Libby Carver, DNP, FNP, was named the 2021 Outstanding Nurse of the Year by the North Carolina Nurses Association Triangle Region for her work as manager of the Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) COVID hotline. She talks about this honor and reflects on Women's History Month.
1. Can you explain your role at Duke?
Before COVID, I was a nurse practitioner with Employee Occupational Health and Wellness (EOHW) seeing injured team members, clearing team members for international travel and providing tobacco cessation coaching.
After COVID hit, we needed a communication system and policies. I helped develop protocols for eligibility to work, put together the process for triaging callers in need of COVID testing, worked with the team to develop a database that triggers emails to inform team members and their managers of results and helped implement a way to track COVID vaccine compliance. I helped make sure there were open communication lines from team members to us and then from us to their manager.
I also had 10 years of experience teaching at Watts College of Nursing, so I was still connected to a lot of nurses that I taught previously. I was able to find talent quickly to staff the call center.
2. What inspired you to choose this career path?
I felt a calling to nursing. I wanted a path where I could help other people and have it be both healing for them and meaningful to me. Twenty years into my nursing career I became a nurse practitioner (NP) because I wanted to make an impact in a broader stroke. I got my dream job as an NP in EOHW in 2019 and had just finished orientation when the pandemic hit. There is no question that I was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment in history. Working as a leader in employee health allowed me to be creative and develop my leadership skills as we implemented policies to keep over 44,000 team members safe at work.
3. What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Before COVID, the most rewarding part of my job was tobacco cessation coaching. People reach a point where they want to make a positive lifestyle change and just need a little help. I like to help people move from a smoker that wants to quit to a non-smoker that occasionally wants to smoke but doesn't. It's rewarding to pass someone in the hallway at Duke and they tell me they're still not smoking.
During COVID, I found it rewarding to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to build a nursing team from scratch. We have assembled an all-star team that can implement new policy changes in an instant. The work culture we have created makes me proud and each of our team members goes above and beyond for our Duke team every day.
4. What made you decide to take on the critical role of establishing and managing the EOHW COVID line?
We had a small team in EOHW and we quickly realized that we needed a tremendous amount of help from outside our department. I'm good at recruiting people, so my colleagues looked to me to get the call center up and running.
5. You were recently named Outstanding Nurse of the Year by the NC Nurses Association (NCNA) Triangle Region for your work as manager of the EOHW COVID hotline. What does this recognition mean to you?
It was an overwhelming surprise to be recognized by my professional organization with this tremendous honor. I believe that every nurse in NC should be a member of NCNA so that we have one collective voice. There are thousands of nurses that deserve recognition for their work during the pandemic and I'm humbled to even be nominated. I appreciate NCNA and all they do to advocate for and recognize the work of NC nurses. This award will no doubt be one of the highlights of my career.
6. What does Women's History Month mean to you?
Women's History month is special to me because it gives us an opportunity to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history.
7. If you could have dinner with one woman, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
I would choose Princess Diana because she was such a beautiful person inside and out. She is a legend who helped so many people through her charitable work. She not only gave money and resources, but she also rolled up her sleeves and helped the homeless, disabled and those living with HIV/AIDS, especially children.
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