Vidant Beaufort team member receives Respiratory Care Award

Published 2:21 pm Monday, July 13, 2020

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There are many attributes to an excellent health care professional — patience, empathy, skill and judgement. Being an advocate for patients is high on that list of attributes and can many times make the difference on a patient’s experience. Literally giving her patient “voice” was just one of many ways Deborah McGhee, respiratory care practitioner, goes above and beyond in providing care to her patients at Vidant Beaufort Hospital.

On Wednesday, McGhee was presented with the PHIL award by Alene Payne, manager of Respiratory Care at Vidant Beaufort Hospital. The PHIL Award was established by the FACES Foundation to recognize outstanding respiratory therapists who provide care and treatment for patients with respiratory illness. Vidant Health recognizes two PHIL Award winners each year — one from Vidant Medical Center and one representing the Vidant regional hospitals. Deborah was named as the regional recipient. This is the third-consecutive year that the regional award has been received by a Vidant Beaufort team member.

McGhee was nominated by Payne for the honor. Payne shared that she had originally planned to nominate McGhee for this honor based on the many notes and comments of gratitude received from patients for the wonderful care McGhee provides. It was when Payne had to opportunity to work a night shift in late December with McGhee that she was able to witness the best example of McGhee’s embodiment of the PHIL Award criteria.

During that shift, Payne recounted how she observed McGhee connect and advocate for a patient with a tracheostomy in need of a trach replacement. McGhee quickly recognized how valuable a Passy Muir speaking valve would be for the patient to allow her to talk with her tracheostomy.  McGhee quickly took the appropriate steps to obtain and place this valve for her patient allowing her the ability to verbally communicate with her care providers. Needless to say, the patient was overjoyed at being able to speak. The patient’s parting words to McGhee stated it best: “Thank you for letting me talk again! I love you, Deborah!”

McGhee was extremely surprised and humbled upon being named as a PHIL Award recipient. She stated, “I’m so thankful and blessed to have this honor.” Vidant Beaufort Hospital is proud of the work that she and her fellow respiratory therapists do to provide excellent care to our patients and honored to have yet another PHIL Award winner on our respiratory care team.

Vidant sponsors two PHIL Awards each year, accepting nominations from patients, family members, visitors or colleagues.

Vidant Health is a mission-driven, 1,512-bed health system that annually serves more than 1.4 million people in 29 eastern North Carolina counties. The not-for-profit system is made up of more than 13,000 employees, nine hospitals, home health, hospice, wellness centers and Vidant Medical Group, a multi-specialty physician and provider group with more than 500 providers in more than 90 locations in eastern North Carolina. Vidant is affiliated with The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. As a major resource for health services and education, Vidant has a mission to improve the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. For more information, visit

The FACES Foundation was created in 2006 to acknowledge and promote professional excellence in the education and care of patients with life-threatening pulmonary illness. The PHIL Award honors the unsung heroes in the respiratory therapy profession who understand that each breath matters.