• 79°

Local nurse gives Novant patients a smile with badge buddy

By Shavonne Potts


SALISBURY — When a nurse, doctor, or other hospital personnel smiles these days it’s hard to tell from behind the masks that they wear throughout their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sometimes patients just want to see a smile from medical staff indicated Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Registered Nurse Katie Lyerly. Lyerly, who typically works in the orthopedic unit, created a “badge buddy” for a few co-workers that included a message to patients and a picture.

“It was for our patients but also for our co-workers because we also haven’t seen each other smile in a while because we wear our masks around each other,” Lyerly said.

She said a smile behind the mask is not quite the same.

Lyerly typically works in the orthopedic unit, but that unit is now operating as a medical-surgical (med-surg) unit that takes care of patients with a wide variety of medical issues or patients who are recovering from surgery.

She’s made between 15 to 20 badge buddies for a few of her immediate co-workers and her siblings, who work in other parts of the hospital. Lyerly is one of a set of triplets and has made the badge buddies for some of her siblings’ co-workers as well.

The idea, in part, came after Lyerly recalled what a patient said about not being able to fully see the staff.

In the beginning, the patient had been used to seeing the faces of the staff and then everyone he subsequently was in contact with wore a mask.

“He just told me, ‘I just miss seeing everybody’s smiles,’ ” Lyerly said.

The badge buddy has been used by the hospital to explain previous campaigns to patients. But it had never been used to display a picture of an employee and include a personalized message to patients.

Lyerly said she saw the idea via a nursing Facebook group page where a Wilmington nurse had created a similar badge buddy and her thoughts went back to her patient who said he missed seeing hospital staff faces.

The response from staff and patients has been positive, Lyerly said, with one patient noting that, “it’s nice to see what you look like.”

She said in that moment she “didn’t realize what the rest of your face can say about you.”

Lyerly said she’ll continue to make more because everyday people still ask her to make them one.

Lyerly said if others ask her to make them one, she’ll continue to make more.



Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road


Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business


Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges


Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting


Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest


N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding


RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest


Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction


Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured


Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12


Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September


Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers


Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners


Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs


Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers


Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class


Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow


States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes


Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack


NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line


Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting


People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%