Smithfield Herald

Johnston Health names May ambassador

Johnston Health has named its May ambassador. She’s Mary Britt of Newton Grove, a patient-care assistant in the emergency department at Johnston Medical Center in Smithfield.

The ambassador program recognizes employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. Criteria include the employee’s effort in delivering quality care, customer service, teamwork and contributions to the financial strength of the health care system.

One of Britt’s most important tasks is to do EKGs right away on patients whose symptoms could indicate a heart attack. She takes her cues from a nurse at the registration window, who assesses patients as soon as they arrive.

An EKG, or electrocardiogram, records the electrical activity of the heart. The diagnostic test is a quick, inexpensive way to screen patients for the most serious type of heart attack. On a typical shift, from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m., Britt does about 40 of the tests.

“Her diligence, day in, day out, has made a difference,” said Johnston Health chief executive Chuck Elliott, who presented her with the award. “She is a vital asset to the department.”

The Johnston Medical Centers in Smithfield and Clayton are accredited Chest Pain Centers, which means they have in place the processes to quickly assess, treat and – if necessary – transfer patients who need stenting or other procedures to open a blocked artery and restore blood flow to the heart.

Typically, about three patients a month arrive at the emergency department with an active heart attack.

Britt started out six years ago as one of the emergency department’s unit secretaries. She later earned her certification as a nursing assistant. In addition to helping care for patients, she also assists with secretarial tasks.

Britt said she enjoys working with patients and helping them feel better.

“Mary’s compassion for patients and families shows in her care,” said Kim Langston, clinical director of the emergency department, “She takes the time to comfort them in their time of need.”

Britt grew up in Mount Olive. She and her husband, Allen, have a 2-year-old daughter, Lela Pearl.