Destined to lead

Alisha Hutchens achieves lifelong dream in motivating hospital staff

Behind every doctor and nurse at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center stands a wide variety of dedicated team members behind the scenes, doing everything from preparing meals to performing ministry. Alisha Hutchens has a hand in helping them all work together as one.

Hutchens is vice president of professional and support services at Forsyth Medical Center. She oversees the many departments and teams that keep the hospital operating seamlessly: engineering, radiology, environmental services, nutrition, spiritual care, laboratory services, rehabilitation and more. To say she’s busy would be an understatement. When thinking about each department she leads, Hutchens smiles.

“I really enjoy it,” Hutchens said. “I switch gears often throughout the day, and I have to be very dynamic in my leadership role, working with a diverse group of departments and individuals.”

In many ways, she’s prepared for this role her whole life. Hutchens always knew she wanted to work in healthcare. As a young girl, there were several severe illnesses in her family. She remembers going to the hospital with her mother on numerous occasions.

“It had a really big impact on me and the path I wanted to take,” Hutchens said.

From then on, her dream began to take flight. She envisioned herself not as a doctor or nurse but in a leadership capacity. “At a very young age, while all the other children were in their rooms pretending to be teachers, I was pretending to be a female leader in healthcare,” Hutchens said.

She maintained drive in her education, earning a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in healthcare management and her MBA. She served several years in the supply chain and procurement arm of Novant Health before being promoted to her executive role in 2016. Her passion for coaching others remains to this day.

“I love motivating people and I love watching a body of people from very diverse backgrounds, diverse roles coming together for the common good, to take care of our patients and the community,” Hutchens said.

When COVID-19 presented her team with challenges, Hutchens was proud of how her staff lifted patients, families and each other up. She believes her job is to translate customer service into extraordinary care.

“We’re one team,” Hutchens said. “When one team comes together and we all roll up our sleeves to do what’s best for a patient, the result is remarkable care.”

Support from the greater Winston-Salem community has been equally meaningful over the last year, for which Hutchens is grateful.

“One of the most impactful things for me was the number of times I would come in and out during the day and see sidewalk chalk outside our team member and guest entrance,” Hutchens said. “Church groups, nonprofits and volunteers would leave such uplifting messages for our front-line workers. The community has really rallied around us to let us know we’re not alone, and that’s been very special.”

In her free time, Hutchens enjoys advocating for the American Heart Association. She recognizes the impact of cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death of women. Several years ago, her husband lost a cousin named Dale to cardiovascular disease at a young age. The family’s response inspired her to get involved.

“Still, many years later, his parents go out, tell his story and work with the local school systems to advocate for the American Heart Association,” Hutchens said. “They are such strong supporters, especially his mom. She is a warrior fighting for the cause several years after his passing. If they can do that, then I owe it to them and to all women to do what I can to support this cause.”

Hutchens considers it an honor to work in healthcare and inspire her team members to be the best version of themselves.  

“It’s part of who I am,” Hutchens said. “I believe I am meant to do this and I absolutely enjoy it. It’s really rewarding.”

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