Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:01:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Quit Smoking and Reap Many Benefits Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:29:50 +0000 By Dr. Eric Roberson Facility Medical Director, Neighbors Emergency Center Pearland   When it comes to smoking in Texas, there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is the percentage of Texas adults who smoke has dropped. The bad news is those adults who currently smoke represent approximately 3 million adults. According to the…

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By Dr. Eric Roberson

Facility Medical Director, Neighbors Emergency Center Pearland


When it comes to smoking in Texas, there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is the percentage of Texas adults who smoke has dropped. The bad news is those adults who currently smoke represent approximately 3 million adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 90% of those who smoke started prior to the age of 18.  So, preventing tobacco use in our youth is the key to ending the tobacco epidemic.


Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Texas.  Smoking cigarettes causes more deaths than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs combined.  Smoking cigarettes is most closely associated with lung cancer, but also plays a significant role in cancers of the throat, esophagus, and bladder among others.  It is also a leading cause of accelerated coronary artery disease, which leads to heart attacks.


Look at the benefits if you kick the smoking habit. According to the National Cancer Institute, within 20 minutes of quitting smoking your blood pressure and heart rate start to normalize.  Within several hours your blood carbon monoxide levels begin to decrease and oxygen levels start to increase. In 2-3 days your sense of taste and smell will improve.  Within several months you can expect significant improvement in lung function.  Within five years the lung cancer death rate decreases by almost half and within 10 years, lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a person who does not smoke.


Here are proven methods that increase your chance for success. The Comprehensive Cancer Control Tobacco Work Group at MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed a Smoking Cessation Resource Guide for Galveston County (available at These 5 steps can increase your chance for success.

  1. Get Ready – Set a quit date, remove tobacco products from your surroundings, and anticipate triggers.
  2. Get Support – Talk to family, health care providers, counselors and coaches.
  3. Learn New Skills – Reduce stress by reading, exercising, or enjoying a new sport.
  4. Get Medications – Chantix, Zyban, and several Nicotine preparations can double your chance of quitting for good when used correctly.
  5. Be prepared for relapse and difficult situations – Most people try several times before successfully quitting.


Kicking the habit isn’t easy but can help to alleviate and prevent health problems for smokers and the people around them.

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Radiology Technologists Week – The People Behind Our Patients Mon, 06 Nov 2017 20:40:29 +0000 The science of radiology is profound as its more than just X-rays. It is high-energy radiation that helps physicians with diagnosis and treatment during illness or after injury. But all that science doesn’t just happen on its own. It is the Radiology Technologists that masters the controlling of the equipment so the radiographs are of…

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The science of radiology is profound as its more than just X-rays. It is high-energy radiation that helps physicians with diagnosis and treatment during illness or after injury. But all that science doesn’t just happen on its own. It is the Radiology Technologists that masters the controlling of the equipment so the radiographs are of the correct contrast, detail and density.

November 5-11 is National Radiologic Week and Neighbors Emergency Center is pleased to honor, and thank, our tremendous team of Radiology Technologists. Let us introduce you to some of the dedicated professionals that are the people behind our patients at Neighbors Emergency Centers.

Jerry LovasJERRY in Crosby

Wanting to make a difference in the community in which he lives, Jerry came to Neighbors almost five years ago when the center opened, after working in a big hospital system.

“I liked the style of medicine and patient care that was given. It was so different than in the hospital setting,” Jerry said. “The care at Neighbors is more personal and genuine, especially in the Radiology field. At hospitals, patients are just numbers to a busy, high-volume department. That’s not the case at Neighbors.”

Since Jerry joined Neighbors and began working within his own community, his commute is short which makes family time special.

When not at work, the married father of two children enjoys supporting their activities. Sometimes as a team coach, sometimes from the sidelines, but always present. He even gets time to enjoy with friends and go off-roading or hang out at the lake. Nonetheless Jerry is always ready to lend a hand.

“I have always found Jerry to be dependable, efficient and punctual,” stated Elena Turner, Neighbors Crosby Facility Director. “He projects a warm, cheerful attitude to our patients and his fellow co-workers. As our center’s Lead Radiology Tech, he goes above and beyond for his employees.

“I have seen him resolve conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. In the community he goes out of his way to help people in need by participating in local charity events. He loves people, works hard, and always tries to lift the spirits of those around him.”

 Tony PhamTONY in Pearland

Outstanding work ethic and dependability. Just two of the many reasons that Tony was nominated from Neighbors Pearland.

“He enters the facility with the most positive, can do attitude,” commented Tina Lavert, Neighbors Pearland Facility Director. “He is a huge asset to his team. Tony is extremely knowledgeable with not only CT and X-rays, he has also become a guru in the laboratory.”

“X-rays and CT scans are key factors in diagnostics,” Tony recently shared. “As a radiology technologist, I get to be a part of the first step in discovering a patient’s condition. The patients I see are usually nervous or worried of the outcome they may have to face, so I like to put their minds at ease and tell them they’ve taken the right first step toward healing.

“Technology has advanced significantly and I look forward to how it will change the future of medical imaging.”

Tony has been a radiology technologist for over six years. The married father of two children is also a big sports fan and enjoys playing football, baseball and tennis.

“Neighbors Emergency Center is a great place to work because we truly care for the well-being of the patients we see. Since the first day I started, Neighbors just felt like a second home.”

TexarkanaSHERRI in Texarkana

Radiology humor includes the saying ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts.’ Someone that brings a fun and cheerful spirit to work is how the Neighbors Texarkana team sees Sherri.

“Sherri will always show up to work with a smile on her face,” Neighbors Texarkana Facility Director Blake George shared. “She treats all her patients with compassion and does her best to make their time at Neighbors the best it can be. Sherri is the person you can count on to show up early, stay a little late and go the extra mile for her team.”

“I enjoy my career in Radiology for many reasons,” Sherri said. “I knew I wanted to do something that would help people. I am a caretaker by nature. Performing X-rays and CT scans gives me the opportunity to be the one that can actually see what is causing the pain or illness from the inside out.

Being able to connect with her patients is also one of Sherri’s special gifts.

“No CT or X-ray is the same because every patient is different. Neighbors lets me spend that extra time helping patients that I wouldn’t find at a hospital ER. It is just part of what sets Neighbors above.”

Melodie HodgesMELODIE in Amarillo

“I decided to become a radiology technologist because of an experience I had as a child when I got X-rays for a broken arm,” is how Melodie started her story. “I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life like the tech that took care of me.

“When I came to Neighbors, it was a completely different experience from the hospital. Here, as a radiology technologist, I actually take care of the patient from the time they walk in the door to the time they walk out. I’ve learned so much about patient care in the last two years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

This soon-to-be first-time grandmother also enjoys spending time with family and friends. Likewise, her Neighbors family appreciates the experience and dedication she brings with her.

“I have known Melodie for years as one of the hardest working people,” said Neighbors Amarillo Nurse Chris Heath. “She is always willing to help others and brings a positive attitude to any problem. She has adapted well to this environment because she cares about her patients and wants to give them the best care she has to offer. She is a great employee, a great caregiver and an even better friend. We love her.”

Glenn CraigGLENN in Kingwood

With a true desire to help people, Glenn chose his profession after many years in a different line of work. He started as a volunteer EMT a couple days each month, filling a need to give back to his community.

“I quickly realized the true meaning of helping someone in need, and the self-worth in doing so,” Glenn said. “I also found during that time I possessed an ability to connect with the patient’s needs.

“This position requires compassion to understand that one particular event may just be the single most devastating thing that’s ever happened to that individual. If I can try to put myself in their shoes, how would I want to be treated? Better yet, I could only hope for something positive, in a usually negative environment.”

Glenn knew as a radiology technologist that he could contribute in a big way.

“The Rad Tech’s role in the huge chain we call patient care is so important. I realized all the things I considered strengths as an EMT, were the same strengths needed as a Rad Tech. I was always interested in how the human body works and functions, combine that with the science of our field and I had found my calling.”

Glenn credits the support of his wife Julie for the opportunity to pursue a career change and follow his passion for radiology. Neighbors is thankful that he did.

“He is always concerned about the patient’s well-being and their privacy,” commented Neighbors Kingwood Facility Director Tommy Cook. “He is not afraid to ask questions about new processes when presented in order to give the patient the best experience. Our lead radiology technologist has been out on maternity leave and Glenn has helped keep things organized and running smoothly during her absence.”

Glenn has two adult children, two granddaughters and also enjoys being outdoors and doing anything sports related.

JR GowenJR in Austin

Quiet. Calm. Team leader. All words that Neighbors Mueller Facility Director Michelle Tribble used to describe JR.

“JR is committed to always do an outstanding job. No matter the task, he tackles it with fervor,” Michelle said. “He is well respected and an important, outstanding team member at Mueller.”

However, JR describes becoming a radiology technologist this way.

“Circumstance and destiny collided when I left home for the Air Force in 2005,” he said. “I had a pick of eight different jobs. The Air Force made the choice of radiology technologist for me. It certainly became a life changing decision as 12 years later, here I am, still doing it and still loving it.”

JR is married to Caitlin, who also works at Neighbors Mueller, and is the proud father of a 2-year-old son. They have also found the area to be the right place to set roots down for their family.

“I found Neighbors when I was looking to move to Austin in 2014. I had several phone conversations with our Radiology leadership and I persuaded him to take a chance on me sight unseen. I will forever cherish Neighbors and the many opportunities it has afforded me.”

Pete MendezPETE in Kerrville

Sometimes life offers you an adjustment and it ends up making all the difference.

“After 18 years as a medical assistant I decided I needed a change,” Pete said. “I found a great school close to where I was working, and there started the journey to where I am now.”

Pete spent years working in a mainstream hospital system as well as working at a V.A. hospital. That change he had already experienced once now came in the form of freestanding ERs, which led him to Neighbors Kerrville.

“I met with the leadership of the Neighbors Radiology Department and was inspired by his passion for this company. It’s been a great journey which I hope will continue for years to come.”

Now it is Pete that is leading, serving as Neighbors Kerrville’s Lead Radiology Technologist.

“Kerrville is so small that we do not have a 24-hour courier, so Pete volunteers to take the patient samples himself, even on his day off, the 50-mile round-trip trek to Fredericksburg to drop off them off for us,” stated Neighbors Kerrville Facility Director Amanda Bailey. “Keep in mind, this is not during business hours, so the timing can be very inconvenient.

“But Pete is our guy. I would like to thank him, and all our team, for their continued dedication and support of the citizens of Kerrville.”

Any down time Pete has is spent with wife Nickole, three children, a new granddaughter and staying active at the gym or being outdoors.

Carlos Alvear_2CARLOS in Brownsville

“I chose to be a radiology technologist because I was so intrigued by the profession when I had a CT scan done on me many years ago,” Carlos said. “The technology that we use to help patients at Neighbors is amazing and I am excited to be a part of that.”

Each Neighbors Emergency Center is ready 24/7 with in-house CT Scan, Ultrasound and X-ray equipment.

“I love working at Neighbors because it allows me to spend more time with my patients in doing what I love. It also has expanded my skills to other areas such as in our on-site laboratory.”

Neighbors Brownsville Facility Director Jennifer Miner added how friendly and hardworking Carlos is.

“He consistently goes above and beyond for the staff and patients. Carlos truly represents the Neighbors core values of having a genuine heart, a guardian mentality and a welcoming smile. We consider ourselves very lucky to have him as part of our team.”

Trisha Buettner-minTRISHA in Bellaire

Neighbors Emergency Center prides itself on attracting the best medical professionals in their respected fields. Trisha stands out for her compassion and excellent customer service, as she gives her best to her patients and always goes above and beyond the already high level expected at Neighbors.

“Her co-workers are treated like her patients, as well and treated with the utmost respect,” Neighbors Bellaire Facility Director Krystal Wickliff said recently. “She exemplifies all aspects of our Neighbors culture.”

Trisha came into her profession after caring for a beloved family member.

“My family is an important and integral part of my life,” Trisha began. “When my grandmother became ill, I helped to care for her and stayed with her in the hospitals. One time I noticed the difference in care that the staff provided. When there was a positive nurse or doctor, it really made an impact on the way all the patients felt.

“Even when my grandmother was in pain and the nurse would speak to her kindly, she visibly brightened. At this point, I knew that I could make a difference and help people also.”

Encouraged by her husband to pursue a degree in Radiology, Trisha soon found herself at Neighbors.

“Neighbors exemplifies the same values I feel strongly about, such as treating patients as if you are treating your own family. Our leaders at Neighbors Bellaire show us through their hard work how to put this into practice.”

It is the performing of diagnostic imaging, at any time that a patient needs it, that contributes to the Neighbors difference. We are privileged to work with such dedicated people that make lives better for their patients every day.

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Breast Cancer Prevention Tips Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:18:50 +0000 The statistics are alarming and hopefully they get your attention, or the attention of a woman you love. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Over 300,000 new cases of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year alone.…

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The statistics are alarming and hopefully they get your attention, or the attention of a woman you love. One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Over 300,000 new cases of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year alone.

Though it’s impossible to figure out just which one woman in a crowd of eight will be diagnosed, there are some steps a woman can take to be as proactive as possible in the fight against breast cancer.

  • Watch the weight. The connection between weight and breast cancer is complicated. The more extra pounds a woman is carrying increases her risk of developing breast cancer. Women that are overweight or obese after menopause boosts that risk even higher. It’s the female hormone estrogen that can help breast cancer grow, and after menopause, most of a woman’s estrogen comes from fat tissue. Cut down on the calories if you are consuming too many.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking is just plain bad for you. The list of diseases that smoking is connected to is long and younger, premenopausal women are at a high risk of breast cancer if they smoke. Kick the habit and also steer clear of very heavy second-hand smoke.
  • Get moving. Being physically active is not only good for the body, but also important for the mind and spirit. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes a week of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly. Add strength training at least twice a week and enjoy the positive effects and happy feeling from your own endorphins.
  • Focus on plant-based foods. The American Cancer Society recommends diets that are high in fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains. Also reduce red and processed meats, refined grains and sugars. Changing what’s on the dinner plate can give better results in fighting off – and surviving – cancer.
  • Breast-feed. If you are planning to get pregnant or are already expecting, breast-feeding might play a role in breast cancer prevention. It will be good for you and for baby.
  • Limit the dose and duration of hormone therapy. Many women seek help with their premenopausal and menopausal symptoms with hormone replacement therapy (HTR). However, estrogen-only HTR can hike the risk of breast cancer if a woman is using it for more than 10 years. Estrogen-only HTR can also increase the risk of ovarian cancer, so every woman should talk with her doctor about the options that are available.

What else can a woman do? She can be vigilant about early detection. That’s more than making sure she has timely mammograms. It’s about her looking for changes in her breasts such as noticing a new lump or skin changes. Any type of change should be shared with her doctor as well as discussing any other screenings based on her personal history.

Encourage the women in your life to do what will make them healthier. That is a personal, impactful gift that each woman deserves to receive.

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Emergency Nurses Week – The People Behind Our Patients Mon, 09 Oct 2017 15:23:32 +0000 Dedicated. Compassionate. A lifesaver. There are not enough words to describe the exceptional type of person that chooses to be an Emergency Room nurse. It takes a special individual that wants to help someone, usually a stranger, when they are sick or injured. Easily, ER nurses are superheroes in scrubs. Nurses in the Neighbors family…

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Dedicated. Compassionate. A lifesaver. There are not enough words to describe the exceptional type of person that chooses to be an Emergency Room nurse. It takes a special individual that wants to help someone, usually a stranger, when they are sick or injured. Easily, ER nurses are superheroes in scrubs.

Nurses in the Neighbors family make a difference in their patient’s lives each day and are a valued member of their team. We are honored to share the stories of some of our outstanding ER Nurses. We are thankful for all they do and that they choose to share their talents with Neighbors. Our nurses are part of the Neighbors Difference.

RN Karen Ashley_miniKAREN in Texarkana

A positive attitude and sunny disposition is how Facility Director Blake George describes Karen. She has been an ER nurse for nearly 11 years but is new to freestanding ERs and to the Neighbors team.

Karen feels communicating with the patient and their family, in terms they can understand, is pivotal in her role of alleviating fear and trauma in an emergency situation. That’s because she has been on the other side of the conversation.

“I made the decision to become an emergency nurse in 1999 following the traumatic event of my mother nearly dying from an aneurysm,” Karen said. “I helplessly watched the medical staff work to save my mother’s life while trying to explain to me what was going on in medical terms that I did not understand. I swore then I would help people who were in crisis understand exactly what was going on with their loved ones or themselves in a way that they could understand.”

This outgoing single parent of four credits her parents for the many valuable life lessons they taught her growing up and how she sees everyone as a part of a bigger family.

“I choose to work at Neighbors Emergency Center because we treat our patients like we would want a family member to be treated from the time they walk through the door all the way to the time we walk them out to their car. I love my job and feel in my heart that it is my life’s calling to be a nurse and care for each patient as I would my own mother” said Karen.


RN Eddy EspinosaEDDY in Austin

Receiving the gift of sight made such an impact on Eddy’s life that he dedicated himself to giving to others as others gave to him.

“At a very young age I was diagnosed with a progressive eye disease called Keratoconus,” explained the Austin resident. “Twice a year I was fitted with corrective lenses due to the deterioration of my vision. By the time I reached high school, my sight had degraded so much that the only treatment option was corneal transplants”.

But growing up in a large, low-income family didn’t make Eddy’s necessary surgery a possibility. That was until the Knights of Columbus and Ophthalmologist Dr. Robert Rock stepped in and donated the surgery to Eddy. It was that act of kindness and generosity that made a huge impact on him.

“I chose nursing because it is a priceless profession that allows me to give freely the gifts of love and compassion to others while they are in their time of need.”

Eddy’s Facility Director Michelle Tribble says she sees that dedication in all that Eddy does for Neighbors. “Eddy is dedicated to every aspect of being an RN. He takes pride in his work and gives so much of himself in the care of his patients. We are thrilled he is part of the Neighbors family in Austin.”



RN Mark BarnesMARK in Brownsville

After being an EMT for the Cochise County Rescue Team in high school and then nursing in surgical and intensive care units, Mark found his niche in the ER.

“When I first graduated with my Nursing Degree, working in an Emergency Department wasn’t an option. But when an ER position was offered to me, I took it and knew right away I had found my perfect fit. I have worked in the ER ever since,” Mark said.

Thirty years of nursing experience later, Mark is excited to be part of the Neighbors Difference.

“When Neighbors Emergency Center opened in the Rio Grande Valley, I figured this would be a great way to continue my Emergency nursing career. Neighbors gives me the opportunity to provide the care to my patients I have always strived to achieve. I now practice Emergency nursing in an environment where I am not only allowed the time to provide excellent care, but I work with patients that are willing to learn and participate in their care.”

This married father with a 13-year-old daughter still enjoys the water and likes to fish when his schedule allows. Mark is also a certified scuba diver at the Master Diver level.



RN Michelle HernandezMICHELLE in Amarillo

This is not the first time Michelle has been spotlighted for her outstanding nursing skills. In 2016, she was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Nurses in the Texas Panhandle” by the 25 Great Panhandle Nurses Review Panel.

After 24 years in Nursing, Michelle’s experience ranges from the ER in a Level 1 Trauma Center, to working in the coronary care and intensive care units, to post-operative surgery and Hospice care. Michelle has seen it all. But she found her home at Neighbors.

Facility Director Josh Bailey explained Michelle as “a nurse that exhibits compassionate qualities by making all patients feel calm and at ease. Michelle is able to comfort a frightened child while simultaneously calming their distraught parents.”

“I have been blessed with a wide variety of experience to draw from when I care for my patients,” said the mother of four adult children. “With the changes in healthcare in recent years, I have found Neighbors’ patient focused care in line with my personal values. We strive to treat each patient as family. I truly love being a part of making a difference in people’s lives and Neighbors makes that not only possible, but easy.”

In her spare time, Michelle has begun Flight Nursing to “up her game” and keep current on skills. When she is home, she and her family enjoy gathering friends at her Barndominium where they often cookout, watch the beautiful Panhandle sunsets and sing.

“I am, and will always be, an ER nurse and for that I am truly blessed.”

RN David Murillo_miniDAVID in Pearland

Taking care of people is all David knows. He became an ER Tech one week after his eighteenth birthday and has not looked back. Starting a nursing career almost 10 years ago, David brought his talents to Neighbors because he finds great satisfaction in taking care of people.

“I became an ER nurse because, as cliché as it sounds, I truly enjoy taking care of people in their time of need and to see them get better,” said the father of three. “I chose Neighbors because I felt like the values and purpose for making lives better were in line with mine.”

“I enjoy giving our patients the best care possible. Neighbors gives me the resources and leadership to do so and it values its employees, and we pass that on to our patients.”

Married to his middle school sweetheart, David and his wife have the occasional date night when time allows around their children’s swim and baseball practices. “I have a simple life but a great one. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

It is that attitude that has brought the spotlight to him.

“David is always upbeat, positive and has a natural way of placing patients at ease,” stated Facility Director Tina Levert. “He is extremely trustworthy, knowledgeable and genuine in his approach in delivering consistent healthcare to our patients. David is an excellent nurse.”

RN Sarah SargalskiSARAH in Kerrville

It was one of Sarah’s high school teachers, who was also a nurse, that encouraged her to pursue nursing. Sarah has worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse, a traveling nurse and worked with wounded warriors in Washington D.C. But the majority of her career has been spent helping those who desperately need it in the Emergency Room.

“I enjoy working in the ER because there is always a variety of situations you encounter; no two days are the same in the ER,” Sarah said.

It is that personal connection and passion for knowledge has led Sarah to earn her Master of Science in Nursing Degree and she looks forward to teaching and inspiring the next generation of nurses in America.

Sarah joined the Neighbors family in November 2016 at Neighbors Emergency Center West Warwick in Rhode Island. Though that center was later closed, Sarah was welcomed to Texas and joined the Neighbors Kerrville clan. The Texas hill country has been the perfect spot for Sarah, her husband and their dog to enjoy the great outdoors.




RN Ira Bubba SkirlockIRA “BUBBA” in Tyler

Sometimes a personal tragedy can not only change us, but redirect our life’s path. A traumatic motorcycle accident in 1986 did just that to Bubba. It was the care and compassion he received from the ER staff that got him back on his feet.

“I knew from that point I wanted to provide the same comfort, compassion and reassurance to others that was given to me,” Bubba explained. “So, the ER became my passion, the pursuit to do everything within my abilities to make each ER patient’s life better with my words and actions. By doing this I have a validation in my life that I cannot put into words.”

“Bubba has the ability to form a positive connection with almost everyone he meets, and truly personifies a servant heart,” stated Facility Director Robert Collyer. “His years of experience help put his patients and families at ease, but he still strives to improve his knowledge by returning to school. He will complete his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing this semester with Houston Baptist University, and plans to continue toward a Master’s Degree.”

Married for many years and the father to two adult children and grandfather to three, Bubba was excited to move his career to Neighbors.

“I came to Neighbors when we opened to have the opportunity to experience ER medicine in an environment I knew very little about. But the freestanding ER is exciting and I love playing a part of giving the best personal emergency care. It’s part of what sets Neighbors a part from competitors and hospital ERs.”


RN Whitney GeorgeWHITNEY in Crosby

“I was a pre-med student at the University of Houston Clear Lake in 2001 when my father became ill from liver failure,” Whitney begins. “I spent most of my evenings down at UTMB with him and was so impressed with the nursing staff and how caring and compassionate they were, to not only my father, but to our entire family. That experience forever changed my career path and I decided to pursue a career in nursing.”

But it was the fast pace of the ER that Whitney gravitated to. She knew she could make a difference in people’s lives when they were at their worst.

As a native of Baytown, Whitney was excited when a friend recommended her for a job at Neighbors Emergency Center two years ago. She has been a giving member to her work family.

“I had heard nothing but wonderful things about the company so I jumped at the opportunity. I absolutely love working in the community in which I was raised and giving back to my hometown.”

“Whitney has gone above and beyond to help me with Neighbors Baytown’s high patient numbers,” said Facility Director Ben Greer. “She has switched from her normal shift to make it easier for me to get the staffing needed. She’s picked up extra shifts at the last minute to make sure we are covered. She has been a great asset to have.”

Married with 2 children, 2 rotten dogs and 2 spoiled cats, Whitney enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures and foods.


RN Chris HeathCHRIS in Amarillo

“I have constantly observed Chris taking a seat with his patients and carefully describing their medications, specific diet and activity restrictions,” shared Facility Director Josh Bailey. “He inspires others to pursue a career in nursing by acting as a positive beacon of excellence for our profession. Chris makes significant contributions by realizing the impact nurses have in peoples’ everyday lives and thereby practicing admirably and exceptionally.”

Chris started in medicine as an Army medic and served an infantry deployment to Iraq in 2003. After the military, Chris did not plan a life in nursing.

“Once I became a nurse, something strange happened. The faces of my patients were the same faces I saw on the battlefield,” he said. “The families we left were suddenly the families at the bedside. I felt some redemption for my time as a medic. I was able to forgive myself for not taking care of the men I left behind. I needed nursing as much as nursing needed me.”

Now what drives Chris is the untimely loss of his twin brother two years ago. The death of his brother prompted Chris to be examined for the same heart ailment that took his brother’s life. Heath’s results returned that, he too, had the same heart condition.

“The way I can repay my brother is to care for others who need help,” Chris said. “I love what I do, who I do it with and who I do it for. I have worked, and continue to work, with the best healthcare workers Amarillo has to offer.”

Chris started with Neighbors when the center opened. He is married, has two children and loves to fish, camp and spend time with family and friends.

RN John Minor_miniJOHN in Houston

Experience is not achieved overnight. In John’s case, he has been dedicated to taking care of patients for 36 years. Having spent 17 years in EMS, 14 of those years as a Paramedic, John is committed to saving lives.

He was an accomplished training officer for a mobile ICU ambulance that cared for critical patients in transfers from outlying hospitals into the medical center. He completed the ‘Paramedic to RN’ transition courses in one year because of his skills in ER and ICU care.

“A friend was working at Neighbors and suggested I apply,” John said. “I have enjoyed working here ever since.”

“John’s dedication and selfless attitude is like none other,” stated Facility Director Krystal Wickliff. “He goes above and beyond to help out all Houston facilities when needs present themselves, and John embodies commitment and dependability.”

To unwind from over three decades of nursing the most critical patients, John enjoys traveling and attending concerts. “I love 80s music and attend every concert possible when an 80s band is playing.”

“I graduated from a Houston medical high school so I have been taking care of people since I was 16 years old and I have always taken care of patients the same way. I treat every patient and patient’s family as though they were my family.”

RN David PoeDAVID in Lubbock

Like so many of our outstanding nurses have indicated, they were drawn to helping others while in high school.

“I first took an interest in the medical field during a ‘Shattered Dreams’ demonstration in high school,” David said. “I saw the firefighters and paramedics that thought to myself how cool those jobs were.”

During his senior year of high school, he enrolled in night classes for EMT-basic, and from there David was hooked. He continued his education to become a Paramedic, and after a few more years, continued to become an RN.

“I first met David as a volunteer in my fire department,” said Facility Director Tim Smith. “He was still in high school and basically would come to the station to hang out with the guys, train with them and learn all he could about anything they would teach him.”

Before you knew it, David was out of Nursing School and establishing himself as an outstanding ER Nurse.

“After I graduated I worked at University Medical Center in Lubbock which is a busy level 1 trauma and burn center. I loved the action and the rapid environment that it provided and I can honestly say, I worked with some of the best people ever.”

But David also saw that most patients were hurried and pushed through the ER as quickly as possible. David wanted to do more caring for patients then the hospital environment allowed.

“I jumped at the opportunity to join Neighbors because of the environment they offer to patients. I enjoy having the opportunity to sit and visit with patients and make it easier to truly understand their needs.”

“Neighbors was lucky enough to recruit David to our Lubbock facility and he has not disappointed yet,” Smith added. “He is dedicated to the care of his patients and their families. David is what I describe as a true patient advocate. He will go above and beyond to ensure each person who walks through our doors is taken care of, just like family.”

And his heart is still drawn to helping people, even when not at Neighbors. David is also a volunteer Firefighter/Paramedic with West Carlisle Fire/EMS just outside of Lubbock.

RN Isai FuentesISAI in El Paso

Isai has been part of the Neighbors El Paso family for over a year and a half and all the physicians and staff enjoy working with him. A hard worker, he truly embodies the values and culture of Neighbors.

Always reliable, responsible and team-oriented, Isai has never called in sick and has picked up day or night shifts at either Neighbors in El Paso. He even ended his vacation early to come in and help with shifts that needing covering. It’s that generous spirit that sets him apart. Plus, Isai’s smile is as infectious as his heart is big.

These people, and hundreds more, are behind our patients and contribute to the Neighbors difference. We are honored and proud they chose Neighbors.

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September Is Self-Improvement Month Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:04:32 +0000 “Be a better you, for you.” – Sonya Teclai September is Self-Improvement month. Sometimes we are so focused on our hardships and weaknesses that we forget we are only human. During this month we should take time to reflect and focus on which areas of our lives need improvement. Our own well-being is important for…

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“Be a better you, for you.” – Sonya Teclai

September is Self-Improvement month. Sometimes we are so focused on our hardships and weaknesses that we forget we are only human. During this month we should take time to reflect and focus on which areas of our lives need improvement. Our own well-being is important for overall peace in mind, body and soul.

Start off by evaluating how you feel about yourself. Are you your biggest critic? Do you feel regret for past decisions you have made? If so, there are steps you can take to improve your overall mentality towards these feelings.

First, forgive yourself and let things go. Stop beating yourself up for past regrets that have impacted your life. Move forward and focus on your accomplishments and give yourself praise for your successes. There is no sense worrying about things you cannot control.

Another way to improve you mindset is to be grateful. Every day you should jot down at least three things you are grateful for. This is a great remedy as it helps you begin to notice things that you may have never noticed before about your daily life.

Self-improvement can also equate to your physical well-being.  Focus on physical areas of your life that need improvement, but remember that it is not an overnight process. Maybe you want to lose weight, boost energy or cut your soda intake. This can be done by setting realistic goals. Create a fitness plan that you can stick to for several months or plan your meals in advance to be more aware of caloric intake. Evaluate what you are eating and drinking and make small changes that will have a huge impact rather than dieting for a short amount of time. You will see better results and it will change the way you view yourself.

Your relationships also benefit your journey to self-improvement. Evaluate your close relationships and think about how you can be a better spouse, parent or friend. Are you communicating and listening effectively? Is your work/life balance bringing your relationships down? Think about what you want out of your relationships and how you can improve your connections.

Self-improvement can only be accomplished by you. This month is a great time to evaluate your daily life and identify the areas you want to improve. You will gradually see yourself becoming the person you want to be with an improved outlook on life.


Neighbors Emergency Center has several locations throughout Texas. We are right around the corner from you, and you can see your wait time for any location online now!

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15 Injuries that Require Emergency Care Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:23:41 +0000 The post 15 Injuries that Require Emergency Care appeared first on .


Urgent Care Centers are an excellent source for minor medical care. However, some emergencies require a higher trained staff and more complex medical equipment. When your needs, or the needs of your family, are critical it is important to take these situations seriously and seek emergency care. Here are 15 injuries that will require fast or advanced emergency treatment that should be provided in an emergency room setting.

Emergency Room vs Urgent Care

1-Persistent chest pain, especially if it originates in the arm or jaw

2- Difficulty breathing, speaking, or talking. These could be symptoms of a stroke

3- Severe pain, especially in the abdomen

4- Severe loss of balance, sudden clumsiness or unexplained fainting

5- Sudden paralysis, especially if it is taking place on one side of the body

6- Newborn babies (3 months or younger) with temperatures over 100.4 degrees

7-Deep cuts that continuously bleed and may require stitches- especially if they are on the face

8- Severe flu or cold symptoms, including persistent vomiting or diarrhea

9- Head or eye injuries

10- Serious burns

11- Seizures that are not pre-diagnosed with epilepsy

12- Broken bones and dislocated joints

13- Sudden vision changes, including complete or partial vision loss

14- Any high fever, especially those involving a rash

15-Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy

Neighbors Emergency Center has several locations throughout Texas. We are right around the corner from you, and you can see your wait time for any location online now!

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Why Neighbors Has the Shortest Wait Times Thu, 27 Jul 2017 21:06:18 +0000 The post Why Neighbors Has the Shortest Wait Times appeared first on .


Did you know that the average wait time at Neighbors Emergency Center is between 5 to 10 minutes?

Unlike hospital ERs that can keep you waiting up to 10 hours, we get you in and out of our doors in no time. Learn the top five reason that makes us stand out and make lives better everyday.

ER wait time

Quality Staff

Our nurses and front desk staff provide excellent service to each and every patient that walks through our doors. Expect to be greeted with friendly smiles and quickly helped. It is always our goal to get patients through triage and speaking with a nurse or doctor as quickly as possible.

Convenient Locations

Neighbors has many locations throughout the Houston area. We pride ourselves on serving and providing the best medical care in many communities.. Hospitals can have crowded parking lots, as well as crammed and unkept waiting rooms. Our facilities have easy parking and clean and comfortable waiting rooms.

Knowledgeable Board-Certified Physicians

All of our physicians at Neighbors are board-certified. That means they have taken the additional step of passing an exam that tests their medical knowledge and clinical judgment. This allows us to serve you with the dedication and knowledge patients deserve from their physicians. We want you to feel confident with our passionate, patient-focused experience, medical knowledge and clinical judgment to properly diagnose, treat and save lives.

State-of-the-art Equipment

Our ERs have state-of-the-art equipment, including CT scanners, X-rays and ultrasounds. This equipment means you can be tested on-site without waiting in a long line of patients. In addition, you will have your results quickly, giving you immediate access to proper treatment.

Patient Driven Focus

At Neighbors Emergency Center our focus is always on the patient. We believe in providing extraordinary care that is dedicated to Making Lives Better every day. Neighbors Emergency Center operates with an unfaltering vision to be the Best Neighbors Ever. This means providing unparalleled medical care driven by compassion, respect and dedication.

Neighbors Emergency Center has several locations throughout Texas. We are right around the corner from you, and you can see your wait time for any location online now!

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The Most Common Reasons for Back Pain Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:04:14 +0000 The post The Most Common Reasons for Back Pain appeared first on .


Back pain can affect anyone and prevent you from functioning throughout your everyday routine. The causes of back pain are endless; however, the most common injuries can be prevented. From picking up the kids, to overdrive at the office, we want to help you get back in action for your fall schedule.



When you are trying to swing like Tiger Woods or pass like James Harden, make sure to stretch and exercise properly before, during and after your sport of choice. Sports that involve twisting, like golf, and large forces of impact, like basketball, are more prone to back pain. Even hard labor like cleaning out the garage or gardening can be equally back-breaking activities. Prevent this by exercising and strengthening your core muscles. Even switching out a desk chair for an exercise ball could help strengthen your back muscles.

Improper Lifting

Lifting heavy objects using your back can lead to back injury. The proper technique is to “lift with your legs, not your back.” Whether you’re helping someone move in or redecorating, you can prevent this by keeping your back straight and bending at the knees. Keep the object close to your body and avoid twisting when lifting. To prevent strain, it is advised to never lift something heavy above your armpit or below your knees, and never move something over 20% of your body weight.

Mindlessness During Daily Chores

Being distracted by everyday tasks can make you forget how to properly lift with your back and lead to more injuries simply because of absent mindedness or fatigue. Back pain doesn’t have to be caused by heavy lifting or exaggerated movement. Core exercises can also help strengthen your abs and your back.

Sitting All Day

Sitting in traffic, at your desk and later on the couch prevent fluid from circulating in your spine. Your back gets more stress from sitting, especially sitting and leaning forward, and leads to pressure on your disc. To prevent this, get up and move every 20 minutes when you are at the office or at home, and make sure your back is kept straight with reading material at eye level in a back-supporting chair.

Most back pain goes away in a couple days with pain relievers, however if you find it lasting longer, associated with loss of bladder/bowel control, or pain below the waist make an appointment with your doctor. Even if you practice prevention, we know emergencies can happen at any moment. Neighbors is here for your 24/7/365. Visit to find a Neighbors Emergency Center near you!

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What You Need to Know About Tetanus Thu, 27 Jul 2017 18:48:06 +0000 The post What You Need to Know About Tetanus appeared first on .


You’ve probably scheduled a tetanus shot at some point in time for your child, but do you really understand what you are protecting them against? Get educated and learn the risk factors, symptoms and treatment for tetanus.


What is Tetanus?

A tetanus infection is caused by a bacteria that is found in soil, dust and animal feces. It enters your body through a wound and releases a toxin that attacks your nerves, leading to stiffness and spasms. Deeply cut or dirty wounds are at the most risk for tetanus.

Risk Factors

Individuals who have never been vaccinated or are not up to date on their vaccinations are at risk. Tetanus can also be contracted by puncture wounds (splinters, body piercings, tattoos, injection drugs), compound fractures, burns, surgical wounds, animal/insect bites, dental infections, infected umbilical stumps in newborns (of unimmunized mothers), infected foot ulcers and gunshot wounds.

You cannot contract tetanus from an infected person.

– Spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles (trismus)
– Stiffness of your neck muscles
– Difficulty swallowing
– Stiffness of your abdominal muscles
– Painful body spasms lasting for several minutes, typically triggered by minor occurrences, such as a draft, loud noise, physical touch or light

Possible other symptoms include fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rate. Once the toxin has bonded to the nerve endings, it takes several months for new nerve endings to grow in place. Severe symptoms can lead to broken bones (from the spasms), pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs), and death (by difficulty breathing from spasms).


There is no cure for tetanus, however medication and wound care can ease symptoms. Wound care is essential to prevent the spread of the tetanus spores and should be handled immediately after injury by health personnel. The wound should be kept very clean afterwards.

Make sure your doctor knows when, where and how the injury happened in addition to your immunization record, your wound care and any chronic illness you have. Your doctor will suggest the best course of action and some alternatives.


Being properly immunized can prevent tetanus. If you were not immunized as a child, ask your doctor about the booster shot. If you are traveling abroad to a country where tetanus is common, make sure you are immunized. In general, biannual checkups are beneficial in making sure your immunizations are up to date and you are in good health.

We know you may not always be informed. Neighbors takes pride in educating the community as best we can for the safety and health of all families. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Visit to find the Neighbors Emergency Center nearest you!

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Back to School Safety Tips Thu, 27 Jul 2017 17:21:05 +0000 The post Back to School Safety Tips appeared first on .


The school year is right around the corner, and while you’re sharpening pencils and planning lunches it is important to make sure your child has the most important back to school essential, safety. Make sure your child stays safe this coming August.

Back to school

Transportation Safety

We tell our children to “look both ways,” but we need to continue to make sure children are practicing safe habits on the bus this year. They should stand a safe distance away from the curb when the bus arrives, not walk behind the bus and avoid getting on or off the bus after it has come to a complete stop. Also,  remind them not to run into the street and to follow all crosswalk signs.

If they are old enough to drive, make sure they know the dangers of using their cell phone while driving. They should pay attention to school zone speed limits, wear their seatbelts and use their turn signal. Like your driving student, make sure you as a parent are also practicing safe driving to avoid any accidents, especially around school zones.

Children who are walking home should not be distracted by listening to music in headphones, or by using their phone. They should be fully aware of their surroundings, especially near streets.

Backpack Safety

Heavy and ill-fitting backpacks can be detrimental to a growing body. Encourage your child to pack light and to use a school locker if they have one. Your child’s backpack should match their size in width and length of torso, not extending more than 4 inches below the waist. Making sure their backpack is not too big for their frame will allow them to carry their school supplies easily. When shopping for backpacks look for multiple interior pockets to distribute weight better, thick padded shoulder straps and a back panel.

The American Chiropractic Association recommends that backpacks are no more than 10% of your child’s weight. Rolling backpacks are also warned against as they cause a tripping hazard for other children.

Sports Safety

The start of the school year means soccer practices, dance classes and football games. Make sure your child is wearing the proper safety gear like mouth guards and keeping themselves hydrated. Sports- related injuries can be lessened by learning all the rules of the game and losing the “win-at-all-costs” mentality.

Concussions are very common among contact sports and require immediate medical attention.  Symptoms may include: confusion, forgetfulness, disorientation, clumsiness, slow speech and changes in mood. Your child should feel better in a couple weeks, however symptoms could last longer and affect how they think, act or feel. Knowing the signs and being safe can help your child avoid any serious injury.

Stranger Safety

For young child make sure they memorize essential information like their home address, phone number and how to call 9-1-1. Children who are old enough to stay home alone after school until their parents come home for work should avoid answering phones and opening the door for strangers. Teach them about stranger danger and the importance of paying attention to your surroundings.

We’re always here for you as the Best Neighbors Ever if you happen to experience any unexpected health situations. With short wait times and comfortable waiting areas, Neighbors Emergency Center is  right around the corner from you open 24/7. Visit to find a location nearest you.

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