Two years ago, as Dotty Kuell and her two adult children were returning from an awards ceremony where she was recognized as one of the state's Great 100 nurses, Kuell's son had a sudden realization.
"You guys really love what you're doing, don't you?" he said.
Kuell and her daughter, a Performance Improvement nurse in an emergency department in Tallahassee, Fla., had to agree that, yes, they share a passion for nursing.
"I think it's a wonderful profession," Kuell says. "It enables individuals to express themselves in so many ways and be creative throughout their careers. There's a place for each person, and you can find your niche if you just look."
Kuell, the manager of the Emergency Department at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, was recently named to the board of the Great 100 Inc., a North Carolina organization that annually honors excellence in nursing.
Since 2003, seven registered nurses at Moore Regional have received the recognition that Kuell herself earned in 2004. In 2005, Nancy Stancil, who works for Kuell in the hospital's Emergency Department, was also recognized.
Other registered nurses from Moore Regional who have received Great 100 recognition are Scarlett Blue (2003); Belinda Pope, Gladys Suggs and Meta Upchurch (also in 2005); and, just this year, Nancy Cameron.
According to Moore Regional's vice president for Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer, Kuell's appointment to the Great 100 board is yet another acknowledgment of the nursing veteran's devotion to her profession.
"For Dotty to be named to the Great 100 Board is a great honor for her and for FirstHealth," Linda Wallace says. "I can think of no one who would make a better board member than Dotty. She actually had the honor of being selected as a Great 100 recipient, and to be on this board now as a member speaks well for her."
A nurse for almost 50 years, Kuell has been the assistant director (manager) of Moore Regional's Emergency Department since 1992.
Before moving to the area in the 1980s, she developed and opened Massachusetts' first Out-of-Hospital Birth Center, an operation staffed by certified nurse midwives; and designed and supervised the construction of a labor/delivery recovery unit, also in Massachusetts.
She has also taught educational classes for obstetrical and pre-op gynecology patients, worked as a public health nurse and volunteered with the Seven Lakes Rescue Squad, where she was the first woman ever elected captain of a volunteer Moore County unit.
A life member of the Great 100 organization, Kuell will serve a three-year term on the Great 100 board, attending quarterly meetings, assisting with a scholarship program and helping organize annual recognition galas.
Best of all, she says, she will be "meeting nurses from all over the state and talking to them."
"I really love to talk to other nurses," Kuell says. "They are a special breed of people."
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