Meet our OEAA MidAtlantic Winner: Laura Honeycutt

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Laura Honeycutt was inspired to be a nurse at an early age. As a child, she spent her Sundays watching her grandmother tend to patients, always with kindness and compassion.

Years later when her grandmother’s husband was in hospice care, she saw first-hand how nurses not only care for patients but also for their family members in a time they need it most.

“They made all the difference in how my grandmother and her husband were taken care of,” she said. Honeycutt’s grandmother has since passed away, but her impact on Honeycutt is still prevalent. “I have my heavenly angel looking down on me, and hopefully she’s proud of me for being a nurse.”

Honeycutt is a registered nurse at Quillen Rehabilitation Hospital, a joint venture of Ballad Health and Encompass Health, in Johnson City, Tennessee. During her two years with the hospital, she’s made a great impact, so much so that she was recognized as the 2021 Outstanding Employee Achievement Award winner for the company’s MidAtlantic region.

Quillen CEO Rob Adams said Honeycutt never passes a patient call light, and she is always quick to help others, whether it’s a fellow nurse, therapist or other staff member.

“Leadership is a big word, but Laura genuinely, truly lives out the meaning of it,” he said. “She is always the first to help others. Her heart is in everything she does.”

A ‘Grade A’ Team Player

During the height of the pandemic, Honeycutt gladly filled in when there were staff shortages and served as a relief supervisor. That’s one of the reasons Nursing Supervisor Jessica Salters describes her as a “grade A” team player.

“She leads by example,” Salters said. “Everybody knows to go to Laura if you need something. She steps up as a relief supervisor and covers shifts when we have a staff shortage. She’s grown tremendously since she started with us.”

Honeycutt began her nursing career at an acute care hospital. After two years in the rehabilitation setting, she said she knows it’s where she belongs. “I really enjoy the relationships we get to build here,” she said. “You get to know the patients during their stay.”

Building Relationships

Honeycutt said she works hard to live out the Encompass Health value of leading with empathy. Lynn Langan, chief nursing officer, said it’s obvious she does just that when caring for her patients.

“Laura is so approachable,” she said. “If you see her one-on-one with her patients, she brings this energy and really gets to know them.”

Langan said Honeycutt is always one to step up and go above the call of duty and her job responsibilities. Former patient Angie Maupin knows this first-hand. When Maupin was in a car accident, Honeycutt and her husband were leaving church. They heard a crash, and without question, Honeycutt went to help. Weeks later, Maupin was a patient at Quillen under Honeycutt’s care, though initially, she didn’t know it was Honeycutt who had stayed with her and cared for her as they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

“All I remember from the time of the wreck is hearing this angelic voice; she didn’t have to stop and help us, but she did,” Maupin said. “When I was at Quillen, she asked me if I was in a wreck, and then I knew she was the angel that took care of us. The entire staff at Quillen is wonderful, but Laura is just a step above.”