Conway Medical Center Names Annual Starfish of the Year

Written by Ettie Newlands (This story was originally published on February 3, 2016 in The Carolina Forest Chronicle.)

Exemplifying the “fish philosophy” has earned two Conway Medical Center employees starfish of the year awards.

That philosophy of ‘be there, play, make their day and choose your attitude’ are the four characteristics that best define the employee with starfish qualities.

This year, Tina Chestnut, RN, and Nysha Cochran, a sterile supply tech, have earned that recognition.

According to the Fish Philosophy website at http://fishphilosphy.com, which provides the inspiration for the Conway Medical awards, the ‘be there’ part of the philosophy means “Be emotionally present for people. It’s a powerful message of respect that improves communication and strengthens relationships.”

The “play” part of the equation reminds the employee to “Tap into your natural way of being creative, enthusiastic and having fun. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in ‘Let’s play with that idea.’ You can bring this mindset to everything you do.”

The “make their day” aspect of the philosophy means “Find simple ways to serve or delight people in a meaningful, memorable way. It’s about contributing to someone else’s life – not because you want something, but because that’s the person you want to be.”

And the “choose your attitude” part of the fish philosophy reminds the employee to “Take responsibility for how you respond to what life throws at you. Your choice affects others. Ask yourself: ‘Is my attitude helping my team or my customers? Is it helping me to be the person I want to be?’ ”

Chestnut, the clinical starfish of the year, was nominated by her manager, Terri Pickens. “Tina is what an employee of Conway Medical Center should be – caring, compassionate, thoughtful, helpful and friendly even when stressed,” Pickens said about Chestnut.

Chestnut worked on the cardiac floor for about 11 years and has been in the post-anesthesia care unit [PACU] – “Most people call it ‘the recovery room,’ ” she said – for about a year and a half.

Chestnut and her husband Alan, COO of Bo Jangles in Horry County, live in Carolina Forest’s Southgate and have one son, Aaron, who attends Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

Chestnut has known since high school that she wanted to be a nurse. “Watching someone who’s been really sick make a complete turnaround in a few days gives you a kind of a high,” she said.

Along with her patients, her co-workers make Chestnut’s job rewarding. “The girls I work with are absolutely phenomenal,” she said. “It’s such a big team effort. We’re always running to help each other and lift each other up. I’ve never worked with a better group of girls, it’s amazing.”

Chestnut is a member of the Association of Operating Room Nurses [AORN] and is on the board of the coastal chapter. She participates in the clinical ladder program and is on the outpatient education committee.

She and her husband and son work out together at the gym, they enjoy hiking, and they recently vacationed in Italy.

“Tina makes everyone’s day a little brighter by her outlook on life,” Pickens said. “She brings with her an aura of happiness. She makes people smile even when they’re having a rough day. She brings fun with her.”

Nysha Cochran, the non-clinical starfish of the year, has worked at Conway Medical Center for about 15 years. Before moving into her current role, she was housekeeping supervisor.

A Conway resident, Cochran has a 14-year-old daughter. Her life’s first priority, she said, is taking care of her daughter and her father, who recently had surgery.

Cochran, who sterilizes instruments, said she takes pride in knowing that what she does is helping to save a patient’s life.

“I’m the baby of seven, and my parents raised me to take pride in whatever I do,” she said. “I smile every day and I never meet a stranger.”

Co-worker Theresa Richardson, who nominated Cochran, said, “Everywhere she goes, she spreads love and joy to everyone. Her words are, ‘Hold your head up high, and don’t listen to negative things. God has so much more for you.’ ”

Cochran’s manager, Don Misiewicz, said Cochran is always on time and always ready to work.

“She has excellent customer service skills and is well liked by everyone.

“She is very cheerful and always positive,” he said, adding, “She brightens up a room when she enters.”

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