By Karla Ramberger
Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
It’s no surprise that Americans voted nurses the most trusted profession in the country for the 13th time in 14 years in a 2012 Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards. In fact, the nursing profession has been regarded as one of the most honorable for decades. In 1954, the first national observance of National Nurses Week was established, marking the 100th anniversary of nursing profession pioneer Florence Nightingale’s mission to treat wounded soldiers during the Crimean War.
Over the years, the week has become the time to celebrate nurses who give of themselves to care for others. So let’s take time to pause and publicly thank nurses for their dedication and service.
been thinking about the many ways we thank our terrific team of nurses at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. It’s amazing how easy it is to express thanks, some formal and others more informal. Here’s my list of 10 ways to thank nurses for the unbelievable job they do day in and day out.
- Saying “thank you” is the No. 1 way to appreciate our nurses. Take time to verbally acknowledge the contribution a nurse has made to a patient’s well-being. It’s the simplest way to convey a sense of appreciation.
- Tell families how much their nurse means to you. At Methodist Dallas, our nurse managers write personal notes of praise and send to the nurses’ homes so they can share with their family members.
- Write a thank-you note. Many times, patients and their families take the time to put their feelings of appreciation on paper. These notes are shared during staff meetings to single out recipients for recognition. Reading notes of praise is powerful and meaningful.
- Recognize your peers. At Methodist Health System, employees can formally recognize their co-workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide superior care for their patients and support for their co-workers.
- Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Department and hospital-wide parties to recognize, thank, and reward nurses for their services are perfect ways to say thank you. Methodist has a long-standing tradition of holding monthly G.R.E.A.T. Award celebrations.
- Create categories of thanks. Methodist thanks nurses for many things including the best patient experience, the best quality, and the best job performance.
- Work with your public relations staff to develop stories about outstanding nurses. These snapshots of excellence provide wonderful ways to thank nurses via internal communications and external publicity through print and broadcast media.
- Provide an opportunity for a nurse to shine as a mentor and preceptor. At Methodist, mentors and preceptors are highly valued for their experience and expertise.
- Create an on-the-spot recognition program. Who wouldn’t want to receive instant recognition from a co-worker, a manager, or someone else in the hospital? A lunch coupon, a pat on the back, and surprise pizza parties for groups of nurses are all great ways to show appreciation.
- Thank others as you would want to be thanked. As we get to know our nurses, we learn which ones appreciate public recognition, while others prefer private recognition.
If you’re ready to join an organization that continually looks for ways to appreciate and thank its nurses, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System, where careers shine bright. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Sherry George, LCSW
Social Work Manager
Methodist Richardson Medical Center
Aah, the holidays … full of laughter, full of spirit, full of stress. How can you make it through the holidays without getting stressed out? That’s an age-old question that has been asked by countless generations. Between shopping, party planning, cooking, the dynamics of family get-togethers, financial pressures, and more, it’s no wonder that many people are counting the days until the holidays are over and the new year begins.
As a health care worker, caring for patients during the holidays, especially critically ill patients, can be more stressful than normal. The fact is the holidays are charged with emotions. Couple that with sick patients and family expectations on top of personal obligations and responsibilities, and there may be the potential for a meltdown.
Technology is also an added stressor. A constant need to check our phones for text messages and emails is not only stressful, it also tends to distract us from focusing on what’s really important — family and friends. Holidays are about relationships, and the best way to build and maintain good relationships is through face-to-face time where true communication takes place.
Stress isn’t pretty. It can take a physical and emotional toll on all of us. Stress can make us feel tense, cause us to lose sleep, give us headaches, make us feel tired and anxious, cause us to be irritable, and sometimes, even depressed.
- Have an attitude of gratitude. Misery and gratitude cannot occupy the same space in our psychological house. We have the power to choose between these emotional states. Are you seeing the glass half full or half empty?
- Keep your expectations balanced. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Some things will go wrong. You won’t get everything you want. Remember, worrying about things that are out of your control is useless and stressful.
- Don’t try to do too much. Taking on too many tasks and obligations can dampen your spirits to the point of exhaustion. No wonder people get cranky, irritable, and depressed. Learn to say no. Delegate as much as possible and manage your time wisely.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t sit at home feeling left out. Get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the holiday sights, or volunteer to help others.
- Don’t overspend. Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. There are an abundance of unstructured, low-cost, fun holiday activities available for you and your family. Try window shopping, a trip to the country for lunch, an excursion to look at holiday lights, and more.
- Get some sunlight. Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days or gloomy weather. Twenty minutes of sun a day can lessen the seasonal blues.
- Don’t overindulge. Be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. Loading up on fats and sweets is likely to cause you to have less energy, make you feel guilty, and feel more stressed. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
- Plan ahead. Many people purposely avoid the mall to avoid the stress associated with a crowd of shoppers. Instead, shopping online and preplanning for parties and other holiday events can prevent last-minute scrambling.
- Learn acceptance. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Be understanding if others get upset if things go wrong. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals change as well. Choose a few cherished traditions to carry through the years and be open to creating new ones.
- Give yourself a break. Create time for yourself devoted to doing things you love to do. If you can’t take care of yourself, it’s harder to care for others. Just 15 minutes alone without distractions may be the refresher you need to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night to gaze at the stars. Listen to soothing sounds of the season. Find something to reduce your stress and clear your mind.
At Methodist Health System, taking care of each other is just as important as taking care of our patients. If you care about your career and are ready to practice in a mutually supportive environment, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
America has a wonderful, unique tradition of setting aside one day each year to give thanks for our many blessings. While many feel that this spirit of thankfulness should be observed daily, I’m proud to say that thanking and appreciating
each other is our culture at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
We are especially thankful for our nurses and for their personal commitment to caring and dedication to our patients. I’m thankful that our nurses choose to be a part of our family, and that each one is dedicated to excellence in care. They could work anywhere, but they’ve chosen to align with our values and care for our patients. I’m thankful for their heartfelt compassion and connection with our patients, something that can’t be taught, but something we definitely look for when we’re hiring caregivers.
Vision is critical, and our hospital has the goal to be the best. Our leadership team works to support our nursing staff each day. They realize that nurses are what make a hospital great.
I’m also thankful that I was a bedside nurse. This experience has equipped me to understand and represent our nurses in my day-to-day responsibilities. That’s why I’m a firm believer in thanking and rewarding our nursing staff by providing opportunity for meaningful career development and leadership advancement.
Top 10 lists are certainly in vogue these days, and I want to share with you my top 10 reasons I’m thankful for our nurses:
- For the sacrifices they make each day for others.
- For working nights, weekends, and holidays, and not choosing a traditional 8-to-5 job.
- For being patient advocates and speaking up on behalf of our patients.
- For being willing to continue to learn about the latest advances and grow in their position.
- For sharing a vision for excellence in care and being dedicated to the vision.
- For their high level of professionalism.
- For their dedication to each patient and family experience.
- For choosing Methodist Dallas over other hospitals as the place to grow their careers.
- For making Methodist a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal for the ninth year.
- For caring about each other.
I often hear our caregivers say, “I’m just a nurse.” But in truth, what they think is ordinary is actually extraordinary! From reviving someone who’s collapsed to comforting a family member to holding a tiny baby fighting for life, they’re so much more than “just a nurse.”
It’s an honor to serve in my nursing leadership role, and a privilege to be the voice for our front-line nurses every day. Please know my thankfulness and gratitude extends beyond just one day a year. I’m thankful for your presence, your skills, and your compassion, every single day.
If you’re looking for a rewarding place to develop your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Kay Kirby
Human Resources Business Partner
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Fall is a great time to reflect and take action on things that need to be done. It’s time to take care of maintenance on the house and plant some fall flowers. It’s time to shore up your finances to withstand the holiday spending spree. And it’s time to review your resume. Yes, your resume.
Think about it: Your resume is your business face to the world. It’s your calling card to prospective employers. It’s the sum of your business life and a glimpse into your personal life. Don’t you think it deserves as much thought and preparation as the many other components of your life?
I speak from experience when I say that most resumes could benefit from a little tender loving care. While clinicians excel at caring for others, they tend to neglect caring for themselves and that includes maintaining a healthy resume.
How important is a resume? Pretty darned important. Today, most companies don’t
want to deal with paper documents, so they request electronic versions of applicants’ resumes. When you submit a resume online, it is immediately integrated into the employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS). The challenge is to make sure that your resume is in the correct format so it can be uploaded into the ATS. Keep in mind that uploaded resumes generally lose most of their formatting, so don’t spend a lot of time and money on special fonts and printed resumes. Instead, invest your time in the tone and content of your resume.
Here are the 10 most common mistakes applicants make in their resumes:
1. Too long. Limit your resume to one to two pages max, depending on your level of experience. Some professions require a more detailed curriculum vitae, but that’s not a resume.
2. Riddled with mistakes. Unfortunately, I see far too many resumes with misspellings, incorrect grammar, unparalleled construction, and subject/verb disagreement. Review your resume several times before considering it final. Have a friend review it with a fresh set of eyes. It’s amazing what another person’s review might reveal.
3. Too wordy. Be succinct. Develop your resume based on who is going to look at it. Make it relevant to the position in which you are interested. Tailor the content to the specific job opening.
4. A laundry list of accomplishments that defy measurement. If you can’t measure it, don’t list it. Instead, can you figure out a way to apply a metric to it? For example, stating you are a team player or that you have led a team is not measurable. Instead, communicate the valuable results that your team or leadership produced for the organization.
5. Not including a comprehensive, complete review of your work experience. Don’t include too many details, but do include all previous work experience, even if it’s outside of health care. Omission of work experience can be viewed as falsification of information and experience. It can still be valuable to a hiring manager to know that you worked part-time at a fast-food restaurant while attending college, for instance. Always include your title, past employer’s name, and time frame in which you held the position.
6. Unorganized formatting. Your resume should be a thoughtful document that flows logically and presents an accurate reflection of you at specific points in time along your career continuum. Experience and education sections should be in reverse chronological order with the most current information listed first.
7. Omission of certifications. Your resume needs to help you stand out from the crowd of applicants vying for the position. Always include awards, certifications, and specific examples of recognition you have received. Also, be sure to highlight any special projects in which you were involved.
8. Clear, accurate contact information. You’d be surprised at the high percentage of resumes that don’t include basic information such as name, address, cell phone number, and email address. Make sure the email address is professional, not a personal email address like email@example.com.
9. Facts that don’t add up. Make sure your cover letter and resume agree when it comes to whom the documents are addressed and to what job they are targeted. We often get resumes that include a cover letter or objectives that address another company or position.
10. An ineffective cover letter. Your cover letter is your opening introduction to the prospective employer. It’s your personal elevator speech and can make or break the opportunity for an interview. Again, succinctness and accuracy are guideposts for a cover letter that will produce the desired results.
Here are some final thoughts on your resume. Never include a photo on or with the resume. You can include a link to your LinkedIn page, but links to other social sites such as Facebook are probably not a good idea. If you have networked with someone inside the company to which you are applying, be sure to include his or her name when you apply via the ATS. Finally, before you push the send button, be sure you proof one last time.
If your resume is in tip-top shape, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Joben Rieth, RN, BS, MBA
Director of Emergency Services, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Does a full moon mean higher emergency department (ED) volumes? Will more women really go into labor? Halloween conjures up thoughts of black cats, werewolves, and other superstitions, so that begs the question, “What’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to health?”
ED nurses will tell you that patient volume goes up during the full moon. This year, the full moon falls on Monday, October 29, a night sure to be filled with parties, tricks, and treats. In labor and delivery, clinicians say it’s busier the day before, day of, and day after the full moon. There is no conclusive evidence to support these observations, but here’s what we do know about the full moon and other medical myths.
Tale: ED visits increase during holidays.
Fact: On Halloween, the ED sees an increase in finger and hand injuries, cuts, and broken bones in children. For adults, alcohol is often involved. Alcohol impairs balance and judgment, so driving while intoxicated isn’t the only issue. Using power tools under the influence, decorating, climbing on ladders, and a host of other activities can become more dangerous when alcohol is in the mix.
Tale: Seizures are brought on by a full moon.
Fact: Researchers at the University of Patras Medical School in Greece studied 859 patients treated for seizures and found a “significant clustering of seizures” around the time of a full moon. They aren’t sure why, but what we do know is that there seems to be a link with riskier behavior and a full moon on a weekend. Do we change our staffing in the ED when there’s a full moon? No. We staff according to historic statistics, which show that Sunday and Monday are traditionally busier in the ED than other days of the week.
Tale: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Fact: While some experts say the only way an apple will keep a doctor away is if you throw it at him or her, several recent studies have suggested that the high levels of phenolics contained in apples work as a potent antioxidant that can reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer. In addition, a recent study from researchers at Ithaca, New York–based Cornell University suggests that apples may also stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
Tale: Feed a cold, starve a fever.
Fact: Regardless of your illness, the bottom line is that your body needs energy in order to overcome the illness. Your best bet if you’re feeling under the weather? Stay home, drink plenty of fluids, and eat your normal, nutritionally sound diet.
As for staying out of the ED this Halloween and throughout the fall season, here are some tips for you and your family:
- Don’t eat any candy without sealed wrappers. You can’t guarantee safety or good hygiene with unwrapped items.
- Make sure costumes are reflective for safety when crossing streets.
- If you want to paint your face, be sure to read the label to ensure the product is safe for face application.
- If you’re going into neighborhoods you aren’t familiar with, be careful. Go in pairs with adults.
- Also, remember that this is the season for Halloween, tailgating parties, fairs, and fun. If you choose to drink an alcoholic beverage, be responsible and get a designated driver.
At Methodist Health System, we help take away the fear of finding a job that works for you. For more information, visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Cancer Program Manager
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Fred Astaire and the top hat. Chubby Checker and “The Twist.” Michael Jackson, the sequin glove, and the moonwalk. “Dancing with the Stars” and the mirror ball trophy. Over the years, dance has had its iconic associations. With the arrival of October, we take time to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a new dance association, the Pink Glove.
Several years ago, latex glove supplier Medline began producing pink gloves to call attention to the monthlong observance. In 2009, Medline rolled out a dance video as a way to increase awareness of breast cancer and its support of the effort to battle and defeat the disease. A 2010 sequel involved more than 4,000 people from across the nation, including hundreds of survivors and their families. Everyone involved knew they were onto something when the video received more than 13 million views on YouTube.
The Pink Glove Dance video continued to take on a life of its own as Medline launched the first competition in 2011, and 139 individuals and organizations submitted entries. Judging was through online voting, and a hospital from South Carolina was crowned the winner with more than 61,000 votes.
In 2011, Pink Glove Dance fever spread to Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. This year Methodist Dallas Medical Center also joined the competition. We produced a video that features eight breast cancer survivors and represents 17 departments, including volunteer services, environmental services, information services, labor and delivery, clinical outcomes management, human resources, and more. The video is set to Katie Perry’s A Part of Me that includes these lyrics: “This is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me, no.”
The underlying theme of the video is things that cancer can’t take from you. Participants in the video wear T-shirts imprinted with words like “beauty and friends,” “hope and love,” “family and peace,” “faith and joy,” “life and support,” “dreams and spirit,” “courage and strength,” and “survival and health.” The choreography is built around boxing as participants try to knock out cancer.
The Pink Glove Dance video has been a unifying experience as staff members from throughout the hospital have come together to rally around our breast cancer patients and their individual journeys to well-being. We want to help them find a support system that works best for them and, in doing so, we connect with each one in the way that provides the resources that are best suited to their specific situation. We think the video is also a great way to remind women about the importance of yearly mammography, reinforcing our commitment to early detection and screening.
At Methodist Dallas, we had a ball producing the video. In fact, we learned a few things that may be helpful to other hospitals as they create their videos:
- Keep it simple.
- Keep it fun.
- The more participants, the merrier.
- Trust your co-workers to come up with something creative. They won’t let you down.
- Always feature survivors, lots of survivors. They’re the real stars of the video.
- Share the completed video with all employees. At Methodist Dallas, we included our video in our September G.R.E.A.T. Award celebration, which helps us recognize exceptional staff and encourage Giving Recognition for Excellence, Achievement, and Teamwork. We will also show it at each of our Employee Forum sessions, in staff meetings, at physician section meetings, at community outreach events, and at survivor support groups, and we will put it on our recruitment and general websites.
To see the Methodist Dallas and Methodist Mansfield 2012 Pink Glove Dance videos, visit PinkGloveDance.com. We welcome and appreciate your vote! The Pink Glove Dance Competition 2012 will begin at noon CST on October 12 and will close at midnight on October 26. Winners will be announced on November 2, 2012.
If you’re ready to ready to kick up your heels with an organization that provides a fun, caring environment, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Allison Vo, RN, BSN, OCN
Cancer Program Manager
Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Picture this. It’s 7 p.m. Monday evening. You’re headed to the breast imaging center to have your mammogram. You pull your car up to the entrance and are met by a friendly valet who parks your car. An escort guides you to the imaging center where you are greeted by a friendly staff member who offers you a mock-tail (an alcohol-free beverage) and healthy snacks such as fruit, cheese, and crackers. You’re then ushered into a private room where you slip into a fluffy pink robe to the strains of soft music and aromatherapy. As you wind down, a nurse navigator introduces herself and takes you to the imaging suite, where a caring technician explains what the mammogram involves and what to expect. After the procedure, you change into your street clothes and are escorted back to the lounge where you receive a chair massage and hand scrub. Amid congratulations for taking time to care for yourself and your health, you are offered a freshly cut gerbera daisy, a bag of pink M&Ms, and a chilled bottle of water for the ride home. Perhaps best of all, you’re assured that you will receive your test results via a personal call within 24 hours. Not your mother’s mammogram experience, you say? Welcome to Monday Night Mammos at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.
What began as a pilot program in early 2012 has become a much-anticipated event by women who have come to rely on Methodist Dallas for their well-being. Women have told us they love the experience, not a usual response when asked to describe their last mammogram.
By adding relaxation and pampering to the mammography experience, we’ve managed to strike a chord that resonates with women of all ages. “Finally, I don’t dread getting a mammogram,” one woman told me. “You treated me like a queen,” another said. The personal, caring touch is a hallmark of the entire mammography experience. And I think we’re onto something!
While the extra touches set the Methodist Dallas mammography experience apart from other area imaging centers, state-of-the-art digital technology and medical expertise are the foundation of our breast screening program. If, for some reason, the mammogram shows abnormal results, our breast health nurse navigator calls the woman the day after her procedure to answer her questions and schedule follow-up diagnostic testing. We follow the American Cancer Society screening guidelines, which recommend a baseline mammogram between 35 and 40 years of age and an annual mammogram after 40. If a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family, we strongly recommend she discuss the timing of her mammogram with her physician.
The Monday Night Mammos program is offered on the last Monday of every month (except for Memorial Day), as well as the first four Mondays in October in recognition of breast cancer awareness month. A similar program is offered at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. An appointment is required (visit www.MethodistHealthSystem.org/MondayMammos for information), and Methodist Health System bills your health insurance company directly for the charges.
The program is ideal for women ages 40 and older who are due a regular screening mammogram. In fact, we encourage our employees to take advantage of the opportunity to be pampered, because like most women, we as caregivers are so busy caring for others, that we forget to take care of ourselves.
Methodist Charlton and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers also offer imaging centers. What’s more, Methodist’s Women’s Imaging Centers are among only about 30 percent of breast imaging centers in the United States to offer a softer digital mammogram, which makes the exam more comfortable.
Today, we are seeing younger women diagnosed with breast disease, so we are committed to educating women about the importance of beginning breast self-exam when they are in their 20s. In addition, women should have an annual breast exam by a qualified medical professional. Our commitment to educating women about prevention and early detection of breast disease extends beyond the Methodist campuses. Through our mobile units and community partnerships with organizations such as the Bridge Breast Network, YMCA, University of North Texas, and Dallas Cancer Disparities Community Coalition, as well as funding from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we are able to sponsor a breast screening program for uninsured and underserved women.
If you’re ready to join an innovative team of caregivers, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Greg Davidson, MBA
Methodist Dallas Medical Center Golden Cross Academic Clinic
I am one of the fortunate few who get to do what I’ve always wanted to do. I started volunteering in hospitals when I was 13 years old. Over the years, I realized I wanted to serve a population of underserved individuals by running a clinic just like the Methodist Dallas Medical Center Golden Cross Academic Clinic. It’s a perfect fit for me, and I’m at peace knowing that my life’s mission is in tune with the path that my career has followed.
How about you? Have you thought about your mission in life? What’s your overall purpose? Without goals, it’s easy for people to drift from job to job, never really achieving a feeling of satisfaction. Fortunately, when you ask most health care professionals why they pursued health care as a career, they often cite a calling to care for others. In a large, integrated health care organization like Methodist Health System, which offers so many different opportunities to care for others, employees can discover the special niche that is personally satisfying.
Every day I witness the difference providers and staff at the Golden Cross Academic Clinic make in our patients’ lives. Our mission is twofold: teaching the next generation of physicians and serving the underserved. We provide a valuable training ground for residents in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery, as well as fellows in gastroenterology and nephrology, while serving the most acute medical needs of more than 70 patients daily, almost 17,000 a year.
Our patient demographics clearly demonstrate what I mean by underserved. More than one out of every four patients does not have insurance. Sixty percent are covered by either Medicare or Medicaid, leaving about 15 percent with commercial insurance coverage. A significant portion of our patient population suffers from costly, debilitating chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and pulmonary disease. Our resources help us manage most of our patients’ care under one roof. And since the clinic is located across from the Methodist Dallas campus, patients are able to conveniently access more complex care if they need it.
One of the most innovative programs offered is the Life Shines Bright Pregnancy Program. This program features a new model of prenatal care and group education for women who are at risk for preterm birth called Centering Pregnancy, which is endorsed by the March of Dimes. The prenatal classes offer women up to 20 hours of education with nurse practitioners, teaching them what to expect both during pregnancy and after the birth of their babies. The results of the program are exemplary. Preterm birth rates of participants in the program have dropped to 5.6 percent compared to an average of 18 percent for the Methodist Dallas service area. This rate beats not only the county, state, and national averages, it’s even four percentage points lower than the March of Dimes national goal
Another program I am very proud of is MedAssist, a medication assistance program started in 2006. A social worker at the clinic connects patients who do not have insurance and cannot afford their medications with pharmaceutical companies’ free medication programs. This coming year, the program will help more than 1,200 people obtain much-needed medication. If the program did not exist and these patients had to pay retail cost for their medications, they would pay nearly $500,000 yearly. I’m also excited about recruiting a nurse to our staff who specializes in diabetes education, helping patients better manage their disease through medication compliance, nutrition counseling, and better lifestyle choices.
Making a difference in the lives of people who truly need assistance and support is
my life’s mission and it’s the clinic’s mission. By being compassionate, patient, and understanding, we deliver high-quality care that helps our patients take responsibility
for their overall well-being.
Ready for a little soul searching? If you’re looking for an opportunity to match your life’s mission with your career goals, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
By Beth Leermakers
Employee Health Coach
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and Methodist Charlton Medical Center
Why so much stress? We are overextended, committed to too many things, and not willing to say “no.” Women seem to be more overextended than men. Consider the average day for a working mom. From grocery shopping and meal preparation to school and day-care logistics to work responsibilities and taking care of aging parents — and don’t forget party coordination, volunteer efforts, and carpooling — is it any wonder that working moms feel stressed?
Are we really more stressed than our grandparents or parents? Probably not, but with instant communication, we are much more aware of our stressors. We often feel obligated to respond at all times of the day and night. Who wants to be “on” all the time?
Every day, I help employees at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and Methodist Charlton Medical Center deal with their stress. Many people think that health care workers suffer more stress than others. That may be true if they are dealing with a life and death situation. But sometimes, we create our own stress by catastrophizing situations or focusing on the worst thing that could happen when, statistically, that disaster is very unlikely to happen.
What is important to remember is to keep stress in perspective. One way you can do that is to rate your stress on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the least stressful. Ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that could happen? How likely is it, really? Will this situation bother me tomorrow? A week from now? Now, where is my stress on this scale?”
Methodist Health System has put employee well-being at the top of its list of priorities. Providing personal health coaches demonstrates that we understand how devastating stress can be to our employees’ health and how it can affect their abilities to do their very best. Left unaddressed, stress can reduce the immune system, exhibit itself in physical symptoms, and most important, make the individual’s life miserable. Individuals suffering from high stress are often sleep deprived and may have increased or reduced appetites. This can set up a vicious cycle that increases stress levels.
My goal is to help you adopt a proactive approach to take care of yourself. Helping you get off the stress treadmill so you can make life-enhancing changes is critically important to breaking the stress cycle.
Bottom line, how do you do it? The key is to start by making small changes such as taking a five-minute break twice a week.
Here are some de-stressing tips:
- Take a five-minute walk before, during, or after work.
- Eat one healthy snack a day such as Greek yogurt, string cheese, a hard-boiled egg, a tablespoon of peanut butter, or a piece of fruit.
- Take two minutes a day for quiet time for deep breathing or meditation.
- Do five to 10 wall push-ups.
- If you stress-eat, it might help to keep your hands busy when you feel the urge. For example, reach for a stress ball or work a puzzle.
- Learn how to say “no.” Set boundaries for yourself at work and at home.
- Unplug 30 minutes earlier than normal — that means Facebook, Pinterest, email, and even your TV.
- Take your vitamins. Studies have shown that stress can deplete important nutrients such as the B complex and C vitamins.
- Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and alcohol*, which can cause cortisol levels to rise, stress to increase, and blood sugar to
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The benefits of managing stress can
- Reduced visits to doctors. Approximately 75 percent of referrals to doctors’ offices are believed to be related to stress.**
- You’ll improve your overall health and well-being.
- You may have more energy and feel better overall.
- You may sleep better.
If you’re ready to team up with an organization who cares about your well-being, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Visit Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.
© Methodist Health System
*Source: American Institute of Stress