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Surgery Service


 We are the largest service consisting of eleven unique and dynamic units.  Our team is committed to obtaining the highest level of quality patient care, nursing excellence, customer service and teamwork.  Our units will offer you a wide range of opportunities that are exciting and challenging regardless of what career stage you are in.

Our service bridges the continuum of care between intensive, intermediate and acute levels of care.  The inpatient acute-care areas include: 4 Anderson North (gastrointestinal surgeries), 5 West (abdominal organ transplant, oral-maxillofacial and high risk plastic surgeries), 5 East (acute wound and burn unit), 5 Bedtower (orthopedics and trauma), 6 East (Lower GI Surgery), 6 Neurosciences (neurologic and neurosurgical), and 7NSH (Surgical Oncology and ENT).  Our inpatient critical-care areas include: the Intermediate Surgical Care Unit (a wide variety of surgical procedures, trauma and abdominal transplantation, and neurology), the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (neurological injuries requiring surgery and neurology) and the Surgical Intensive Care Units (a wide variety of surgical procedures, trauma and abdominal transplantation).  The N.C. Jaycee Burn Center provides care to burn victims of every age from pediatric to geriatric with acuities ranging from critically-ill to rehabilitative.     
4 Anderson North – Gastrointestinal Surgeries - Upper GI
Agnes Royal, RN, BSN, BC - Interim Nurse Manager
Nurse Manager
The dedicated team of nurses serving this unique 20-bed Innovation Unit are committed to pursuing excellence in patient care, patient education, and research in gastrointestinal surgeries.  The unit serves as the hospital’s Innovation Unit with a goal of providing better, faster, more affordable care to our patients. We also foster professional growth through collaboration with other health care professionals. Our medical teams are nationally recognized for their cutting-edge surgical procedures and treatments of gastrointestinal disease. We offer an exciting and challenging environment, with opportunities for growth and continuing clinical education.

Strengths: Ours is an environment rich in mutual respect, teamwork, passion and clinical excellence as we serve our patients, their families and one another. An interdisciplinary team approach is used to provide quality care for our patients. We provide an environment that supports personal and professional growth with opportunities to advance up the clinical ladder. 
5 West – Pre/Post Transplantation
Tracy Carroll, BSN, RN, CMSRN
Nurse Manager
We are a 15-bed unit dedicated to caring for patients who require abdominal organ transplantation.  Each year, we perform over 125 kidney, pancreas, and liver transplants.  Care is also provided to medicine patients awaiting transplantation – giving our staff the rare opportunity to care for patients through every step of the journey from pre-transplantation to post-transplantation and recovery.
Our transplant program is certified by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and is one of the most accomplished and dedicated transplant teams in the region.  We strive to improve clinical outcomes through education, research, and clinical medicine.
In addition to abdominal transplant, our staff cares for high-risk plastic surgery patients requiring reconstructive grafts and surgery related to tissue injuries.  These patients have complex wound management needs, which our expert staff manages. 
Strengths:  Our nursing staff works exceptionally well with the interdisciplinary team to provide high-quality and compassionate care to our patients.  We have an outstanding team that is dedicated to doing what is best for our patients, families, and each other.  There are many opportunities to learn and professionally develop within the constantly evolving worlds of abdominal transplantation and plastic surgery.
5 East - Wound and Acute Burn Unit
Brooke Curro, BSN, RN,  CNML
Nurse Manager
We are a 15-bed acute care unit which focuses on the treatment of adult patients with burns and other complex wounds. Our dedicated team of nurses pride themselves in providing high-quality, comprehensive care to the burn patient. We work in close collaboration with the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center to provide a continuum of care for the burn patient from initial injury through to discharge and beyond. We offer an environment that encourages professional growth on the unit and in the organization.
Strengths: Our nursing staff works exceptionally well with the multi-disciplinary team to provide high-quality and compassionate care to our patients and their families. Teamwork is our passion, which translates into high customer satisfaction scores and quality indicators.
6 East - Gastrointestinal Surgeries -Lower GI
Tezrah Garner, BSN, RN, RN-BC
Nurse Manager
This is a 14-bed acute care unit with a dedicated team of nursing staff who are committed to pursuing excellence in patient care, patient education, and research in gastrointestinal surgeries.  Our medical teams are nationally recognized for their cutting-edge surgical procedures and treatments of gastrointestinal disease with an emphasis on the lower GI system.  We offer an exciting and challenging environment, with opportunities for growth and continuing clinical education. 

Nursing skills include central lines, PICC Lines, TPN administration, wound vacs, ostomies, chest tubes, trachs, blood product administration, and drains including Foley catheters, NG tubes, G-tube, J-tube, J/P drains, and rectal drains.  Patient education includes anti-coagulation therapy, use of Incentive Spirometer, drain care, etc.  Nutritional support includes daily weights, calorie counts, diet education, and intake/output measurement.  Early management of pain control to include use of PCA, epidural infusions, and IV/PO medications is a major focus on this unit.  We strive for promoting a relaxing comforting environment during the recovery period.  Our nursing goal is to ensure that very good care is provided to both the patient and family throughout hospitalization.  
Strengths: 6 East is the first to open as a “Carolina Care Partners in Practice” unit at UNCH.  A RN and CST II/NA II are partnered to care for a group of 6 patients. On this unique unit the RN and NA II are trained and encouraged to work to their full scope of practice.  
5 Bed-tower – Trauma and Orthopedics
Cheryl Stewart, RN, MA, CNAA, BC
We excel at putting broken bodies back together and making them work like new.  Our 32-bed orthopedic and trauma unit is an incredibly exciting place to work – chock full of challenge – and a unique opportunity to work with the best and the brightest. 
Strengths:  Our doctors and nurses work together as true partners in a multidisciplinary patient care team.  Physical therapists, social workers, dieticians and a myriad of other specialists are indispensable members of that team, creating a synergy that is both palpable and powerful.  This is an environment where learning flourishes, and where your competence and confidence can soar to new heights.
7NSH- Surgical Oncology and ENT
Chris Turner, BSN, RN, PCCN
Nurse Manager
We are a 24- bed unit dedicated to providing state of the art care for Surgical Oncology, Endocrine, and Head & Neck Surgery.  The Division of Surgical Oncology and Head& Neck Surgery is devoted to the concept of multidisciplinary care, and leads the region in developing multidisciplinary programs in Breast Cancer, Gastrointestinal Cancers, Endocrine Diseases and Head & Neck Cancers.
Our healthcare teams are led by renowned specialized physicians who are nationally recognized for improving cancer care through clinical excellence, clinical trials, medical education, and translational research.  Our dedication to clinical research and translational sciences are highlighted through our collaboration with the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Strengths:  Our nurses pursue excellence in customer service, patient care, education, and research in our field of expertise.  Our team approach to patient care is multidisciplinary.  We are committed to providing education and research opportunities for the next generation of Health Care Providers.  We provide a working environment with many opportunities for personal and professional growth with the goal of establishing a foundation for future contributions in the fields of medicine and nursing.
6NSH - Neurologic and Neurosurgical
Heather Ritchie, BSN, RN, CPN
Nurse Manager
We are a 36-bed acute care unit, the largest acute inpatient unit of the surgery service, efficiently designed to provide quality and compassionate care to all of our neurological, neurosurgical and ENT patients. We provide state-of-the-art video EEG; monitoring for our epilepsy patients and EKG telemetry for our stroke/TIA patients.
Our unit focuses on acute assessment & intervention in the early phases of stroke to decrease morbidity and mortality.  The nurses are trained to perform NIH Stroke Scale scoring, which allows us to measure outcomes.  Our unit-based OT/PT gym allows our patients to transition more quickly to home or the rehab setting.
Strengths: We provide a sensitive, personal and caring environment that reinforces our mission to patients and families. We are team-oriented, dynamic caregivers and experienced patient advocates. We offer interdisciplinary support while fostering a professional, collaborative atmosphere conducive to learning. 6 Neurosciences is part of the Stroke Center which was named by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center 
Intermediate Surgical Care Unit
Kevin Brady, RN BSN CCRN
Nurse Manager
Intermediate Care is attractive to nurses who are seeking a high paced, very busy environment caring for a variety of patients in a critical care setting. The Intermediate Surgical Care Unit (ISCU) at the UNC Medical Center provides care to patients from 15 surgical specialties. Patients cared for are on Neurology/Neurosurgery, ENT, Maxillofacial, Plastics, Thoracic, Vascular, GI, Transplant, Urology, GYN, Orthopedics, and Trauma Services. Patients are admitted from the ED, OR, clinics, and as direct admits. ISCU is part of open access for two services, Trauma and Neurology/Neurosurgery, meaning we are committed to provide bed availability to an accepted patient. ISCU is part of the Stroke Center which was named by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Nurses working in the ISCU are challenged by the pace of the unit and the many surgical specialties for which we provide care. Nurse gain expert level knowledge in the care of patients, while providing “Carolina Care” to the patient and family to ensure all their needs are met. New RNs to the critical care environment will receive education outside of staffing to assist in their learning to care for this population. The ISCU admits ventilated patients, arterial lines, central lines, sheaths, and continuous IV medications, along with other higher level care interventions.
Strengths: Teamwork is the hallmark of staffing in the ISCU; our nurses use a team first approach to patient care. Nursing Assistants and Unit Coordinators provide daily support to assist with the care of patients. Daily rounding with the multidisciplinary team allows RNs input into the plan of care for the patient. Working in coordination with our Medical Director and surgeons, our nurses assist patients and families in their transition from intensive care to acute care units.  The team plans many activities inside and outside of the unit and organization, to build camaraderie, and serve the community we live in.
Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Maureen Heck, BSN, RN, CCRN
Nurse Manager
The Surgical Intensive Care Unit is dedicated to providing intensive care for critically injured patients requiring a variety of surgical interventions.  We are a 16-bed Level One Trauma certified unit specializing in the care of critically injured trauma and surgical patients.  Our population consists of trauma, orthopedics, abdominal, gynecological, ENT, plastics, abdominal transplantation, and includes many varieties of surgical procedures. We have a trauma attending physician in-house 24/7 to assist us in the delivery of exceptional care for our trauma patients. We are also staffed by critical care trained physicians to help us in the delivery of care using an ICU Managed Model. In January of 2013, we also became an open access unit for Acute Care General Surgery patients in need of transfer from outlying hospitals. This includes the following types of diagnoses: bowel obstruction, volvulus, diverticulitis, mesenteric ischemia, cholecystitis, appendicitis, enteric fistula, necrotizing fasciitis and pancreatitis with necrosis.  We also provide care for patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). 
Strengths: The unit has been recognized by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses with the Beacon Award for Excellence and the Extracorporeal Life Support Organ Award for Excellence and Exceptional Patient Care. The unit has a multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and a challenging work environment that promotes critical thinking, and unlimited learning potential. We are seeking candidates that strive to provide excellent patient care, inspire teamwork, and possess exceptional customer service skills.
Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
Christa Williams, BSN, RN, CNML
Nurse Manager
Our recently renovated and remodeled 16-bed unit provides patients and their families with a comprehensive approach to care for the best possible outcomes. Our diverse nursing team is specially trained in neurological disorders and work side by side with the Adult ICU physician and nurse practitioner team. The intensivist team consisting of neurointensivists and nurse practitioners, alongside neurosurgeons and the neurologist, provide 24/7 critical care coverage. Our team of Licensed Independent Practitioners are dedicated, nationally recognized leaders in the evaluation, assessment, treatment and research of a variety of neurological disorders which include but are not limited to stroke care, epilepsy, interventional neurology and brain & spinal cord surgery. Our amazing unit houses a portable CT scanner and each room is equipped with continuous EEG and video monitoring.
Strengths: Knowledge-Passion-Teamwork! As part of the UNCH Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke Center, our nurses take the lead on the Brain Attack Team, were recognized in Advance for Nurses Magazine and have partnered with local agencies to provide stroke education to the community. Our physician partners have been featured on Good Morning America and recognized as the “Best Physicians in the Nation” by the Boston-based Best Doctors, Inc. We seek candidates that strive to provide excellent patient care, inspire teamwork and possess exceptional customer service skills.
N.C. Jaycee Burn Center
Grace Schmits, BSN, RN, CNML 
Nurse Manager


There’s a saying in the burn nurse community: “It isn’t enough for a patient to survive: we must move beyond to help them live life to the fullest.” The North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center will only accept nurses who are patient focused, compassionate, and motivated and dedicated enough to make that happen.


Our multidisciplinary team approach to burn care includes physicians and nurses closely collaborating with physical, occupational and recreational therapists, chaplains, one of only two rehabilitation counselors in the US, social workers, psychologist, dietician, teachers and volunteers. Our Outreach Program lets the nursing staff interact with the community through a close relationship with many organizations including but not limited to statewide schools of nursing and firefighter associations. The Burn Center has an active, dynamic Aftercare Program that sponsors Camp Celebrate – a weekend summer camp for pediatric burn survivors, Teen Weekends, Annual Burn Survivors’ Reunion and an Adult Survivor Retreat, all opportunities for the nurse to reconnect and observe first-hand the successes of their labors and caring.

Strengths: We provide advanced, ultramodern, high tech, innovative care to burn victims of every age group, from pediatric to geriatric, and of every acuity, from critical to rehabilitative. The Center is verified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons, and is North Carolina’s only center of excellence specializing in both adult and pediatric burns. The Burn Center is a highly supportive, incredibly challenging, fast paced work environment that promotes autonomy, critical thinking, and provides endless learning opportunities at every level of care.


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