2023 Servant's Heart Award Winner
Nellie Arrowood, telemetry technician at Unicoi County Hospital, has been with the hospital since 1990, and goes about her work with a passion to serve others.
She began as a certified nurse assistant (CNA) and held numerous roles before taking her current position. As a telemetry technician, she monitors the heart activity of patients in the emergency department and in the medical/surgical unit.
Nellie has an instinctual ability to monitor the other kinds of “hearts” of those around her, too. If she hears a child in distress while receiving care, she’s there with a video game to provide calmness and distraction, allowing the nurse and doctor to successfully complete their procedure. Team members say she has a sixth sense and perception for those who are heavy-hearted, and she routinely lifts the spirits of hospital leaders, team members and physicians who’ve had a difficult day.
"Nellie’s impassioned desire to serve others spreads positivity though her compassion, faith and love wherever she goes."
Nellie also relishes mentoring new CNAs and nurses and providing encouragement and guidance as they begin their own healthcare careers. She even helped train her niece, who she raised as a daughter, as a CNA.
Additionally, as a member of the Unicoi County Hospital Leadership Council Committee, Nellie has been involved in developing “Pay it Forward” outreach events in Erwin and Unicoi as a way to “pay forward” the many kindnesses from the community to healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the initiative has offered drive-by/pick-up lunches for law enforcement, appreciation baskets to the Unicoi County Animal Shelter, teacher supply baskets for elementary schools and care packages for the military ship USS Georgia.
Also actively involved in the Unicoi County Relay for Life team, Nellie helps organize monthly fundraisers for the American Cancer Society. At her church, Higgins Chapel Baptist Church, she’s deeply involved in ministries to the youth and widows. And she became involved with the Alzheimer’s Association after caring for her own mother, who had the disease.
Nellie’s impassioned desire to serve others spreads positivity though her compassion, faith and love wherever she goes. Her colleagues relish the encouragement she provides as she monitors their hearts and spirits, in addition to those of her patients.