Paul Lutus, NASA engineer and referenced “Apple Writer” (known for being the first to create a successful word processing program for early Apple computers), said this about adaptability, “The most successful people are those who accept and adapt to constant change. This adaptability requires a degree of flexibility and humility most people can’t imagine.” We have many team members at Hugh Chatham who live by this concept. Congratulations to the team member at the center of this week’s Hugh Chatham Highlight, Vascular Access Nurse, Megan Beamer, who has gone above and beyond to meet the needs of our patients throughout the recent surge and with her leadership in opening our new Ambulatory Specialty Department.

Along with other infusion therapies, the Ambulatory Specialty Department provides monoclonal antibody treatment to high risk patients affected by the COVID-19 virus. This type of specialized care, delivered by Megan and her team, decreases the risk of COVID-19 patients developing worsening symptoms or being intubated.

Amanda Green, LPN, who was hired by Megan, remembers her first encounter very clearly. “When I joined Pre-Op, Megan was so family-oriented and personable. She made me feel right at home, and a part of the Hugh Chatham team.” Jan Dinkins, the Clinical Case Coordinator for Surgical Services, quotes, “Megan is a go-getter! She is doing a wonderful job with her new department.” Kim Welborn, Director of Surgical Services, continues by saying, “Megan continues to ‘rock it out’ as a nurse leader at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.”

Although small in number, Megan’s Ambulatory Specialty Department team has implemented valuable change by understanding the needs of our community and rapidly responding by introducing a service line to meet those needs. With every patient encounter, this team exemplifies the Hugh Chatham Way through Service, Teamwork, Accountability, Respect, and Safe Care (STARS).

Thank you, Megan, for accepting the challenge and inspiring your team, and all of us, to do the same.

– Paul

Q & A with Megan

How did you come to Hugh Chatham?
At that time, I had been a nurse for five years, and there was an open position for an operating room nurse. It was definitely something I was interested in, so I took a leap of faith and came to Hugh Chatham. It has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have been in nursing for 16 years and have been here for 11 of those years.

What are your clinical specialties?
Vascular has my heart (pun intended). I love surgical services, and it will continue to have a great impact on my nursing career. The reason is due to the sterility, and the fact that there are no grey areas. I love that aspect of nursing, and it helps with vascular. The infusion clinic and taking care of monoclonals, keeps patients out of the hospital. That is our duty and purpose.

What inspired you to create the antibody treatments?
Mary Blackburn reached out to me regarding short staffing issues, and we were already doing transfusions and infusions. I have always looked for opportunities to grow the department. We started with PACU staff and the Ambulatory Services team and began with four bays. We completely flooded it, and it was too much. We then moved the department downstairs which made it a more fluid transfer, treating ten patients at a time. I think we have treated around 400 patients, and if we kept 10% from being admitted to the hospital, I think that’s incredible. We now have five-bay area in our new department and we recently overflowed it with 13 patients at one time.

It has been great, and the patients have been incredible. We have a great time listening to music and our patient’s mental health concerns. Whatever their diagnosis, we want them to have a good time and create a holistic experience by healing their bodies and souls.

How do you and your team exhibit STARS?
That is our foundation! Service – We are a community hospital, and we want to grow it. We developed monoclonal antibody treatments because our community had a need, and people were coming from as far as Greensboro and Lexington. The outreach has been tremendous.

Teamwork – There is not any job or assignment that I would give my teammates that I personally wouldn’t do. Before they leave I make sure to ask, “are you good?” and “do you have everything you need?” because that is how we communicate; “If you are good, I’m good.” They know that I am always a phone call away even if I am not working. We depend on each other.

Accountability – Our job is to always improve the care we provide by looking out for our patients and their needs. We’re their advocates and and that shows our accountability.

Respect – Not only do we respect our patients, but we are expected to respect our team and everyone in the hospital. Even if someone is a bit on the shy side, I encourage them to greet people in the hallways and look them in the eye. You never know if someone is having a rough day. There is not one job that isn’t our job, even cleaning toilets. When Materials and EVS were slammed, we took it upon ourselves to clean the bathrooms in the new department. EVS helped guide us through the cleaning and it turned into a great teaching moment.

Safe Care – Again, we want to make sure everything is right for each and every patient. Sometimes you have to take your personal feelings out of it. We have to do what is best for the patient’s future.

What do you like to do for fun?
We are a combined family with six kids. So, as you would expect, long naps. Just kidding!

We enjoy gardening and flowers; we just started a lavender farm. We have about 35 acres that we really weren’t doing anything with, so we decided to plant 160 lavender plants with different varieties. In the long term, I hope that children will be able to go on field trips to the farm and learn about healthy insects that help with pollination.

I enjoy cooking and sitting with my family near the end of the day. Even if it is muffins, we all sit down as a family to eat and have a minute of “the good things that happened during your day”. We like to end on a happy note, and I learned that from Mary. My family, gardening, and cooking are what I like to do for fun.


Megan Beamer was nominated by Mary Blackburn.