Safety is not just a priority here at Hugh Chatham – keeping our people and our patients safe is our passion. This week’s Hugh Chatham Way Highlight nominee protects our facilities, team members, and patients with an uncommon depth of expertise, poise, and dedication. Emily Peterson, we are grateful to have your experience, knowledge and relentless focus supporting our team here at Hugh Chatham.

Director of Plant Operations and Emily’s supervisor, Brent Slate, stated “Emily is on top of things and aware of what is going on around the hospital. She is very responsive to the needs of staff, patients and visitors.” Mary Blackburn, Chief Clinical Officer, continued by saying “Emily and her team are a vital part of patient and team member safety every day. Emily brings a quiet, calming, and focused response to each actual or potential situation. Her ability to de-escalate, artfully engage in a tough conversation, and her personal commitment to our core value of Safe Care is an incredible asset to Hugh Chatham. I appreciate her sense of accountability, and willingness to collaborate with clinical leaders and staff to ensure the safest care environment possible. Her passion for Service is to be emulated! ”

Amanda Atkinson added, “Emily is a natural “people person.” She can assess a situation quickly, rapidly implement a solution, and do so with compassion. Extraordinarily, Emily almost always is able to successfully de-escalate a tense situation using the least proportionate response. For her, every day is a good day when, at the end of it, her people (both patients and staff) are safe.”

In the words of Susan Cain, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Emily does that incredibly well, and we are extremely fortunate to have her on our team here at Hugh Chatham!

– Paul

Q & A with Emily

Tell me how you got started at Hugh Chatham?
“I was initially involved in law enforcement, and Craig Golden was the supervisor for Hugh Chatham at the time and a class behind mine. He offered me a part-time role, and I lived here by myself, and I didn’t know many people. I picked up the position for fun, and I fell in love with it. I ended up stopping law enforcement and switching to working at Hugh Chatham full time.”

What led to your passion for security and law enforcement?
“I have always been protective; I was one of 8 kids in my family. I have always been the one to make sure everyone is doing what they should and ensuring everyone is safe. When I moved to NC, God opened up the doors and my path led to law enforcement. In my previous roles, I taught at a Christian school, worked in construction and multiple other things. Law enforcement isn’t what I was initially involved in. My interest in security and law enforcement was based on the opportunity to prevent instead of just react. The more involved you are, the more you can prepare before something bad happens.”

What are some of your responsibilities?
“It has looked different since I have been a supervisor. When I started I worked with everyone in the ER and assisted with behavioral health patients much of the time. Now, I take calls and make myself familiar with everyone so that I know if something is wrong. It is a family thing; if they know you, they trust you. My remaining time is spent scheduling and communicating between different departments. I want everyone to be confident in their ability and the more we know, the more prepared we are. If you aren’t prepared, then you are set up to fail.”

Do you have any tips to de-escalate a situation?
“I heard a few years ago to use “Don’t forget to use Q-Tip.” which means “quit taking it personally”. It makes a big difference if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and are in control, and it is easier for people around you to keep control. If you lose control, how can you expect the other person to control their own emotions? It doesn’t mean I am always good at it, but I know that if I can control my emotions and keep myself from taking it personally, then I can de-escalate the situation.”

What are some things you like to do for fun?
“I generally love all things outdoors, and I love Bible Study. I am super involved in the Bible Studies at the church and with our youth group. I love hanging out with the kids and trying to get them excited about the Bible. My favorite Bible verse is Jude 1:24-25, “Now unto Him that is able to keep you* from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever**. Amen.”

“I also love hanging out with my brother – he is amazing! When we’re together, we do things like bowling or going to the movies.”


Emily Peterson was nominated by Kent Thompson.