I’m excited to shine this week’s highlight on someone who has a complete “focus on his team, rather than upon himself”. A true leader always prioritizes others’ interests and needs before their own, combining the strengths of individual team members to act as one toward a greater goal. Author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, said “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

This week’s Hugh Chatham Way Highlight focuses on someone who leads by example and whose team demonstrates true resilience and unity with one main objective – providing exceptional care, as ONE. Join me in celebrating Cardiopulmonary Director, Tommy Testerman, a humble servant of his people, Hugh Chatham, and our community.

The Hugh Chatham ICU Team shared a consensus view: “Tommy is very compassionate about his job and he is a team player. He goes out of his way to help and is always there when we need him. His clinical skill is exceptional, and he is an incredibly hard worker. Best of all, he always has a smile on his face!”

Monica Keener, Interim ED Clinical Nurse Manager, continued by saying, “​Tommy is a wonderful respiratory therapist. He is a huge advocate for patients and treats everyone with the utmost respect. Tommy is always willing to give advice or just be a listening ear. I am thankful that he is on our team here at Hugh Chatham!“

Tommy and our Cardiopulmonary Team exemplify an “all-for-one-and-one-for-all” spirit with each patient encounter. They showcase our core values of Service, Teamwork, Accountability, Respect, and Safe Care (STARS) at all times; particularly during the complex treatments, difficult conversations, and most recently, in battling COVID-19 on the front lines.

Thank you, Tommy, for encouraging and inspiring your team. And all of us!


Q & A with Tommy

How did you come to Hugh Chatham?
11 years ago, I started with Hugh Chatham. I had been a student through Wilkes Community College and worked under Wendy Tripplett. This was the only place I wanted to be; I started, and I never wanted to leave.

How do you and your team exhibit STARS?
Every day my team puts 140% on the table; they are up there early and respond to every call. They really care about the patients, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. They show initiative and drive. We all work together, and our motto is that ‘nobody goes off the floor until everyone is off the floor.’ We are the definition of a team, and I think they are all-stars.

What are your clinical interests?
I love intensive care, critical care, and being in the thick of it. What I love more than anything is taking care of patients and talking with them about their lives and interests. The other day I had a conversation with a patient who is the ice cream man for his community and hearing his stories and love of Christ, made my think to myself, “This is an amazing human being.”

There are some times I wear a Braves cap and patients will bring up the hat and trigger a conversation. I love when I meet with a Philly or Mets fan because they always give me a hard time and it brings a smile to my face.

What do you like to do for fun?
I love to spend time with my fiancé and daughter. I enjoy watching my daughter play soccer. As a family, we love to hike and travel. We really enjoy family trips, and my fiancé is an avid videographer, so she captures our memories. My fiancé and my daughter are my whole world.


Tommy Testerman was nominated by Mary Blackburn.