Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. Last week, Dennis Thompson, from our Spiritual Care Department organized a service in honor of our Veterans. It was really incredible to see how many of our associates and volunteers served our nation - most were dressed in uniform excluding a few who thought their uniform may not fit anymore! Thank you to Jane Hoyland and Jeri Grimes for getting the word out - we had great attendance and everyone was very appreciative of the event.

Happy Memorial Day and thanks to all those who serve and served our country. We remember those who have died for our country.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What an Amazing Picture

Yes, this is a real photo of the funnel clouds forming over Kansas City yesterday. Past to me by Jenn Leonard. I was told it was taken from atop the Bishop-McCann building.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

There is a Funnel Cloud Directly over State Line and 435

A note I shared with our team today...

St.Joseph Medical Center, right off 435 and State Line Road...that's where we work.

Well, today we knew fully well what we were up against with the Joplin devastation just a few days ago. We tuned to our TV to hear the reporter say: "There is a dark funnel cloud directly over State Line and 435 Highway"...directly over us.

I am so proud of the team effort we showed.. Our patients were safe and families and visitors felt the same. We had several people pull off the road and come to St. Joseph for safety. They were so appreciative of the welcome they received.

Here are a couple comments I received:
From Kathleen Henderson: I just got a hold of my sister, who lives in south Overland Park – all is fine. But she wanted to tell me that when she was watching the news when a reporter in Louisburg, KS made this comment: “On a personal note, my relative was at St. Joseph Medical Center when all this was happening. Those folks at St. Joe did a great job of getting all the patients and visitors to a safe place”

From Lindsay Alexander: I was with Nan going from unit to unit to see what we could help with…all units were fabulous. They all had the patients already in the halls. You could over hear them interacting with the patients, they all did so in a calm and courteous way. They were asking all patients what they needed and providing extra blankets to everyone. Respiratory was spot on too. Facilities was out rounding to ensure curtains were shut etc. Just wanted to let you know that I was proud to see that kind of care and team work.

Our daily work is challenging enough without the mix of a natural disaster. Thank you all for your support, compassion and tremendous teamwork this afternoon. We are a true reflection of our mission.

Pride in Our Work

Don't you enjoy hearing why people chose their profession?

Ann Ventrillo RN, our Clinical Quality Specialist with Carondelet Home Care Services shared her story with me...

I also started my health care career as a "candy-striper" but in a home for seniors.
Instant love and wanted to "Save the World" (the 60’s)….went on to Nursing at Avila College where I first met the "sisters"….I had wonderful teachers many of whom are still involved with SJMC today! Sister Rosemary Flanigan, Sister Patricia Lorenz and many others.
I did many of my clinicals at the old St Joseph Hospital on Linwood.

I worked at Catholic Charities Home Health which then became Carondelet Home Care 25 years ago….My passion for home care began in the 1970’s and I was with St Joseph Hosp / Carondelet Home Care until we moved to Memphis, TN in the late 90’s.

I was absolutely thrilled when the administrator of Carondelet Home Care called me last October and asked me to come back.

I told her then, that there is no one else in town that could have called and offered me anything to change companies…..

St Joseph is where my heart has always been. Carondelet Home Care is my passion….It is my privilege to serve. I am blessed.

What's your story?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Healthcare Providers Bearing

I received a note today describing a conversation that Stephanie Dembicki, our OR Specialty Team Lead, had with her 30 year old son. They discussed the challenges in today's healthcare environment and reflected on conversations they had in their past. Her son gave this some thought and reflected on the term "bearing":

This is what he wrote to his mom:

"Bearing" simply means behaving with decorum and discipline. Additionally, one demonstrates bearing through being composed, tactful, polite, neat in appearance, and carrying out the highest level of professionalism. A person with great bearing is someone who can handle himself or herself calmly while being under extreme pressure. In boot camp, soldiers are taught never to lose their bearing. Rolling one’s eyes or complaining is an example of someone losing their bearing. Bearing is just as important in healthcare as in the military, and for the same reasons – people’s lives are at stake. Bearing is also defined by having the integrity to do the morally right action even when no one is watching, and the integrity that one takes upon oneself in order to responsibly carry out the task at hand. Every action one takes in this job directly or indirectly affects this organization’s ability to accomplish the mission. It is important to remember that we are in the business of saving people’s lives.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Tornado Hits Joplin

By now most of you have heard about the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri. The warnings were coming and it certainly makes you stop and think...are we prepared?

In our hospitals, we go through several emergency preparation drills each years and certainly some real emergencies as well. It seems that you can't practice enough and you wrestle with the balance of the need to practice more and the time needed to practice. I have seen pictures on the Internet and through those sent by people I know down in Joplin. We have two nurse leaders assisting in Joplin, Collette Culver and Barb Swords. There has been a tremendous amount of devastation to the community and St. John's Regional Medical Center.

Times like this make us look at our own systems to determine how are training would have prepared us if this devastation touched home. We will have internal debriefings and additional drills to further prepare our team and community.

Our thoughts are with the medical center's CEO, Gary Pulsipher, their staff and the entire Joplin community.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Celebrating 475 Years

Today is our Associate Recognition Luncheon. We are celebrating 40 associates and 475 years of service. Congratulations everyone.

Years / Associate
5 Tamara Foster
5 Robyn Freiden
5 Fizeta Halili
5 Cynthia Creek
5 Jill Morsbach
5 Thomas Upton
5 Diane Moser
5 Danielle Iselin
5 Sharon Dessert
5 Kristina Vansandt
5 Beth Laughery
5 Kevin Saugier
5 Kelise Fuselier
5 Amara Shea O'Dell
10 Jerri Keller
10 Kimberly Swaney
10 Regina Brooks
10 Alison Lock
10 Tracy Diaz
10 Duane Nelson
10 Lea Payne
10 Georgia Blackman
10 Lorine Thomas
10 Sara Kreisel
10 Melissa Randolph
10 Leann Scrogham
10 Cheryl Parrett
15 Kathy Lefever
15 Kathleen Carr
15 Vicki Hathaway
15 Donna McLear
15 Kathleen Lahey
20 Jeffrey Lee
20 Pamela Stuart
20 Melinda Frechin
25 Susan Summerour
25 Barbara Burnett
30 Hazel Slater
30 Sheryl Kusgen
30 Gerri Ginsburg

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hey Kids, Look at the Humans

Yesterday I was running in my neighborhood and came across two deer. They both stopped and looked over at me. I stopped running as well to take in the moment. It took me back to the days when my parents used to say, "kids, look at the horses, deer, cows..." This time it seemed as though one deer said to another, "kid, look at the human!"

I really enjoy those moments that take you back in time to remember when you were a kid, why you did the things you did and what brought you to where you are today. I started out in healthcare as a psychiatric counselor for 5 years. As I explored doctoral programs, I looked into healthcare administration as a "back-up" option. When interviewing with different schools, I was drawn to healthcare administration and thought I could make a bigger difference in this field given my clinical background.

During our recent Safety Huddles, we have started or ended with several people sharing what inspired them to get into healthcare. Vicki Sherwood shared "My grandmother had a stroke when I was a senior in high school. I was vacillating on pursuing nursing or social work. The experience led me to choose nursing. I love helping others."

We also enjoyed similar stories from Erik Christianson and Larry Reimer from Human Resources and Facilities, respectively. Both said, they wanted an occupation where they could work indoors! We all have our own story that inspired us and brought us where are are today.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Standardization with Attention to Outliers

There's no question that standardization can and will decrease potential harm to our patients. We hear about it through The Institute for Healthcare Improvement, other national forums and locally in each of our hospitals. Certainly, these should be scientifically driven. This morning, during one of our physician led surgical meetings, we discussed generic incision care instructions and further opportunities to standardize. We referenced the current literature and key areas where we need to tailor the instructions to each patient, outside of any standard protocol.

As we reviewed best practices for incision care, someone shared a case they heard about where a post surgical infection took place because the patient allowed his cat to lick his surgical incision. Sure, a drastic outlier however a reason to ensure we tailor instructions accordingly and discuss potential concerns with all patients.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good Mojo

How many of you have it too easy in your professional and personal life? Really...that many!

Have you ever heard someone use the term "good mojo" meaning personal magnetism or charm? Here's a few people who embody that spirit.

This afternoon, I ran into (not literally) a couple of my favorite walkers, Dr. and Mrs. Buchli. They are celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary (plus 3 years together before their wedding) and have only been apart for 21 days...they are just crazy about each other and are always by each others' side. You could just feel their commitment and energy towards each other.

A little later, I connected with a friend, Dave Kraft...the guy is always upbeat. Sure we all have good days and bad. However, someone forgot to give Dave the memo. While in a philosophical mode, I asked what he considers a bad day. His response, "I'll let you know when I have one!" Oh, and he was truly sincere.

When you find those people and they are truly sincere, their good energy can flow right through you....make sure you catch it!

Nursing Awards

This week brought a lot of celebration and reasons to be proud of the way we serve our mission. Here are a few of our associates and physicians who were recognized as going above and beyond through our Nursing Week celebration on Thursday...

Physician of the Year
Winner: Patrick Perkins, MD
David Blick
Timothy Blackburn
Rene Bollier
Robert Bowen
Cosmo Caruso
Neil Erickson
Dan Geha
David Hobley
John Holkins
John Lee
Craig Lundgren
Chris McElhinney
Michael Reilly
Timothy Smith
Shawn Willson

RN Nursing Excellence Award
Lacey Brown - Mother/Baby
Stephanie Dembicki - OR
Joyce Kerkove - Endoscopy
Shea O'Dell - Float Pool
Nona Cogdill - 4 West
Collette Culver - House Supervisor
Judy Doehling - OP Oncology
Jean Donaldson - Admissions
Jenna Einhellig - 4 South
Debbie Goodwin - 4 South
Deb Haverkamp - CCU
Pam Hazen - CCU
Paula Ising - ICU
Ashley Kastler - PACU
Brooke Lutz - 4 West
Michelle Meyer - Cath Lab
Shandra Miller - Float Pool
Patty Murphy - 5 North
Candy Quillin - GI Lab/Pain Clinic
Amanda Roland - 4 West
Pam Scovill - CCU
Theresa Thome - CCU
Catherine Tibbs - 4 North
Nancy Walrafen - 4 North
Chelsea Wekenbor - 4 East
Regina Wilson - Emergency
All of the nurses in Interventional Radiology

Rookie of the Year
Jordan Callahan - 4 West
Melissa Ramsey - Emergency

Erin Cleary - 4 East
Taylor Coyle - CCU
Sarah Krumsick - 3 West
Chao Li - 4 South
Ashley Libich - 4 East
Jamie Lyle - 5 South
Gina Pusateri - PACU
Amanda Roland - 4 West
Allison Wilkerson - 4 South

PCA/Tech of the Year
Sheri Britt - 5 North
Tom Upton - Emergency
John Campbell - Emergency
Delta Eggers - 4 East
Charlotte Fristoe - CCU
Verna Fasl - Pain Clinic
Jodi Kemp - 3 West
Natalie Lane - 5 North
Sherree Lee - 4 North
Amanda McCanles - 3 West
Carrie McGee - 4 West
Rosa Rome - 4 West
Andrea Woods - Endoscopy

Unit Secretary of the Year
Stephanie Boresow - 5 North
Godlove Kuklenski - 4 West
Nicole Buzan - 4 West
Julie Chrisman - OR
Pat Collins - Professional Practice
Sharon Dessert - Infection Control
Rae Freas - 4 East
James Hartness - Emergency
Janet Hefner - Emergency
Tammy Linningham - 4 North
Marsha Quinn - CCU
Carolyn Taylor - 4 South

Team of the Year Winner: 4 West
3 West
4 North
4 South
4 East
5 North
Admissions Unit
Case management
Cath Lab
Interventional Radiology
IV Team
Nursing Resources
Professional Practice

Interdisciplinary Award of Excellence:
Respiratory Therapy

Monday, May 9, 2011

How Would You Like to See What Your Hospital is Really Like?

What's your orientation like? Does it meet your needs?

Well, when I started at St. Joseph Medical Center, John Cottitta, Jr, one of our front desk volunteers, asked if I wanted to work with him. He said something like, "young man, how would you like to work with me and see what your hospital is really like?" How could I resist. John showed me the ropes and oriented me to the front desk responsibilities, answering phone calls and visitors' questions. Everyone knew John - he was clearly the "Mayor" of the front desk. Now granted, John thought there was a lot of improvement I needed at the front desk and he never missed an opportunity to provide guidance on my regular day job either.

A couple weeks ago, I included John's volunteer hours from our annual event - he clocked in the most hours with over 18,600 hours over 27 years...the equivalent of almost 9 years of full time work hours - as our volunteer. Recently, John became ill and had to took a leave from his post.

My friend, John, died yesterday just shy of his 87th birthday. We will miss you John. We are so appreciative of your dedication to our mission, the lives you touched and the difference you made.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Let Me Speak to Your Manager

We live busy lives and humor certainly adds levity to it. I enjoy people with a good sense of humor. Let me be clear that the humor of others needs to be gaged in each situation...

Have you ever been asked, "Who is your direct supervisor? What is your manager's name and number?" I know that can be frustrating and demoralizing on several levels. You get a sense that you were not able to resolve the situation to the other person's satisfaction. They are contacting your manager to get a different decision or outcome than you have provided. To make matters worse, you now have to supply your manager's contact information and give your manager a heads up that the call may be coming their way. Does this apply to our lives outside of work? I think so. Just this weekend, I asked my kids to take care of some things. Their respectful answer, "but mom said..." What did that tell me? They already knew our manager's name and contact information and they already received a different decision than I was requesting!

Happy Mother's Day to our favorite heroes.

Now, back to that person who was unsatisfied with your decision... Would they find the humor if you gave the name and number of "the manager" in your personal life? Probably not! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm The One Calling at 3am

I'm the one who calls you at 3am...

That's what Dr. Tom Millard said when Dr. Bernie Judy reached across to introduce himself during our medical staff golf, tennis and fitness afternoon.

As an ER physician, Dr. Millard has to make those 3am calls to other physicians and knows that no one wants to be woken up! Dr. Judy let him know that he always appreciates his calls as he only gets them when there is a real need.

Yesterday, during our event, it just reinforced the benefit of camaraderie among colleagues. We work together professionally and may really never get a chance to know the each other on a more personal level.

Sure, there are always appropriate professional and personal boundaries and work - getting to know about each others' families and hobbies is certainly okay. In fact, those relationships will further the care we provide and improve the ways we support each other.

And getting to meet the voice at the other end of the phone after several years of talking...priceless.


Picture of me and Annette Small, our CEO for St. Mary's Medical Center. Over the past couple of weeks, we have been together at many events and gatherings. We are starting to feel like "Flat Stanley" getting pictures together all over the city!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Just Need Some Mayo

Could having mayo packets improve the patient experience? Clearly mayo is part of the support cast for a broader meal!

We always strive to create an incredible experience for our patients and families. Many times it comes down to the little things we do.

Yesterday, I saw a man walking around the corridors outside the nursing unit. I asked if I could help him. He looked at my name badge and I could clearly see that he felt the CEO could not help this situation! He then gave it a shot and said that he just needs some mayo packets. He was right, I was going to struggle on this one as I did not have the code to our food galley (per policy, that was ok). I went and found Kellie Israel, one of our Food & Nutrition Associates. When I asked for the code to the galley she politely said that she would get the mayo for me out of the galley (again per policy - great work Kellie).

While I waited with the man, he let me know that the care was great and his wife enjoyed the food. He just needed mayo. He then let me know that his wife was had terminal cancer and he was just trying to spend as much time with her as possible before she dies. And it hit me as I thought about it...he left her side to get the mayo which took him away from his wife. Even if just for a few minutes, I knew and could tell he wanted that time with her.

These are times that I reflect on the ability for all of us to impact the experience for our patients, families and each other for that matter.

When we find ourselves in these situations, we need to continue to mine for ways that we could improve, enhance or just change a process to get the outcomes and experience we expect.

For those of us in healthcare, we each can play a critical role in in supporting each other and supporting our patients & families. All of us have the ability to make the difference in the lives of others and each other. Just those little things that make the difference.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Afternoon...

A note I shared with our team today...

What inspires you? Who inspired you recently?

Today, I received a letter from a family bragging about the care and compassion provided while her husband was here. Specifically she wrote, "my husband had a heart attack and was quickly taken to the Cath Lab where we encountered four fabulous nurses; Kim Bruno, Kim Graham, Christine and Catherine (the PILLOW fluffer). From the minute we arrived they helped to put us at ease with their compassion, professionalism and friendliness. My husband (the typical Macho Man) had never been so scared in his life and they were all able to calm him with understandable explanations about everything that was going on and about what would be happening. They did this with continual cheerfulness and thoughtfulness. We are sure that they do many procedures each day yet they made my husband feel as if his was the most important one they had ever done or will ever do. There was nothing routine. They were caring, cheerful and simply perfect in every way."

Last week, we held our April Associate of the Month reception honoring Pam Hazen, RN on our CCU. One way I would describe Pam would be her welcoming approach. As I round the hospital it is easy to see when areas are very busy. What I do look for is the welcome we provide each other no matter how busy we are through our day. Isn't that the acknowledgment we all enjoy from each other?

This morning, Joseph Jones from Environmental Services greeted me with a simple "Good Morning!" He was truly present when greeting me. As basic as it is, sometimes we lose sight of that simple "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon." Those statements are actually a blessing and not just an evaluation of the day.

The welcome and greeting we provide each other, our, patients and families is one way that we make St. Joseph Medical Center and Carondelet Health a better place for our patients. This is part of the culture of who we are and the mission we serve. Hospitals can be scary places when you are the one feeling vulnerable. Many times our patients and families have a lot of questions and that calls for us to welcome them even more often.

Thank you for making the consistent effort to welcome each other, our patients and our families.

In addition, during our Safety Huddle, one of our managers noted that there are times when a patient is waiting to get on an elevator but it is full. It was requested that we step off the busy elevator to allow room for the patient and we all agreed. That is just one more thing I love about our culture...our willingness to quickly adjust as needed to better serve our patients, each other and our mission.

Wishing you all a great week.