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“Grateful to Call You My Colleague and My Friend”: Leigh and Robin’s Special Bond

Mar 11 2022

During Women’s History Month, we’re sharing the stories of women celebrating women across our organization.

Leigh Sewell (pictured above, left), president of Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center (MRMC) and Bon Secours Rappahannock General Hospital, recently took time to reflect on this month by recognizing the accomplishments of women and taking an opportunity to uplift other women looking to make an impact.

“Pursue a career you love… that you feel is your calling,” Leigh shares. “When you do, it is not really ‘work’ because you truly feel like you are making a difference every single day. Follow your heart and follow your passions. If you do that, you will be making a difference and inspiring others.”

For Leigh, serving as hospital president is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling as she lives out her true calling. She draws inspiration from working closely with her nursing partner, Robin Johnson (pictured above, right), chief nursing officer of MRMC, which is a 225-bed facility. Together, they’re making an impact in the Richmond, Va. area.

“Robin’s passion is what inspires me most,” Leigh says. “She is so passionate about delivering excellent patient care in every encounter, every day. She is not only a tireless advocate for patients but also for the practice of nursing.”

Leigh continues, “when I started at MRMC almost 16 years ago, Robin was the nurse manager in the labor and delivery unit and I was the supply chain director for the facility. Even then, I was in awe of Robin’s dedication to her unit, her staff and her patients. Robin is always going to do the right thing and fight for what she believes in… she’s truly living out our mission by being a tireless advocate for the poor, vulnerable and underserved.”

Their foundation of trust and partnership, which started years ago, continues to encourage Leigh today.

“Robin sets the highest standards for nursing and patient care, always holding her team accountable,” Leigh shares. “Watching Robin in action every day inspires me to always give 150 percent to everything that I do. Believe it or not, nursing was actually a second career for Robin. You would never know that because I think she was born to be a nurse. It is in her blood. Robin is like the Energizer Bunny. She is always ‘on.’ Whether she is at the hospital or on the phone with a nursing supervisor at midnight or coming in at 4 a.m. to help the team, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone more committed.”

Leigh also adds that Robin is a caregiver at heart no matter where she is.

“Several months ago, she was on an airplane traveling home with her husband from a vacation in Florida. After she boarded the plane, she noticed a passenger who was escorted on board with a medical transport and he was actually bleeding profusely from his leg. She immediately put on some gloves and jumped up and assisted the medic in caring for the gentleman. Come to find out, this gentleman’s son, who had not yet boarded the plane, had flown to Florida to remove his father from a skilled nursing facility where he was concerned about his medical care, and was moving him back to Virginia. Ironically, the gentleman’s son is the ultrasound supervisor at MRMC and has worked for Bon Secours for 20-plus years. He was so grateful for Robin’s intervention and once they landed in Richmond, the gentleman was taken to MRMC Emergency Department and was admitted. Throughout the patient’s stay, Robin visited and checked on the patient. This also isn’t the first time Robin has been on a plane and sprung into action when medical care was needed.”

Leigh thanks Robin for the way she truly embodies servant leadership by doing whatever it takes to provide outstanding health care to patients.

“I could not ask for a more compassionate, inspiring leader to lead nursing at MRMC,” Leigh says. “Robin, you never cease to amaze me in the passion, energy and enthusiasm that you bring to the hospital every single day… and not infrequently at night or on weekends. I know you would not have it any other way. I am so grateful to call you my colleague and my friend.”

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