Outer Banks Hospital Selects Debra Johnson Employee of the Month

When was the last time you knew someone who worked for one company all of his or her life? The days when folks dedicated their careers to “Big Blue” or “Ma Bell” have almost disappeared. But not entirely. Debra Johnson, Director of Laboratory and Respiratory Therapy at The Outer Banks Hospital, is one remarkable exception. July 11th marked her 26th year with University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina, which includes her eight years with The Outer Banks Hospital.

As The Outer Banks Hospital’s Employee of the Month, Johnson was cited for setting high standards and goals for both herself and the 24 employees she supervises. Her departments focus on customer service and safety and are among the first to volunteer to assist with community events. Johnson is a team player who has the hospital’s best interest first and foremost. Judy Bruno, Vice President of Clinical Operations, noted that Johnson strives for excellence in patient care. “Debra continues to develop new ways to expedite services,” she added. “She leads, supports, and encourages her departmental teams as well as her colleagues. Under her guiding influence, others flourish.”

Johnson graduated with a BS in Medical Technology from California University of Pennsylvania, was offered a bench tech position in the chemistry laboratory at Pitt County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) and moved to Greenville, North Carolina, fresh out of medical tech school. In her 19 years at PCMH, she worked her way up the clinical ladder to Senior Tech IV and finally to Assistant Manger of the chemistry laboratory. Along the way, she completed her Masters in Adult Education at East Carolina University. “The laboratory profession has provided me with many opportunities,” Johnson said. “I feel blessed.”

In her 26-year career, Johnson has experienced major changes in the way the laboratories operate. “Technology has made a huge difference,” she said. Larger labs are now moving toward computerized automation as an avenue to handle larger test volumes in a more efficient manner. Advances in technology require further specialization of medical technologists beyond chemistry, hematology, microbiology and transfusion medicine into areas such as DNA and molecular testing. These are exciting times within the profession. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”