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Published on May 13, 2020

McNeill awarded SeHealth’s highest nursing honor

Tess McNeill

Southeastern Regional Medical Center Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse Tess McNeill was honored as Southeastern Health’s 2020 Baker Nurse of Excellence Tuesday night, May 12. McNeill was named as this year’s honoree during a virtual ceremony hosted by the organization’s Professional Growth Council as part of National Nurses Week.

“Tess is the perfect example of what a leader should be,” wrote the anonymous coworker who nominated McNeill for the award. “She not only provides excellent care, but she also plays a vital role in making the ICU an excellent work environment.”

McNeill lives in Lumberton with her husband, Justin. She has worked for SeHealth since 2016 in the ICU at SRMC as well as in various other nursing departments as needed.

“Being a nurse allows me to help those in need and possibly be the difference in life or death for some patients,” said McNeill. “It requires more than advanced knowledge and skillset. It also takes patience, dedication, respectfulness, and reliability. I am honored to be a nurse and to have the ability to make such a positive impact in my patients’ lives.”

In addition to McNeill, the other 2020 finalist nominees were: Merita Bullock, Marsha Davis and Mary Ivey. The winner was selected by a panel based on nomination applications submitted by peers as well as interviews.

Past Baker winners are Don “Jake” Jacobs, 2019; Deborah Peterson, 2018; Sharon Smith, 2017; Cynthia Kinlaw, 2016; Tammy McDuffie, 2015; Elizabeth Moore, 2014; and Melissa Britt, 2013.

The Baker Nurse of Excellence Award was established in 2014 through an endowed gift by Stephanie and Wil Bass of Clayton, NC. The award is named in honor of Stephanie’s late grandparents, Dr. Horace Baker, Jr., a surgeon who was a member of the medical staff at Southeastern Regional Medical Center, and his wife Dorothy, a former Army nurse. Dr. Horace Baker Sr., Bass’ great-grandfather, was founder of the Baker Sanatorium in 1921 which later merged with Thompson Hospital to form what was known as the Baker-Thompson Memorial Hospital in Lumberton in 1946. These two older facilities were replaced by a new hospital known as Robeson County Memorial Hospital in 1953 which later became Southeastern Regional Medical Center.