Category: Nurses

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center Achieves Magnet® Recognition

by Nora Frasier, MBA, BSN, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC
Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

It’s an exciting time here at Methodist Health System. Just a few months ago on May 17, 2017, Methodist Richardson Medical Center became the first Methodist hospital to achieve Magnet® designation for excellence in nursing from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Then on July 20, we received the call that Methodist Mansfield Medical Center had also achieved the prestigious Magnet designation that only 8 percent of hospitals in the United States have earned.

Weeks later, we are still on cloud nine. We’ve known all along that we are a Magnet-level facility. Our culture exudes it, and we were very confident when we submitted our application. After all, we have a great story to tell. We didn’t actually feel that confirmation until I was notified by the Magnet program office that the chair of the Magnet commission wanted to schedule a call. When she encouraged me to invite leadership and all of our employees to be there with me, I knew this was the moment we had all been waiting for.

Many of our friends were with us for the announcement, making it even more special. We had confetti, balloons, and Magnet cupcakes. The room was buzzing with energy and heightened anticipation. From tears and goose bumps of amazement to whooping calls of joy, there were so many emotions. And the day flew by.

We have always felt Methodist Mansfield is a special place to work, but this journey was about more than just meeting the eligibility criteria. We knew our staff needed to be recognized for the great work they do every day. They make the story. We just put it on paper and scribed it. Laura Sweatt, RN, RN-BC, our Magnet program director, spent countless hours gathering stories and capturing them in our Magnet document. For us, Magnet designation is not about changing what we do, it’s about showing who we are.

This designation is validation of who we are as a hospital and as a nursing organization. It’s proof that we really do have the best nursing and support teams to deliver the highest quality of care at the patient’s bedside. To get that validation from such a prestigious organization means the world to us. When we became caregivers, this is what we came to do. And the fact that our nurses have achieved it is even more wonderful.

Our Magnet journey started at the top. With a vision from the Methodist board of directors, I feel very blessed that our leadership’s strategic plan includes the objective that every facility become a Magnet-designated hospital. That just compels us to live up to the highest of standards. Without that vision and support, our dreams wouldn’t have become a reality. The senior leaders of the health system and my hospital president value the contributions of nurses and have been our biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

What have I learned in this process? It truly takes a village. Even though Magnet designation comes from a nursing organization, it takes every single person — not only nurses but the people in the supply chain, lab, pharmacy, maintenance, and everyone throughout the hospital. Every single person is a critical player on the team. We can’t understate the value and importance of the entire team to help make it happen.

The next step is to raise the bar even higher. Our goal is to reach out to our sister organizations — Methodist Dallas and Methodist Charlton Medical Centers — and support them in achieving their Magnet designations. When we submitted our application, we told the Methodist Mansfield story from the previous four years. And four years from now, we’ll do it all over again. The clock starts ticking now.

This also raises the bar in terms of expectations of our staff. Having Magnet designation means we have the highest standards to live up to. Our nursing staff gives 100 percent every day and practices at the top of their game. The structures and processes are in place for them to do the very best job they possibly can. Our nurses will continue to have a voice and will be charged with influencing positive change and innovation to improve our processes and clinical outcomes and to advance the profession of nursing. We’re listening.

If you’re looking for an organization that is committed to the highest standards of care and want to be part of a team of exceptional nurses, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Methodist Charlton Medical Center Debuts ED RN Residency Program

by Genean Grant, MHA, BSN, RN, CNRN Manager, Emergency Services, Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Methodist Charlton Medical Center will launch an Emergency Department (ED) RN Residency Program in October for experienced RNs who are looking to change clinical areas. This exciting and challenging program is now accepting applications from RNs with at least two years of experience in another nursing specialty such as med-surg or critical care. The 12-week program offers a $5,000 sign-on bonus and relocation assistance. Deadline to submit an application is August 15.

You may ask yourself, “Why become an ED RN?” It’s fast paced. You’ll be exposed to many diverse patients who come into the ED with a wide variety of disease processes. One of the most rewarding things about the ED is that you can often see results from your care almost immediately. And at the end of the day, you’ll realize that many of your skills and interventions can and really do save lives. That’s amazingly gratifying. Every day we talk about the lifelong lessons and memories that are created here.

Why am I so excited about the ED RN Residency Program? We are looking for nurses who are energetic, have a desire for professional growth, and want to take their skills to the next level. This opportunity gives you a chance to work at one of the busiest EDs in the area, plus Methodist Charlton is Chest Pain Accredited, Stroke Certified, and working on a Level III Trauma Center designation. Not only do we work together as a team, our culture is like family. We respect each other, support each other, and collaborate to be the best caregivers possible. What’s more, our Methodist Charlton president is an RN — she speaks our language and understands our needs — she has our backs!

The program offers classroom and clinical training with preceptors, teaching participants new skills and empowering them to enhance the patient experience in an environment that has a laser focus on achieving Magnet® status. This is also an important pillar in our commitment to help our nurses become lifelong learners.

The first five weeks of the program will involve intensive classroom learning including clinical expert presenters who will teach primary systems such as cardiology, respiratory, and gastroenterology. These sessions will help participants expand critical-thinking skills and broaden their clinical care knowledge. In the following weeks, students will be paired with preceptors in a one-on-one relationship to help transition them into the ED. Students will have one patient during the first week in the ED, two patients the second week, working up to four patients. This gradual transition will help students understand each level of care in the ED as well as become members of our healthcare team.

In addition, supplemental classes will cover topics such as IV drips, improved assessment of the patient, and becoming a better patient advocate. We’ll help students with time management so they can assess patients and effectively document their care and interventions. The final few weeks of the program will allow students to work independently with direct supervision, creating an ideal environment for students to learn to work within their care teams. Depending on the individual student’s needs, refresher training will be conducted up to a full year to readdress and reinforce skills and critical thinking.

Remember, the application deadline is August 15. If you’re interested in applying for the ED RN Residency Program that will take you to the next level, let’s connect at http://jobs.methodisthealthsystem.org/lp/mcmc-ed-rn-residency/. We look forward to learning more about you.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/M/F/D/V

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New Tower Signals New Opportunities for Nurses

Methodist Mansfield Medical Center is growing to meet the community’s health care needs. That’s great news for nurses and other health care professionals. Methodist-Mansfield-Tower-Two-Entry-500

We’re so fortunate to be in a thriving service area. In fact, our service area population has grown 59 percent since the hospital opened. The community’s growing demand for health care services includes emergency, surgical, and acute medical, and our award-winning Women’s Center has experienced dramatic growth in births and neonatal intensive care services.

Why are we so excited about the new Tower Two? Here are some quick facts about the new 208,000-square-foot building:

  • 22 additional ICU beds
  • Expanded dialysis unit from three to eight beds
  • 32 additional cardiac telemetry beds
  • 32 additional postsurgical beds
  • Expanded telemetry monitoring capability to 144 units
  • 32 beds available for future expansion
  • Cath lab upgraded to accommodate electrophysiology procedures.

For nurses, Tower Two represents quality and safety improvements in the environment of care, including a new telemetry and nurse-call system to provide leading-edge patient monitoring and safety features. All rooms are WIFI ready for patients and visitors. The nurse-call system is integrated with the safety features of the patient’s bed to alert nursing staff when someone needs assistance without the patient having to call. In addition, increased space in Tower Two will enable us to build on specialized services such as neurosciences.

Methodist Mansfield employees have always enjoyed working in a top-notch, family-friendly facility. Tower Two takes this to the next level with expanded food services, cozy areas where staff can take a break and get away, and other amenities.

The new Tower Two is tangible evidence of the reputation our staff has established for delivering top-notch quality patient care. In fact, since our opening, we’ve been voted a Best Medical Facility, Best Maternity Ward, and Best Emergency Department in North Texas. A big part of our quality and commitment to excellence is our commitment to our employees. We truly are one big family, a team of health care professionals that strives day in and day out to deliver the best care to our patients and their families. Quality and patient safety are our highest priorities and community service is a hallmark of our culture.

New buildings facilitate our ability to achieve our mission, but it’s our people who make the difference. So with the opening of the new Tower Two, we’re looking for nurses, patient care technicians, and ancillary staff who are committed to providing compassionate, quality patient care. The best additions for our team are people who have a positive attitude and strive to do their best for every patient, every time.

If you’re ready to expand your career with a healthy, growing organization, consider Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. Visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
EOE/M/F/D/V

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Tiffany Gonzales, a G.R.E.A.T. Addition to the Methodist Family

By Sharina Arceneaux, MSN, RN-BC
Medical-Surgical Clinical Educator
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

 

June 16 is a day that I will never forget. It’s the day I met Tiffany Gonzales after her first day of work in the environmental services department at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. It’s also the day that I knew Tiffany was going to be a terrific addition to the Methodist Health System family.

I had just left work. As I was driving past the Methodist Dallas campus, I noticed two Dallas Police cars pulled over with their lights flashing, so I stopped to see what was going on. I saw Tiffany sitting on the ground next to a woman who she said had just had a seizure. She told me how long the seizure had lasted and what she had done to care for the woman. I waited with her until the ambulance arrived and the patient was safely transported.

Tiffany was the right person in the right place at the right time for this woman. Tiffany’s own health history includes seizures, so she knew exactly what to do to keep the woman safe, including flagging Dallas Police and calling 911 for help. She undoubtedly saved the woman from further harm and injury by preventing her from falling on the sidewalk or into the path of oncoming cars.

What impressed me about Tiffany was her courage and her willingness to stop and help someone in trouble. Not many people these days would do that. I also was impressed with her skills of observation, her obvious caring attitude, her ability to clearly provide details about the woman’s condition, and her strength to remain calm throughout the entire episode.

Tiffany may not have been clinically trained, but what I later learned is that she wants to be a nurse. In fact, she is finishing her classes so she can apply to the El Centro College Associate Degree Nursing Program at Methodist Health System. No wonder she was so observant and caring. It all made sense then.

Tiffany recalled seeing the woman in a zombie-like state at the bus stop. “I knew I had to help this woman,” she told me. “Because I have experienced seizures, I immediately knew what to do. This episode has strengthened my resolve to become a nurse. Besides my job at Methodist Dallas, I also work as a paraprofessional in the special education department at a charter school. I work with many children who have special needs, including a student who was born without arms. She has helped me to understand what it means to care for others who can’t do for themselves. Nursing is the perfect career for me.”

When we leave work, we’re often preoccupied with things that we need to do next — like get home to our families and go to the store. That’s why Tiffany’s actions are so remarkable. In spite of the fact that she’s a single mom with three children who works two jobs, she stopped to help a stranger. Her medical history definitely puts her more in tune with other people’s needs because she’s known both sides of the story.

Tiffany also told me that everything she does, she does in the spirit of excellence. “When I saw this woman on the street, my caretaking instincts kicked in,” she remarked. “I didn’t want anything to happen to this woman. If something is not right, I zoom in and focus on a solution until the situation is remedied.”

I have no doubt that Tiffany is going to be an EXCELLENT nurse! That’s why I nominated her for the G.R.E.A.T. Award to recognize her for her attitude and her willingness to go the extra mile for someone. She truly exemplifies the spirit of the Methodist Dallas family. They put their own needs aside to help others.

If you’re ready to join a team that values and mirrors Tiffany’s commitment to caring, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
EOE/MF/D/V

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Methodist Dallas First Hospital in DFW To Receive Baby-Friendly Designation

by Pamala Gessling, MBA, BSN, RNC-OB, NEA-BC
Director of Nursing, Women and Children’s Services
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

February 10, 2015, was a big day for moms and their babies at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. That’s the day the hospital became the first health care organization in Dallas County to receive the Baby-Friendly birth facility designation from Baby-Friendly USA.

Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. is the U.S. authority for the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, a global program sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages and recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

I was extremely proud and happy for our wonderful staff and physicians who worked so hard to help Methodist Dallas attain this top certification for family-centered care. Every nurse who cares for mothers and their babies received 20 hours of extensive training. Our physicians each received three hours of education. These standards are part of national quality core measures, and breastfeeding is now a reportable measure for The Joint Commission.

Based on the universally accepted Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, obtaining the Baby-Friendly designation required a huge commitment on the part of the hospital. It began with our decision to implement shared-care nursing in 2012. This is a model of nursing in which the same nurse provides care for mother and her baby in the same room. This dramatic departure from traditional postpartum care was based on research that showed having babies close to their mothers helps the new moms learn their babies’ cues, supports the bonding process, and better prepares moms to succeed and have a good experience when they take their babies home.

Why is Methodist Dallas so committed to helping new moms successfully breastfeed their babies? In the new health care environment that focuses on improving care outcomes and patient experiences, pursuing the Baby-Friendly designation was simply the right thing to do. Breastfeeding is best for infants and mothers for many reasons:

  • It’s natural
  • Babies who are breastfed are less likely to be obese or develop diabetes
  • It supports the critical bonding between mothers and babies
  • It provides an opportunity to educate moms before they take their babies home.

Most moms don’t know that even one sip of baby formula changes the intestinal flora of their babies’ stomachs. That means formula-fed babies are more likely to develop bacteria that’s not normal for them to have. It’s best for babies to keep the flora that they are born with to help them fight all kinds of infections. In short, it’s healthier for the babies. Moms benefit from breastfeeding because it helps them return to their prepregnancy weight and get back in shape faster. Plus, breastfeeding is less expensive than purchasing baby formula.

It takes about two days post delivery to begin producing breast milk. These first few days, mothers produce a low-fat, high-protein milk called colostrum, which provides all the nutrients and fluid that newborns need in the early days, as well as many substances to protect babies against infections. Babies’ stomachs are about the size of a marble when they are born. Breastfeeding babies will stop nursing when they are full. Often, we unintentionally teach formula-fed babies to overeat. Our goal is to help new moms establish breastfeeding the first few days. We help them better understand their babies and learn how to pick up cues that they are hungry. This helps ensure a better experience and outcome down the road.

If moms choose not to breastfeed, we will of course support their decision and provide the same outstanding care we provide to moms who do choose to breastfeed. Most important, our goal is to help educate moms so they can make informed decisions. We have a huge obesity issue in the U.S., and we have a relatively low exclusive breastfeeding rate. I’m gratified to report that since Methodist Dallas began the program, the number of moms who are exclusively breastfeeding their babies has climbed to 54 percent. That’s huge for us.

By obtaining the Baby-Friendly designation, we are empowering women to naturally breastfeed their babies to help them get a healthier start in life. We’re here to support them, regardless of their feeding choices, so they can get a good start on raising their children. Our staff believes in the value of this effort and is committed to strictly following the standards established by Baby-Friendly USA.

Several years ago, Methodist Health System’s President and CEO, Stephen L. Mansfield, PhD, FACHE, set out to achieve his vision of creating one of the healthiest health care organizations in America by 2016. To achieve this vision, we need to educate our patients and the communities we serve about choices and healthy lifestyles. It’s a powerful tool to get healthy and stay healthy and that’s certainly one of the foundational principles of Baby-Friendly USA.

If you’re ready to join one of the healthiest health care systems in the U.S., consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSytem.org.

© Methodist Health System
EOE/MF/D/V

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Advancing from Nursing to the President’s Chair: Anything is Possible

By Fran Laukaitis, MHA, BSN, FACHE
President, Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Fran Laukaitis was recently named president of Methodist Charlton Medical Center. Fran served as Methodist Charlton’s chief nursing officer since 2010. She is the first registered nurse to ever serve as president of a Methodist Health System facility. 

I have been a nurse for 40 years, and never imagined that I would be leading a great health care organization today. Initially, I spent 15 years as a bedside nurse in the ICU. But when I had the opportunity to start taking leadership roles, I continued to moonlight in ED and ICU because I never wanted to lose site of the most important focus — caring for patients.

It may surprise you to learn that my aspiration was not to be where I am today. Instead, I was willing to serve in whatever capacity I was needed. Throughout my career, when a supervisory position was offered to me, I took it. From nursing to ancillary and support departments to plant operations, that willingness to learn was a valuable lesson. As a result, today I have experience in most of the departments within the hospital.

I think there are five characteristics that make a great health care leader:

  1. Recognize that all decisions need to be centered on what’s best for the patient, because that’s the heart of our business.
  2. Leaders must have and demonstrate integrity.
  3. A leader must always strive to be fair and bring people together. As a nurse, one might think I may favor nurses; however, I learned that the person who really needs to win is the patient. So if our decisions are based on what’s best for the patient, then it brings disparate parties together to achieve success as a team.
  4. Every great leader I’ve observed or read about has possessed a strong work ethic balanced by kindness and compassion.
  5. Finally, a leader must have an overwhelming desire to be a leader, even if it means stepping out of his or her comfort zone.

Along the way, I have been fortunate to have outstanding mentors who have given me sage advice. An example is when I chose the program for my master’s degree. I sought counsel from my mentor, and she gave me two pieces of advice that changed my career and my life. First, she recommended pursing a Master of Health Administration. She was right. Second, she encouraged me to join the American College of Healthcare Executives. Again, she was on target.

Using past experience as a guide, here are my tips for young professionals:

  1. Don’t wait to continue your education. Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
  2. Take advantage of opportunities. You’ll end up where you’re supposed to be. Don’t be afraid to take chances.
  3. Stay present. Some people are so busy getting to the next step in their careers, they fail to focus on the present. Instead, focus on where you are right now so you can do your best job today.

How is my experience as chief nursing officer now helping me in my role as president? I don’t have to rely on what others tell me about the need for medical equipment or clinical resources. As a clinician, I understand what their challenges are. The physicians also appreciate the fact that I “get it.” And when I need to lobby for scarce resources, I feel that I represent Methodist Charlton well because of the breadth of my clinical background.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of my job is that employees tell me that I “fill them up.” But when they ask who fills me up, they’re surprised to learn that it’s all of them. They inspire me daily. My goal is to show them that you can do anything if you work hard, have integrity, and do what’s right. These beliefs carry over to who I surround myself with on my leadership team. I can teach skills — finance, budgeting, managing — but I can’t teach attitude. I want to be surrounded, and I want our employees to be surrounded, by people who are positive and recognize that what we do for a living is a privilege.

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and to do this work.

If you’re ready to pursue limitless possibilities for your career, then choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/M/F/D/V

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The Journey to Magnet Excellence®, One of Nursing’s Highest Credentials

By Candice Herman, MSN, RN, NEA-BC
Director, Magnet® Program
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

By now, most nurses know or have heard about Journey to Magnet Excellence®. But many don’t really understand or appreciate the work that goes into achieving this prestigious recognition. Why has Methodist Charlton Medical Center, as well as Methodist Health System’s other hospitals, decided to pursue this distinction?

The Magnet Recognition Program®, administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), is the most prestigious distinction a health care organization can receive for nursing excellence and quality patient outcomes. Organizations that achieve Magnet recognition are part of an esteemed group that demonstrates superior nursing practices and outcomes. (ANCC, 2013)

The origins of the program sprang from the nursing shortages of the 1970s and ’80s. During that time, some hospitals were fully staffed and while others were not. ANA began researching the phenomenon in 1983 and discovered 14 characteristics that differentiated organizations best able to recruit and retain nurses. The characteristics are known as the Forces of Magnetism. They are attributes or outcomes that exemplify nursing excellence. They embody a professional environment guided by a strong and visionary nursing leader who advocates and supports excellence in nursing practice. The Forces of Magnetism include:

  • Quality of nursing leadership
  • Organizational structure
  • Management style
  • Personnel policies and programs
  • Professional models of care
  • Quality of care
  • Quality improvement
  • Consultation and resources
  • Autonomy
  • Community and the health care organization
  • Nurses as teachers
  • Image of nursing
  • Interdisciplinary relationships
  • Professional development.

The Forces of Magnetism are captured in five components that make up the Magnet Recognition Program model, the compass for hospitals striving for Magnet status. The model components include:

  • Transformational leadership
  • Structural empowerment
  • Exemplary professional practice
  • New knowledge, innovations, and improvements
  • Empirical outcomes.

What is my role in helping Methodist Charlton reach its goal? Previously, I helped lead a southeast Texas hospital system achieve Magnet designation as well as one re-designation. One of the first things I did when I started at Methodist Charlton was to conduct a gap analysis between the Magnet standards and our current performance. An example is nursing empowerment. We use a tool called a decisional involvement scale. This tool examines who makes the decision on something and who should make the decision. If there is a discrepancy, we look at what we need to do to change it. We are also identifying improvement projects we can use in the Magnet application.

To say the process is arduous is an understatement. The entire effort requires a healthy work environment, collaborative and collegial team structure, and a focus on the overall benefit of the care we provide our patients and families. One of the biggest values of the application process is that as we gather information, we are realizing just how good we are!

Every nurse I have encountered is so engaged and enthusiastic about the path we are on toward Magnet status. The excitement is very organic. They want to do this because they know we deliver quality patient care, and they want it to be validated via the Magnet recognition.

We are hoping to submit the application to Magnet in February 2017, meaning we are formally on the Magnet journey. We will then have one year to write and submit our documents.

When Methodist Charlton achieves Magnet status, it will mean that nurses will continue to have their voices heard. They will be able to continue to provide excellent care. They will be highly satisfied with their peers and their leadership. Bottom line, they will want to stay at Methodist Charlton where they will be proud of what they do, and they will know that they are continuing to make a difference for our patients and for the community.

If you’re ready to join an organization that is Magnet® bound, choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

American Nurses Credentialing Center. (2013). Magnet Recognition Program: Application Manual 2014. Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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Celebrating Our Nurses

Irene Strejc, MPH, BSN, RN, CENP, ACHE
Vice President Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Richardson Medical Center

One of my favorite times of year is upon us — National Nurses Week. May 6-12 has been set aside as the time for the entire country to celebrate the profession of nursing and thank nurses everywhere for their selfless dedication to others.

My desire to be a nurse started at a very young age. When I was 5 years old, I was hospitalized for flulike symptoms. Even at that young point in my life, I was impressed with the kindness and graciousness of the nurses who cared for me. Perhaps it was because I come from a long line of family members who have deep roots in health care, but I wanted to continue the tradition. When I became a teen, I volunteered at a hospital, then went on to finish a two-year associate’s degree so I could immediately begin caring for others. After working a few years, I realized the vast potential that a nursing career offered, so I went back to school and earned a Bachelor in Nursing then my Master of Public Health.

Each year, I look forward to recognizing nurses during this special week because I think it provides an opportunity to consider the characteristics and values that drive individuals to enter nursing. It also creates a public forum to officially recognize and thank all of our nurses for their selfless dedication to others and the differences they makes in patients’ lives each and every day.

Nursing is the linchpin that brings everything together. Nurses are the eyes and ears of the physicians when they can’t be at the hospital. Working together, physicians and nurses can provide timely, appropriate, patient-centered care. Physicians tell us every day how much they appreciate the spirit of partnership they share with our nurses as they work to achieve the best possible patient outcomes. Year after year, patient surveys indicate that nurses are one of the most trusted members of the health care team. In fact, patients’ attitudes toward their nurses are the most highly correlated components of the patient experience in terms of overall satisfaction. We consistently receive comments from patients thanking their nurses for keeping them informed throughout their care, teaching them about caring for themselves once they leave the hospital, and demonstrating an ability to anticipate their needs before they have to push the call light.

What is the profile of a good nurse? First, nurses have a strong altruistic need to care for people at the most vulnerable times of their lives. There’s no greater contribution you can give to others than to be with them, care for them, and support them and their families during times of personal health crises. In general, nurses are also highly intelligent, good problem solvers, caring and compassionate, dedicated to their profession and to the well-being of their patients, and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of their patients.

As I speak with nursing graduates today, two themes come through loud and clear. First, nursing is a financially rewarding career that weathers economic down turns. Second, it offers many career options — hospital, physician’s office, rehab, hospice, home health, case management, quality assurance, insurance companies, state agencies, and many other related careers.

At Methodist Richardson Medical Center this week, we are holding several celebratory events that will feature guest speakers, food, and time to socialize with fellow nurses. We’ll be doing clinical rounding throughout the hospital to support our nurses where they work. In addition, we will be presenting two awards — Nurse of the Year and Rookie Nurse of the Year — as we springboard into celebrating National Hospital Week the following week. Our celebrations are from the heart, overflowing with deep appreciation and admiration.

Truly it’s a special privilege to stand with each one of our nurses every day. Caring for our patients and their families is a team effort and each member is an all-star. Together, nurses and other members of the care team are improving clinical care and enhancing the level of service we provide to those who trust us with their overall health and well-being.

If you’re ready to celebrate your career as a nurse, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Seven Methodist Health System Nurses Named to Dallas-Fort Worth Great 100 2015

Do you remember the classic movie that was released in 1960, “The Magnificent Seven?” The movie focused on a small town that hired seven men to help protect its citizens. We think all of our nurses are magnificent, and especially the seven Methodist Health System nurses who have been named DFW Great 100 Nurses 2015. This award is recognized throughout the nursing community in the DFW Metroplex as an esteemed honor and prestigious accomplishment. Here are brief snapshots of each of the distinguished honorees. We are proud to call them family.

Sherri Floyd, BSN, RN, Risk Manager, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Sherri has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 22 years. She spent 19 years in the surgical intensive care unit and the last three years in the risk management department.

“The most important value a Great 100 Nurse can have is passion. Nurses are compassionate by nature, but we must have that passion, that fire in the gut, to facilitate change and growth. My goal as risk manager is to assure that each bedside nurse can make a difference for all patients. I work daily with nurses and managers to increase patient safety as well as that of the employee. I have driven from Fort Worth to Methodist Dallas all of these years because Methodist is my family. I can’t imagine working at any other hospital.”

Karrie Klein, RNC-OB, Staff Nurse, Labor and Delivery, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
Karrie has been a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist Mansfield since 2008.

“The most important value a Great 100 Nurse can have is commitment — commitment to making nursing your lifestyle, not just a 12-hour job. Sometimes, an empathetic nurse is all the family and visitors have to look forward to. Everything we do supports families and patients when they are at their most vulnerable. I think a Great 100 Nurse has an innate gift of unconditional compassion and a mission to promote quality of life. We work to positively impact not only our patients, but also our work unit by finding ways to improve patient care and satisfaction. That also means reaching beyond the hospital’s doors and into the community to provide education and promote community health.”

Cindy Lantz, RN, Nurse Manager, Observation Unit, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Cindy has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 15 years.

“I feel very humbled to receive this award. I work with a great team of people. I truly love being a nurse, and I hope I am helping to make a difference for others. My philosophy is that we shouldn’t define our patients by their diagnoses. Every patient has a story, a reason that brought him or her to our doors, a life before he or she became sick or injured. I make it a point to take a few minutes to talk to each of my patients about their life, to get to know them as a person, not just a diagnosis.”

Cassie Oden, RN, CEN, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Cassie has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for seven years.

“I am very pleased to have been selected as one of DFW’s Great 100 Nurses. I never thought I would be chosen for such an award. It is such an honor. I have always strived to give my best to every patient. In the emergency department (ED), we deal with people of all ages with a wide range of injury and illness acuity. A large part of our job is providing compassionate care to our patients and comforting their family during life-changing events. This is especially important after the death of a loved one. My advice to other nurses is to give the best care you can to every patient. Be compassionate and remember that the patient’s family needs care, too. Never stop learning or improving yourself.”

Nancy Valant, BSN, RN, CEN, Staff Nurse, Emergency Department, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Nancy has been a nurse at Methodist Dallas for 29 years. She was a member of the first intensive care unit (ICU) internship class.

“There are several values that a Great 100 Nurse has — integrity, experience, knowledge, respect from co-workers and management, and the willingness to keep learning. After spending seven years in the ICU, I transferred to the ED for a more active environment and have been here ever since. I love the teamwork and the cohesiveness, plus we see a great variety of patient illnesses and trauma. I feel I can make a difference in the lives of my patients, and I get a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from my job that I don’t get anywhere else.”

John Vo, MSN, RN, Director, Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Services, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
John has been with Methodist Dallas for 14 years.

“It’s such an honor to be recognized as a Great 100 Nurse. Why am I in nursing today? When I was in college, I had to be hospitalized. There, I experienced two kinds of nursing care — one nurse who was compassionate and caring and another who was not so much. That influenced my career decision to go into health care and be the kind of nurse who patients and families could really depend on. I am committed to give them the very best care possible. Today, when I talk with nurses who are considering changing jobs, I tell them to come to Methodist. ‘You won’t get lost in a big corporate structure. The culture is welcoming and friendly. And everyone is willing to help.’ I’m blessed to work with such a talented group of people.”

Judy VonEhr, RN, BSN, Manager, NICU and Neonatal Transport Team, Methodist Dallas Medical Center
Judy has been with Methodist Dallas for two years.

“I always wanted to be a nurse, so it’s no surprise I’ve had a 36-year nursing career. My passion has always been to work with children, so I eventually became a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. The greatest gratification I get from my work is taking care of a very small infant who may be really sick, then seeing that child with his or her family thriving a few years later. Seeing what a difference I can make for these babies and their families is so rewarding. Methodist is one of the greatest places I’ve ever worked. Every day I feel that I’m supported by my colleagues and by our leadership.”

The DFW Great 100 Nurses was launched in 1991 as a celebration that raises the awareness of the area’s 40,000 practicing nurses’ contributions, including patient care, research, leadership, education, and community service. In addition, the celebration builds the image of nursing through positive reinforcement of the profession as a scientific art and the recognition of those who exemplify excellence. It is a special honor for a nurse to be nominated by patients, their family members, peers, former teachers, physicians, and administrators.

If you’re ready to join a great organization that emphasizes professionalism, collaboration, and accountability to each other, consider Methodist Health System. To learn more, visit us at Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Step It Up in 2015!

By Carrie Camin
Assistant Vice President, Wellness
Methodist Health System

I think King Julien from the “Madagascar” movies has the right idea for a 2015 resolution — move it! Making the New Year an active one could well be one of the healthiest ways to pave the road ahead.

Research has shown the overwhelming positive effects of regular activity. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, though. A casual bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood with a friend can be as beneficial as more strenuous exercise that can lead to possible injuries later in life. Cardiovascular exercise keeps the old ticker in tune and is critical to improved overall well-being.

Another important component for a healthier 2015 is resistance training to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Not a member of a gym? That’s okay. You can easily set up resistance training routines around your home using stairs, light weights, or floor exercises such as straight leg raises and planks.

Regular activity has many positive benefits:

  • Promotes good cholesterol, which can help you avoid the costly effects of
    chronic illness
  • Boosts metabolism and increases circulation throughout your body
  • Enhances your mood so you feel better about yourself and your health
  • Improves your ability to be a better spouse, friend, or co-worker as your
    mood-elevating endorphins get a boost
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves your chances for an extended quality of life by helping you stay
    mobile, maintain your balance, and improve your flexibility to help you
    remain independent.

Did you know that regular activity has been correlated to extended life expectancy? According to research*, you’ll get an extra 1.8 years from 75 minutes of brisk walking
per week, 3.4 additional years from 150 to 299 minutes of brisk walking per week, an
extra 4.5 years from 450 minutes, as well as an eye-popping 7.2 years by maintaining a healthy weight.

But if activity is so beneficial and physicians routinely recommend it to their patients for weight loss and lower cholesterol, then why aren’t more people moving it? According to some experts, the obvious benefits of activity often take months to become apparent. This runs counter to our instant-gratification society that wants immediate payoff for hard work and exercise.

The rule of thumb to follow is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. Ready to get moving? Here are some tips for getting active in 2015:

  • Start with walking and walk every day.
  • Have a dog? Walk your dog 15 minutes, twice a day.
  • Take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator.
  • Participate in an exercise-related activity you enjoy such as dance, yoga, or sports.
  • Even gardening, cleaning house, and doing yard work count toward your activity!

To round out your resolutions for a healthier 2015, use the other building blocks:

  • Nutrition keeps your engine moving, so you have to supply it with the right kind of fuel. Keep it simple. Eat things that have fewer than four ingredients. Buy items on the perimeter of the grocery store such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Most moderate exercise burns about 10 calories per minute, so if you walk for 30 minutes, you’ll only burn 300 calories. Remember that activity should not be viewed as license to increase your normal caloric intake.
  • Rest. Getting plenty of rest — seven to eight hours per night — to help you deal better with stressful situations and stay more mentally alert.
  • Hydration. Water is a major component of our bodies. Drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day keeps us in balance. Having a glass of water before eating also tames hunger.

Finally, give up the guilt. It’s the primary barrier that keeps us from reaching our well-being goals. Focus on what you do well and what you’ve achieved. Dwelling on an indulgence or skipped workout won’t help you achieve your goals. Put things in perspective and take every opportunity to celebrate.

If you’re ready to get moving and achieve your career goals, it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

*Source: Research collaboration between the U.S.-based Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute quantified how much longer people can live depending on the levels of exercise they engage in.

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