Category: Clinical Trends

New Methodist Richardson Medical Center Opens April 14

By Cheryl Koch, RN, MSN, CNOR
Director of Surgical Services
Methodist Richardson Medical Center

We all know the feeling. You eagerly anticipate a special event and it seems like it takes forever for the date to arrive. Then when it finally arrives, it seems like it happens in the blink of an eye. The Methodist Richardson Medical Center family, along with the surrounding communities of Richardson, Wylie, Sachse, Murphy, Plano, and Garland, has been excited about the approaching opening date of the new hospital. Now, after many months of construction, the day is almost here.

The new Methodist Richardson Medical Center will accept its first patient at 7 a.m., Monday, April 14. Years of planning will culminate with a week of preopening festivities. The official ribbon-cutting with Richardson civic and business leaders will take place at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9. Then mark your calendars for our community Grand Opening Party and Healthy Kids Day (in association with the Richardson Family YMCA) on Saturday, April 12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Citizens of Richardson and surrounding communities are invited to tour the hospital; operate some of the new technology, including the da Vinci® Surgical System; experience diagnostic and treatment facilities of the future — cardiac catheterization lab, electrophysiology lab, endovascular room, and new operating suites; meet physicians; contribute to a community mural; go on a scavenger hunt; relish picnic food; express themselves with face painting; learn the art of flying a kite; have their fingers encased in a cast; and decorate surgical caps.

While the facility will be a wonderful resource for the community and provide an advanced healing environment for our patients, the most important thing for patients to know is that our staff remains steadfast in its commitment to quality, safety, and compassionate care. We’ve been a family of caregivers working together for many years. That gives us the ability to maximize our new surroundings to their full potential to help our patients recover and heal.

The new hospital is designed with the patient in mind with spacious, all-private rooms appointed in soothing colors. Equipment has been integrated into the rooms to make work flow as easy as possible, contributing to the overall positive patient experience. The opening of the new hospital couldn’t come at a better time. Over the past several months, Methodist Richardson has experienced record volumes in our emergency department, and in March we delivered 100 babies, more than twice the number of births that we experienced just two months prior.

Other important components of the new hospital include:

  • Expanded women’s services department to accommodate the growing demands from the community
  • Two new cardiac catheterization labs equipped with the latest diagnostic and treatment technologies
  • Oversized operating rooms with large video displays
  • New pre-op holding area with all-private rooms
  • An outpatient infusion suite
  • Enhanced capability to perform additional endovascular and electrophysiology procedures — many of which are minimally invasive — thanks to new specially equipped procedure rooms
  • Additional beds, including 25 medical telemetry beds, 25 intensive care beds, and 25 intensive medical care beds, all on the 3rd floor of the new hospital
  • An expanded level III neonatal intensive care unit
  • A new bistro with outdoor seating for staff, patients, families, and visitors.

The new hospital has also incorporated design aspects that will enhance work life for our staff, improving their ability to care for their patients. Staff lounges will be located on every patient care unit, many with balconies. Equipment has been standardized throughout the facility, enabling staff to enjoy a better work experience throughout the hospital.

If you’re looking for a fresh start in a beautiful new environment working with experienced colleagues, it’s time to choose Methodist Richardson Medical Center. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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The Liver Institute Focuses on Changing Lives

By Johann Correos, BS, CCRC

Research Center Manager, The Liver Institute
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

There’s a well-kept secret on the Methodist Dallas Medical Center campus, which for liver disease patients, could mean a new lease on life. The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas sponsors an active program of clinical research focused on patients suffering from liver disease as a result of hepatitis C, hepatitis B, and other liver diseases. Currently, The Institute has 25 clinical trials underway. A vast majority of the trials — around 90 percent — are based on hepatitis C with the other 10 percent focused on other liver diseases including Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

There is a growing interest on the part of the medical community as well as the general public in liver disease. Recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that baby boomers be screened for hepatitis C because of this population’s experience with and exposure to blood transfusions, IV drug use, surgery, military immunizations, and other circumstances.

I’m proud to say that The Institute is a major tertiary referral center for North Texas and the surrounding regions. Independently practicing physicians at The Institute meet the needs of both referring physicians and patients alike.

Due to its active program of wide-ranging studies, The Institute’s reputation for clinical research continues to grow locally, regionally, and nationally, which in turn enhances the care patients receive at Methodist Dallas and The Institute.

In late 2011, The Institute announced that is was involved in several clinical trials using a newer generation of drugs for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. The trials will focus on a second generation of direct-acting antiviral drugs for hepatitis C that are very potent and may shorten the duration of therapy in a number of patients. These antiviral drugs offer the hope for eradication of the disease for patients who have experienced and failed treatment in the past.

When patients are referred to The Institute, I meet with them to explain what to expect from their participation in the clinical trial, including the details about the treatment regimen, the length of the study, and expected side effects. Once they are enrolled in the clinical trial and are on the medication, we work to boost their spirits and maintain their enthusiasm for the research. Side effects from the medication can include fatigue, nausea, and irritability. We are here and available to patients throughout the trial — to listen and understand what they’re going through, to be accommodating to their needs, and to help motivate them to stay on the regimen.

I’m overjoyed to report that the majority of participants in the clinical trials are clearing the virus in 12 to 24 weeks, a significantly shorter period of time compared to the traditional treatment regimen of 48 weeks.

You can probably tell that I’m passionate about my job. My passion, dedication, and joy stem from my personal experience with friends who have fought cancer and had no support system. Motivation and support from the clinical staff are powerful components of successful treatment. What patients find at The Institute offers not only excellent care, but empathetic care.

I’m rewarded every day by seeing our patients’ successes and how their lives are changed for the better. After our patients recover, it’s not unusual for them to come back for a visit, introduce their family members, and share their plans for the next phases of their lives.

If you’re ready to support patients in their quest for health by participating in clinical research, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


Texas law prohibits hospitals from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff, including those practicing at The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System, or any of its affiliated hospitals. 

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The Promise of Accountable Care

By Shannon Huggins
Vice President, Managed Care
Methodist Health System

Sometimes, the ABCs of health care can be confusing. But in the new world of health care reform, there’s one acronym that everyone needs to know — ACO. ACO stands for accountable care organization. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers who work together to provide patients with better, more coordinated care. The providers who participate in an ACO — hospitals, physicians, and post acute-care organizations — generally care for a patient population of at least 5,000 lives, thus the growing interest in population health management.

Theoretically, an ACO turns the health care system on its head by changing the focus from pay-for-volume (fee-for-service medicine) to pay-for-performance (outcomes-based medicine). Improved health should result from collaboration, coordination, and information-sharing among all providers involved in each patient’s entire episode of care.

Why has this new payment model emerged as the primary vehicle for future health care delivery? One word comes to mind — money. The fact is, the current model is a significant contributor to the nation’s debt worries, with some experts forecasting that the Medicare Trust Fund will exhaust its financial resources within a few years.

On July 1, 2012, the Methodist Patient-Centered Accountable Care Organization (MPCACO) was selected to participate as an accountable care organization in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, a multifaceted new program sponsored by CMS. More than 200 physicians are partnering in the MPCACO.

Through the Shared Savings Program, MPCACO is working with CMS to provide traditional Medicare beneficiaries with enhanced care coordination designed to provide them the right care, at the right time, and in the right setting.  It’s a proactive model, rewarding the hospital when a beneficiary can avoid a visit to the emergency room or hospital. And, with 13,000 people in the ACO, it’s no small feat!

Changing the patient experience will require delivering care in new, innovative ways. Error-free handoffs and transitions accomplished via improved communication are at the heart of the new care delivery model. For inpatient nurses, that’s important because he or she will now know that when patients leave their care in the hospital, they will continue to receive needed care throughout the year.

Providers participating in ACOs are approaching them in different ways, depending on where they started the journey. ACOs will shine the light on the serious problem of shortages of health care professionals, especially with nurses, case managers, and social workers. Caregivers will have more information on their patients before they come to the hospital, enabling caregivers to engage at a higher level and create more cost-effective, seamless care.

MPCACO is physician-led, and Methodist is assisting MPCACO in its efforts to provide those physicians with tools to better coordinate the work that they do. MPCACO has engaged Methodist to hire support staff, including care navigators and social workers. And MPCACO, with Methodist’s help, is analyzing our data and the data from CMS to produce predictive models that will help maximize resources.

If you’re ready to improve the care that you provide to patients with an organization that’s participating in the future of health care today, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Cutting-Edge of Care Means Cutting-Edge of Research

By Kyle Orrell
Director, Clinical Research Institute
Methodist Health System

When patients choose Methodist Health System for their care, they probably don’t realize that they are also accessing a hub for clinical research. The independently practicing physicians on the medical staffs at Methodist Dallas, Methodist Charlton, Methodist Mansfield, and Methodist Richardson Medical Centers, along with other clinicians and patients, are participating in clinical trials across a wide spectrum of medicine. The scientific knowledge gleaned from these trials enriches the opportunity to develop new treatment approaches and pharmaceuticals that help our patients.

Methodist has always been dedicated to expanding the base of clinical knowledge. We have a rich history of participation in clinical trials and have encouraged independently practicing physicians to pursue approval for conducting them at Methodist facilities. But in 2011, Methodist decided to centralize the research being conducted in all of its medical centers by creating the Clinical Research Institute.

Representatives from Methodist visited numerous health care organizations around the country to observe best practices. Then I joined the Methodist family in late 2012 as director of the Clinical Research Institute. What an exciting opportunity to develop the structure to support and increase the clinical research efforts at Methodist.

Our priority at the Institute is to increase and support clinical research efforts throughout Methodist so that independently practicing physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals can ask key clinical questions in a meaningful way. Methodist is focused on the most effective and innovative care for our patients, as well as the foundational research that supports this care.

My philosophy in guiding the Institute is simple. In order to be on the cutting-edge of care, you have to be on the cutting-edge of research. I’m proud to say that Methodist is leading by example. There are several clinical trials currently being conducted through Parvez Mantry, MD, The Liver Institute at Methodist Dallas, and one of those is looking at developing innovative approaches to treating hepatitis C patients. Another study is led by one of the country’s leading gastroenterologists, Paul Tarnasky, MD, an independently practicing physician on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas. He is playing a critical role in a National Institutes of Health study to confirm the efficacy of a procedure that could very well change the landscape of treating gastroenterology conditions.

For clinicians considering a job change, I think it is important to them to join an organization that is clearly committed to clinical research and has a robust research focus. While others in the Metroplex are involved in clinical trials, the diversity of our patient population and willingness to participate in research distinguishes the Institute.

As a result, Methodist can offer patients care options that wouldn’t be available if we weren’t actively involved in and supportive of clinical research.

All clinical research is carefully scrutinized and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration through its tightly structured processes. In addition, the Institute must adhere to internationally adopted guidelines, and the Methodist Institutional Review Board oversees and approves all clinical research conducted in our hospitals.

As you can tell, I’m an enthusiastic advocate for research. It’s good for our patients and physicians, and it’s good for our community. One thought keeps me motivated: Perhaps a clinical trial being conducted at Methodist today will produce a revolutionary drug or treatment that can save a life tomorrow.

If you’re ready to join an exciting organization that’s changing lives through research, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System



Texas law prohibits physicians from practicing medicine. The physicians on the Methodist Health System medical staff are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of Methodist Health System or any of its affiliated hospitals.

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The robotic da Vinci Surgical System Leads a Revolution in Surgery

By Cheryl Koch, RN, BSN, MSN, CNOR
Director of Surgical Services
Methodist Richardson Medical Center

If you need proof that technology has revolutionized health care in the United States, you need look no further than the operating room. Surgeons are able to perform procedures with greater accuracy, affecting only a targeted area of tissue through incisions that are a miniscule 1 to 2 centimeters long. Robotic surgery, such as the da Vinci® Surgical System, is perhaps the greatest advancement I’ve seen in my 35 years of surgical nursing.

My areas of responsibility at Methodist Richardson Medical Center include inpatient and outpatient surgical services, the recovery room, and the med-surg nursing unit. I’ve witnessed the positive impact da Vinci is having on patients in every one of these areas. Whether a patient is a candidate for robotic surgery depends on his or her individual condition and medical situation. But I’ve seen hundreds of patients benefit from da Vinci surgery compared to traditional surgical techniques by experiencing less pain, less blood loss, fewer complications, less scarring, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to normal daily activities in most cases.

The introduction of robotic surgery has taken my nursing career in an exciting new direction, one that I couldn’t have even imagined when I decided to pursue nursing many years ago. What is really intriguing about robotic surgery from a nursing perspective is the blending of technology with the surgeon’s expertise. The sophisticated robotics platform expands the surgeon’s capabilities, providing a minimally invasive option for several major surgeries including gynecologic, gallbladder, colon, coronary artery bypass, thoracic, transoral for head and neck cancers, and urologic.

When I first started in nursing, a woman would have a 4- to 5-inch incision for a hysterectomy and, when she went home from the hospital, she couldn’t drive for six weeks. Now a patient who undergoes a hysterectomy with da Vinci is typically in the hospital only one night and has a much quicker recovery period. Just a few short years ago, a woman diagnosed with uterine fibroids may have had a traditional surgical procedure to remove the uterus. Today with da Vinci technology, a morcellator can be used to minimize the fibroid tumors so that the uterus can be removed through the tiny robotic incisions. Many patients may even be able to wear a bikini if they choose.

Methodist Richardson was one of the first hospitals in the area to perform the da Vinci Single-Site™ procedure for gallbladder surgery or cholecystectomy. Through one small incision around the umbilicus (belly button), the surgeon removes the gallbladder, leaving a much more cosmetically aesthetic appearance and allowing a faster recovery time compared to traditional surgery. In fact, most patients go home the same day. Right now, the Single-Site procedure is FDA approved for only gallbladder surgery, but I think it’s only a matter of time before other surgeries are approved using this technique.

Also available at Methodist Dallas and Methodist Mansfield Medical Centers, surgeons must complete highly specialized training before using da Vinci to perform surgeries. Then he or she is proctored through several procedures by a surgeon who is certified in the use of the da Vinci robot. During a da Vinci–assisted procedure, the surgeon is positioned at a console next to the patient on the operating room table. Using two joy sticks and a tiny high-definition 3-D camera that is guided inside the patient’s body, the surgeon manipulates the robot with precise wrist movements, handling surgical tissues with greater dexterity and ease.

I believe the robotics program is the future of surgery. Methodist is able to demonstrate our commitment to the community by bringing residents the benefits of some of the latest surgical technologies. For nurses, advances in technology mean opportunities for continual learning and

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expanding our knowledge base to better serve our patients. I encourage any OR nurse looking for a new employer to use the availability of technology as a screening criteria. Using the technology lens, nurses can evaluate the impact it is having on patient outcomes, overall quality of care, and staff satisfaction.

If your niche in the OR is technology and continual learning, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Does a full moon mean higher emergency department volumes?

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.
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:

  1. Don’t eat any candy without sealed wrappers. You can’t guarantee safety or good hygiene with unwrapped items.
  2. Make sure costumes are reflective for safety when crossing streets.
  3. If you want to paint your face, be sure to read the label to ensure the product is safe for face application.
  4. If you’re going into neighborhoods you aren’t familiar with, be careful. Go in pairs with adults.
  5. 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

© Methodist Health System


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Monday Night Mammos: This Isn’t Your Mother’s Mammogram Experience

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.

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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 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

© Methodist Health System


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Focusing on a Core Measure: Reducing Hospital-Acquired Infections in Ventilator Patients

Sonya Goffney, RT, Manager Respiratory Therapy

Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Nicole Higdon, RT
Tara Merchant, RT
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Working at a tertiary care facility like Methodist Dallas Medical Center provides clinical staff with the opportunity to care for patients with medically complex conditions. Many are critically ill and require careful monitoring and higher levels of care. While challenging and rewarding, this level of acuity places added responsibility on the caregivers’ shoulders to do everything in their power to prevent costly hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) from occurring.

For respiratory therapists, a primary focus is preventing ventilator-associated pneumonias (VAPs) from occurring in critically ill patients. This common HAI has been targeted for incidence reduction by The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In fact, CMS will begin penalizing hospitals with unacceptably high rates of VAP through its value-based purchasing reimbursement model. Ventilator patients are often unable to maintain and clear their airways. Their cough can be minimal and they have trouble clearing their secretions. This causes their immune system to be compromised so they’re more susceptible to pneumonia.

Why are VAPs of such concern to The Joint Commission and CMS? In his March 2009 article, “The Direct Medical Costs of Healthcare-Associated Infections in U.S. Hospitals and the Benefits of Prevention,” R. Douglas Scott II, an economist for the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that more than 52,000 VAPs occur annually with a per patient cost of between $14,806 and $28,508.

In “Strategies to Prevent Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in Acute Care Hospitals” published in the October 2008 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the incidence of VAP among ventilated patients is reported to be between 10 to 20 percent. These studies also suggest that many cases of VAP could be prevented by careful attention to the process of care.

At Methodist Dallas, reducing VAPs is a team effort. Respiratory therapists and nurses join forces to follow ventilator patient care protocols outlined by The Joint Commission, CDC, and other leading health care organizations.

  • Keep the head of the patient’s bed raised between 30 and 45 degrees unless other medical conditions do not allow this to occur.
  • Check the patient’s ability to breathe on his or her own every day so that the patient can be weaned from the ventilator as soon as possible.
  • Follow generally accepted hand-washing guidelines, cleaning hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching the patient or the ventilator.
  • Clean the inside of the patient’s mouth on a regular basis, including suctioning the patient’s mouth to reduce germs.
  • Clean or replace equipment between use on different patients. Much of the equipment we use at Methodist Dallas is designed for one-time use, which can be more costly but safer for the patient.
  • Suction the endotracheal tube frequently.
  • Educate and involve the family on pneumonia and HAIs and encourage their participation in their loved one’s care.
  • Establish and follow ventilator bundles of care that are comprised of standing orders for ventilator care that are on the patient’s chart and serve to ensure optimal safety.

Every day we track, via unit boards, the length of time since the last VAP and every day we go without an infection is a reason to celebrate. The great thing about working as a respiratory therapist at Methodist Dallas is that you really feel like everyone is motivated to help the patient get better and go home.

If you’re a respiratory therapist who’s ready for a breath of fresh air for your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

©Methodist Health System


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Breaking the Myth About Telemetry

By GeTonya Dickerson, RN
Clinical Nurse Supervisor, Cardiac Telemetry,
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. In 2005, I joined Methodist Health System as a patient care technician (PCT) while attending nursing school. During my last year of school I signed a contract with Methodist. It was great for me because I got paid while I was finishing my education, and I had a job for two years after graduation.

When we built a house in Mansfield, I looked at the options available at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. The available position was in telemetry, but I was afraid of learning rhythms and that made me uncomfortable caring for cardiac patients. Also, I heard nurses say that telemetry nursing was more difficult than med-surg because the patients were sicker with higher acuity levels.

I’m glad I decided not listen to the other nurses and to take a chance with telemetry. I’m thankful that Methodist Mansfield gave me the chance to become a telemetry nurse. From the start, they assured me that I wasn’t alone, and they would provide the additional training and backup resources I would need to be successful. I became certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and attended a dysrhythmia class. I found it reassuring to have monitor techs available in the monitoring room to provide backup around the clock. And in times of crisis, I knew I had the support of the charge nurse and other nursing staff. Teamwork is a tradition at Methodist, and it shows as evidenced by our achievement of Pathways to Excellence®, Chest Pain Center with PCI accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, and a Best Place to Work eight years in a row by the Dallas Business Journal.

What’s so ironic is that what I at first feared about the job is actually what I enjoy most. I’m proud that I work in a specialty area that requires more of me as a nurse. I have to maintain my certifications and keep up on the latest advances in cardiac telemetry. I also enjoy working with critically ill patients. Because most of these patients receive intravenous medication drips and specialized cardiac drugs, I have to monitor each drug differently. There are certain side effects that are unique to each drug and some side effects that are common to all of the drugs. So I monitor the patient and his or her telemetry for signs of potential problems.

After receiving a report from the previous shift, I conduct patient rounds, review their charts and rhythms, and gather the required medications to administer. When I review patient rhythms, I look for abnormalities or arrhythmias.

I feel that telemetry has prepared me to provide better care for patients with a variety of diagnoses. Because many of the patients entering the hospital suffer from some type of cardiac issue, being certified in telemetry helps me be more confident as a nurse for the vast majority of patients for whom I provide care.

Being a telemetry nurse is both challenging and rewarding. I absolutely love working here and in 2011, true to Methodist’s commitment to promoting from within, I was advanced to my current position as clinical nurse supervisor.

I love working at Methodist Mansfield because they believe in the culture of ALWAYS. We will ALWAYS be there for our patients and we will ALWAYS be there for each other.

If you’re ready to fall in love with a new career, maybe you should consider Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Trends in Cardiology

By Chris Murray, RCIS
Lead Tech, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

We’ve come a long way, baby. That’s not only true of most areas of medicine; it’s especially true for cardiology, my area of specialization. When I think about the leaps and bounds we’ve made in diagnosing and treating various heart problems since I began my career, it’s astounding and satisfying.

It’s amazing how much technology has improved patients’ lives and how much it has pushed cardiovascular clinicians to continually learn and expand our understanding of this all-too-common disease. I’m satisfied knowing that as caregivers,
we are fortunate to practice in an environment dedicated to pursuing excellence in all phases of cardiovascular care.

Here are just a few examples of the exciting developments in the field of
cardiovascular care.

  • The radial vs. femoral artery approach for diagnostic and interventional procedures has resulted in an 80 percent reduction* in complication rates and an accompanying increase in patient satisfaction, because patients’ recovery time is reduced as are the number of complications.
  • Structural repair trends include:
    • A minimally invasive percutaneous approach to repair structural defects and move away from open surgical procedures.
    • The percutaneous aortic valve, which is on the market for treatment of aortic stenosis and aortic insufficiency.
    • And, the mitral valve clip placement is being used for treatment of mitral regurgitation.
  • Vascular repair trends include:
    • Improved stents, which have evolved from polymer-coated, metal drug-eluting stents to drug-eluting bioabsorbable stents, potentially reducing restenosis.
    • Expansion of vascular services to improve not only heart health but also extremity health, which greatly benefits patients overall.
  • Perhaps some of the most exciting research is being studied in clinical trials on drug-eluting balloons, drug-eluting stents for the periphery, and using different forms of atherectomy in combination with other forms of therapy.

For patients, cardiovascular excellence means less-invasive diagnostics, improved CT angiograms, and much earlier identification and intervention with appropriate treatments. For clinicians whose passion is cardiology, it means the opportunity to practice in a center featuring the latest technology and the challenge of becoming more and more tech savvy so they can maximize the value of these new tools to enhance their practices and improve their patients’ outcomes.

For me, Methodist Health System has the right prescription for cardiovascular excellence. We have:

  • A growing integrated delivery system.
  • A cardiovascular program that is expanding in scope and expertise.
  • A commitment to recruit and retain top cardiac specialists and sub-specialists, as well as other members of the cardiovascular care team.
  • A long-range view that is grounded in investing in current and emerging technology.
  • A passion for continuous clinical improvement in care processes to produce enhanced patient outcomes.
  • A focus on patient- and family-centered care to improve the overall patient and family experience.
  • A laser-focus on differentiating based on quality, such as chest pain centers with percutaneous coronary intervention accreditation at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and Methodist Richardson Medical Center.

If Methodist Health System is your choice for a career partner, learn more by visiting

©Methodist Health System


*Source: by WebMD

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