JCMC, Sycamore Shoals Hospital team members receive Servant's Heart Awards


Four Johnson City Medical Center (JCMC) team members and a Sycamore Shoals Hospital leader have received 2014 Servant’s Heart Awards, Mountain States Health Alliance’s highest honor.

The award was given out this year to only 11 people out of Mountain States’ more than 13,000 team members, leaders, volunteers and affiliated physicians. JCMC’s Candace Mink, Dr. Sandra Brooks, Richard Blevins and Marie Gough were recipients, along with Sycamore Shoals Hospital CEO Dwayne Taylor.

The Servant’s Heart Award honors team members, volunteers and medical staff members who model the philosophy of patient-centered care. Mountain States introduced the Servant’s Heart Award in 2004 for team members and in 2006 for medical staff members. They are recognized and nominated by their peers for exemplifying the meaning of being a caregiver.

Candace “Candy” Mink, a rehab nurse at JCMC, has spent 29 years with Mountain States and built a reputation for truly taking care of patients and their families and making sure the patients are in control of their care.

She’s known for her positive, therapeutic attitude when interacting with Mountain States team members, patients and families. She encourages patient and family participation and listens to their concerns when planning their care.

One patient who suffered a brain injury would not remain in bed and Candy brought the patient to the nurse’s station to sit and talk with her while Mink documented patient cases. She frequently educates family members on medical issues and helps them to better understand the patient’s overall medical condition. Often she calls family members to update them on patient status to help relieve anxiety and reassure families.

Mink, a certified rehabilitation nurse, is also considered an excellent resource for new team members and serves as a preceptor to most new team members.

Dr. Sandra Brooks, a pathologist who serves JCMC and Indian Path Medical Center, is part of Watauga Pathology and serves as medical director for Indian Path and for the Mountain States Cancer Care lab at Kingsport.

She has been with Mountain States for 22 years. Brooks has served on numerous Mountain States, Washington County and Medical Staff boards and committees and is very giving of her time and talents to better the organization and improve patient care. Brooks is known for her passion for patient safety and for challenging the status quo in order to further patient safety.

She has served as interim chief medical officer at both facility and system level and as chief of staff for JCMC and is a member of the Mountain States board of directors as well as chair of the Washington County Board of Directors. She serves on the MSHA Board Quality Committee.

A fellow team member wrote that Brooks “is always mentoring us lab techs. If we have a problem or make a mistake, she is never harsh and always tries to make it a learning experience and builds us up instead of cutting us down. She also puts the patient and their test results as the most important thing. Period.”

Marie Gough from JCMC has delivered helpful service and created relationships through her work on the JCMC Information Desk for more than 50 years. She has volunteered 20,000-plus hours of service to JCMC.

For decades she has greeted people, provided information to the patients’ family and friends, located wheelchairs for those in need, and notified the proper department if a safety issue exists that she cannot handle herself such as spills or falls.

Gough for many years was also the go-to person for training new volunteers on the Information Desk. Her leadership was instrumental in strengthening the JCMC volunteer program by helping facilitate the merging of Red Cross volunteers into the JCMC Auxiliary. She was a permanent member of the JCMC Auxiliary Board of Directors, serving as Red Cross chair for the Auxiliary for at least 20 years.

Gough is very active at First United Methodist Church. She plays the piano for the Kiwanis Club every Wednesday, bringing music therapy to all members and guests. For many years she also chaired the Red Cross volunteer groups and was active with the local Red Cross.

Richard Blevins, RN, Diagnostic Imaging Clinical Coordinator at JCMC, is known for his friendly smile and positive attitude toward everyone, regardless of the obstacles or frustrations that come along.

He has been known to travel to other facilities to assist in specialized procedures to prevent the patients from being transferred to JCMC. For example, an elderly woman at Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital desperately needed an IV in order to have a procedure. Blevins traveled to Quillen where he successfully started her IV. This prevented the patient from having to be transported to JCMC just to have the IV started.

Within the past year, one of the nurses who reports to Blevins brought her terminally ill mother to the Emergency Department. Due to the mother’s acuity, no one was able to start an IV, which she needed. The nurse called Blevins on his day off and he immediately changed into his scrubs, traveled to JCMC and was able to start the IV, which provided medications to give some relief to the patient.

Dwayne Taylor, vice president and CEO at Sycamore Shoals Hospital, is known for being easily approachable, having a great sense of humor and demonstrating high ethical standards and a strong commitment to the hospital, physicians, team members and the patients.

It is not uncommon for Taylor to meet with family members when there are concerns or complaints and spend time and energy making their hospital stay better. He is willing to listen, give feedback and help the patients feel they have been heard. He can be seen cooking hamburgers for a staff picnic, walking the halls of Sycamore Shoals Hospital and routinely rounding on patients and families.

While there are many accomplishments at Sycamore Shoals in the name of Patient-Centered Care – healing gardens, music programs, and work on the environment for patients, families and physicians – one of the most recent accomplishments Taylor fostered was the installation of the red light at the hospital entrance. This effort took nearly 10 years and solved what was a huge safety issue for patients, visitors and team members entering and exiting the campus.

Taylor has been a lifelong member of the Elizabethton community and an active member of the Rotary Club and a past board member of the Chamber of Commerce. He is a supporter of team member community involvement and a strong voice for the United Way, even taking a pie in the face for a fundraiser. He is a very active band booster for the Elizabethton High School Cyclone band.

In addition to those listed above, other 2014 winners were:  Angela Osborne, Helen Burkett and Dr. Michael Patrick from Smyth County Community Hospital, Marion, Va.; Ron Domst and Dr. Steve Sikora, Johnston Memorial Hospital, Abingdon, Va.; and Marlene Compton, Norton Community Hospital, Norton, Va.


NOTE: For downloadable photos of your local Servant’s Heart Award winners, click on the links below.

Richard Blevins, JCMC: https://msha.box.com/s/u4yybc85nn3zla4dlcbe

Marie Gough, JCMC:  https://msha.box.com/s/vniswrg7tc2u5v53gb4q

Dr. Sandra Brooks, JCMC: https://msha.box.com/s/t6l59b2n02pcd71ynu11

Candy Mink, JCMC: https://msha.box.com/s/ouensstp7g8q2u3fdy19

Dwayne Taylor, SSH: https://msha.box.com/s/youe8t9k9dtbdjsaxvwy


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