the IGNITE DAVIE College Promise Program (ID), he will transfer to NC A&T and enter the bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) program.

“We love working with Richard – he just fits in here well. He’s got a great sense of humor, and he’s a hard worker,” said Koethe.

Koethe said most of the Wake Forest Baptist chief nurses serve on the student advisory boards for nursing at DDCC, Mitchell, and Forsyth Tech.

“I also think our nursing summer internship program is great because students come and they get to function like a nurse for six or eight weeks and get a couple of experiences. The students have a preceptor, or a seasoned nurse, by their side, who has ultimate responsibility.

“I think it’s good for the students to have that exposure to see jobs and what they want to do. And it’s always good to see someone go through their training because you get an idea of what their niche might be – what they might enjoy, how they’re going to progress,” she said.

Koethe said they’re looking to expand involvement with local students. In partnership with local community colleges, Davie Medical Center anticipates offering additional apprenticeship programs in laboratory services and radiology. They’re also interested in starting a volunteer program for high school students.

“I cannot stress enough how important our community colleges are as our pipeline for our new talent. They’re great partners with us.

“We hope to get to students early and get them excited about healthcare as a great possibility – whether it’s being a radiology tech, ultrasound, or lab. We love having the younger kids here.”

Davie Medical Center became one of the first Employers of Choice with ID. Given their longstanding commitment to supporting Davie students, the partnership was a natural fit for the center.

“We are excited to continue to support our community and Davie County students,” said Chad Brown, president of Davie Medical Center from 2014-2023, when he became president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s south and west areas.

“Ignite Davie has had such a tremendous impact on our students and families, and we are proud to be a partner in continuing this tradition. Investing in the education of our students, especially those interested in healthcare fields, is important to Davie Medical Center. The community has supported and invested in our hospital, so this is an opportunity for Davie Medical to give back,” he said.

“We’re always looking at ways we can partner that are a win-win – ways that get folks interested in healthcare while also taking care of our patients,” said Koethe.

“We’re really proud of what we do here,” said Koethe. “It’s a good feeling to know that your employees are here every day doing a good job and to see our outcomes and the positive feedback we get from the community. Without the community support, we wouldn’t be here,” Koethe said.

“We have now had the pleasure of working with multiple Ignite Davie graduates here,” said Ashley Alderin-Fleagle, RN clinical educator. “We are passionate about offering opportunities for students here in Davie County to learn and grow. Looking towards the future of working with more Ignite Davie graduates is exciting, and we couldn’t be happier to be a part of their journey to success.”

Davie Medical Center offers a range of entry-level opportunities, providing pathways for individuals to embark on fulfilling careers in healthcare.

Certified medical assistants can join the center’s orthopedic and cardiology clinics. High school graduates interested in getting their feet wet in healthcare can explore positions in registration and as patient advocates, as well as in food or environmental services.

If interested in joining the Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Health team, visit the careers page or contact WakeRecruits@wakehealth.edu to learn more.