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The Guardian Angel of NHCCP

By: Madison Marcantel, NHCCP Public Affairs , 
Published: 4/20/2018 12:13 PM

CHERRY POINT, N.C. (NNS) -- Naval Health Clinic Cherry Point's (NHCCP) Breast Care Coordinator, Michelle Miller, has been recognized as a 2017 Nurse to Watch by the American Health Council.

According to their website, "The American Health Council's 'Nurses to Watch' are truly a cut above the rest. From small town clinics to major metropolitan medical centers, these nurses and educators exhibit the qualities that define the benchmark for their specialty."

Miller is a seasoned nurse with 34-years experience. She is NHCCP's breast care coordinator, where she's responsible for the continued care of up to 50 patients at any given time. Miller is also at the helm of the clinic's breast cancer awareness efforts by organizing clinic and community events such as NHCCP's annual Breast Cancer Awareness month and the annual Breast Cancer 5K each October.

Miller is a graduate of East Carolina University where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degree in nursing. Her diverse experience as a nurse was fueled in part by her 27 years of service in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a captain in the Nurse Corps. This provided her with leadership and administrative skills. But Miller counts her five years as NHCCP's breast care coordinator as the position most influential to the nurse she has now become.

"Being in the military I had a dual role as a nurse and as an officer," said Miller. "But my time outside the Navy has broadened my horizons and led to countless opportunities for patient care that the "younger lieutenant me" wouldn't have thought possible."

Previously stationed at NHCCP, Miller returned to Cherry Point after she retired and settled down in New Bern with her husband of 29 years, Eric.

"I've always had a passion for women's health," said Miller. "And even after I left NHCCP, I felt compelled to return to this area," said Miller. "Perfect timing led me to this job back in 2013 and I'll be forever thankful of that."

During her time at NHCCP, Miller has impacted the lives of countless women who've been the recipients of her compassionate care as she coordinates procedures and follow-up appointments, and above all else, advocates relentlessly on their behalf.

Kathleen Shine was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 when she was 45 and has been a patient of Miller's since her first mammogram.

"Michelle always made me look at the positives, keeping me focused on being a survivor," said Shine. "I think she's best described as a guardian angel; her whole heart and soul goes into her work to help and love each and every single one of her patients, showing us an amazing amount of love and support."

Being recognized as a nurse to watch for patient care marks the first time Miller has received such an accolade, and she was stunned when she discovered she'd been nominated. Although Miller is unsure who nominated her, she is thrilled to land a place amongst America's red-letter nurses.

Retired Navy Capt. Angela Nimmo, NHCCP's former commanding officer, has been a close friend of Miller dating back through their naval careers. The two served together as lieutenants and again, at NHCCP.

"Michelle is the most dedicated, loyal and compassionate advocate," said Nimmo. "She truly represents what nursing is all about."

Miller's recognition for her outstanding patient care has honored her and further encouraged her strive to excel in nursing. "I truly believe the saying that nursing is the most trusted profession," said Miller. "It is fundamental to a healthy society."

Even in cases where she has to tell patients their biopsies are positive for breast cancer, Miller remains a light to all she encounters and continues to stay positive.

"Witnessing the invasion of breast cancer into a patient's life has been heart-breaking," said Miller. "Observing those same patients take control of their health and emerge stronger, both emotionally and physically, however, has made me love what I do.

"What sets nursing apart, to me, is having compassion for patients, acting with integrity, being a patient advocate, being transparent with patients," Miller said. "These are the most important things to me and the basis of many values I hold dear."

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