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Honoring the Strong Bond of Nursing

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Rilee Hughes has always trusted Lisa Patton. Lisa has been a pediatric nurse at Holston Medical Group’s pediatric office in Kingsport for 17 years, around the time that Rilee started as a young patient in Dr. Joe Ley’s practice. The two formed a quick bond and Rilee’s trust only grew.

WJHL video interview - Lisa PattonWJHL VIDEO: Lisa Patton – Nurse

Lisa’s kind-hearted bedside manner and compassion helped turn her from Rilee’s nurse into a friend.

Years later, when Rilee was pregnant with her first child, there was no question about where to find the right pediatric office for her son Quill to be a patient.

Nurse Lisa Patton, Rilee and baby Quill

“Lisa has always been there anytime I have a question, a concern — she’s never once had made me feel like a nuisance,” Rilee says. “I really just consider her a friend.”

Building those strong relationships with patients is a keystone for HMG nurses, who are here through it all. This is why patients, co-workers and the community take time every May to celebrate nurses during National Nurses Month.

“It’s important to know that your patients trust you and they can count on you, while you’re there for them in their time of need,” Lisa says.

Connections of the Heart

Understanding what’s going on in a doctor’s office can be confusing or scary at any age. However, Lisa helped make every one of Rilee’s visits a positive one and gave her a solid foundation for a positive patient experience. Lisa showed respect for Rilee as she grew up, and allowed her to feel heard in her healthcare journey. The pair celebrated life successes together, as well as worked through life’s challenges.

“They listen to me when I have concerns and celebrate with me when we reach new milestones,” Rilee says.

It’s such a special moment to see the kids that we take care of go on to be parents, and then be trusted to take care of their kids. It’s always a treat to see how they turned out and how things are with their families.Lisa Patton

Now as Rilee navigates the waters of being a new mom, she can depend on her strong relationship with Lisa to help her through all the ups and downs. Lisa embraces the sense of responsibility that comes with caring for the children of parents who were once her own patients.

“It’s such a special moment to see the kids that we take care of go on to be parents, and then be trusted to take care of their kids,” Lisa says. “It’s always a treat to see how they turned out and how things are with their families.”

When Quill was sick recently, Rilee took him to the hospital. She found it challenging to communicate with the hospital staff as she worked to answer questions and describe the issues that her son was facing. Her first instinct was to call the nurse who had guided her through all of her previous medical fears.

“I called Lisa, and within minutes, she and Dr. Ley spoke to the staff at the hospital, and we were taken care of,” Rilee says. “We have a relationship — I know them, and they know me.”

Compassion & Care at Every Milestone

Lisa, who has been a pediatric nurse for 25 years, joined the family business when she decided to pursue nursing. Her mother and sister also work in healthcare, and Lisa was drawn to helping children.

Each day, Lisa and her fellow nurses provide care to their pediatric patients for everything ranging from wellness visits to kids sick with their first bouts of the flu. Nurses deliver shots, verify weights, and ensure that children grow and maintain good health.

Lisa Patton holding baby Quill

However, there are more than 3 million nurses in the U.S. today, and many are facing a two-front assault of burnout and discrimination. A recent study revealed that 34% of nurses say that they are very likely to leave their jobs by the end of 2022.

Lisa says that despite the challenges she faces as a nurse though, which were heightened by Covid-19 restrictions and changes, she powers through because of her compassion and passion for her patients. She has learned that no two days are the same. “Getting to see new people, new faces and new lives brought into the world is one of the things I love about being a nurse,” Lisa says. Now that many of the changes enacted during Covid have returned to normal, Lisa says it is a treat to see the faces of patients again and how they’ve changed over two years behind masks.

Lisa added that she has quickly adjusted to changes in technology and takes pride in learning something new about her patients and healthcare every day. That wealth of knowledge is also what creates so much confidence and trust in HMG nurses from parents — and patients — like Rilee.

As most new moms do, Rilee focuses on how Quill is growing through his milestones. She asks questions and never hesitates to call on Lisa for her compassionate advice.

Her lifelong relationship with Lisa and Dr. Ley’s office only enhances the trust she feels when she communicates with her healthcare team.

Dr. Ley and Lisa Patton
Lisa has been a pediatric nurse at HMG’s pediatric office in Kingsport for 17 years, around the time that Rilee started as a young patient in Dr. Joe Ley’s practice

“Lisa has always been there anytime I have a question or a concern,” Rilee says. “There’s no one else I’d rather have caring for my son than the team who was there with me through it all as I grew up.”

Show Nurses that You Care, Too

Patients who have similar relationships with their HMG nurses are encouraged to show appreciation for that strong bond through the “Walk Like a Nurse Challenge.” By pledging to walk 16,390 steps in one day — the same number that nurses track in a single shift — patients can honor our nurses.

If you choose to join, share your journey on social media and call out your favorite HMG nurse who has been with you through it all. Tag others to participate and join the challenge.

Then, reach out and thank the nurses who have shown compassion on your health journey. This is a chance to show nurses how much they are appreciated this National Nurses Month and all year long.