Category: Nursing specialties

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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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

Posted in Career, Employee Recognition, Leadership, Nurses, Nursing Awards, Nursing specialties, Patient Care, Women in Health Care | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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The Untold Story About the Making of a Level I Trauma Center

By Michael S. Truitt, MD, Medical Director of Trauma Services
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

If you’re a nurse and your passion is caring for patients who have experienced major trauma, then you should consider expanding your career at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. Why? I’m proud to say that Methodist Dallas has recently achieved verification as a Level I trauma center by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the Committee on Trauma (COT). This signifies that Methodist Dallas provides the highest level of trauma and emergency care available.

But it didn’t happen overnight. For more than 20 years, Methodist Dallas has served as a destination for trauma patients in the Dallas area as a Level II trauma center, and our patient outcomes have been outstanding. During this time, the ACS repeatedly noted in our reviews that we were functioning at the highest end of Level II status, seeing more than 1,800 trauma patients annually. As the only trauma center in southern Dallas County and a regional referral center for other hospitals in North Texas, the critical care demands were growing.

As a result, the Methodist Health System board of directors and executive leadership began planning for a new critical care tower for the Methodist Dallas campus to meet the growing needs of the community. As our critical care capacity grew, the logical next step was to elevate our trauma program to achieve the Level 1 trauma center status.

How are we different from other trauma centers? As the medical director of trauma services and someone who works side by side with our staff, I know how valuable our nurses are. In fact, in my opinion, our nurses are the foundation of exceptional trauma care. And the nurses at Methodist are some of the most talented, dedicated nurses I have ever known. The acuity of our patients is one of the main reasons nurses want to work with us, but it’s also the culture and spirit of collaboration. For every one physician who comes into contact with a patient, there may be 20 or 30 nurses also touching that patient. We respect what each team member contributes to help save lives, and we continually work together to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients.

Becoming a Level I trauma center required a complete team effort with our physicians, nurses, administration, and the board of trustees and support from the community. But what’s a Level I designation really require? Here’s what Methodist Dallas is doing to meet some of COT’s rigid requirements:

  • Publish trauma research papers in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Sponsor outreach and injury-prevention programs such as geriatric nursing home programs to prevent falls, programs to reduce speed limits in areas with high accident rates, and more.
  • Provide a comprehensive 24/7 surgeon-led surgical service in the ICU, plus we started a critical care fellowship.
  • Expand the breadth of services, so we’ve hired additional neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and interventional radiologists, and we’ve developed and refined protocols to take care of urgent and emergent medical conditions.
  • We use our performance improvement programs to continuously monitor our outcomes, looking at things like mechanism of injury, how patients present, and how our trauma center’s outcomes compare to national benchmarks.

None of this would have been possible were it not for the efforts of Ernest Dunn, MD, the program director of Methodist Dallas’ general surgery program. He is the father of the trauma program at Methodist Dallas and steered it to Level II status. We owe him a large debt of gratitude for his foresight and unwavering commitment to trauma care.

If you want to join the legacy of excellence in trauma care, it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Men in Nursing at Methodist Health System

Simba Nyoni, RN, CRN, BSN — an ICU nurse at Methodist

Mansfield Medical Center — talks about the vital role men can play in nursing, especially certain specialties.

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Emergency Nursing at Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Have you considered emergency nursing? Theda Serna shares her experience as an ED RN at Methodist Charlton Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

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Internship Opens the Door to ED Nursing

By Bernadette Trail, PHR
Human Resources Generalist
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Nursing internships have been around for a long time. In fact, they’re one of the most popular employee programs offered at Methodist Charlton Medical Center. But this year, we are piloting a completely different internship program — one that specializes solely in transitioning experienced RNs to the Emergency Department (ED).

Internships traditionally provide a multidisciplinary experience in a variety of nursing settings, including medical-surgical, cardiology, neurology, the intensive care unit (ICU), and more. Now Methodist Charlton is offering 10-week internships for nurses who are ready to immerse themselves in an intense, structured, and ED-specific internship.

What’s more, Methodist Charlton’s internship is only for RNs who have at least two years of nursing experience. As the second-busiest ED in the Metroplex, this is a great opportunity for nurses who have a solid clinical foundation and who may have considered ED nursing in the past, but have been in another discipline.

Applications are being accepted now and classes will begin the end of August. We’re evaluating additional candidate criteria as well, including:

  • Compassion for the ED patient population
  • A commitment to working with high-acuity patients
  • A desire to help us take our ED to the next level in terms of serving our patients and delivering even better outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to be known for the compassion and concern we have for our patients.

The internship provides many benefits to selected candidates. In addition to the standard ED nursing experience, the internship will also offer ED critical care, and the clinical preceptor

phase will be guided by experts in emergency medicine and trauma care. Interns will join our proud, compassionate team of health care professionals that staff our ED. They will also be working for a health care system that has been recognized as a Best Place to Work for 10 consecutive years by the Dallas Business Journal and that has one of the most engaged employee populations in the nation as measured by the Advisory Board.

If you’re a nurse who has always wanted to work in the ED but for one reason or another never had the opportunity, the Methodist Charlton ED internship may be just the answer to redirect your career. As one of Texas’ leading teaching and referral centers, we are committed to providing fertile ground for learning and are passionate about quality health care.

If you’re ready to embark on a new journey in your nursing career that is both challenging and rewarding, then it’s time to choose the ED internship program at Methodist Charlton. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/MF/D/V

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Cardiology Clinicians Take Heart

By Darryl Jones II, BS, RCIS, RDCS
Interim Heart Center Educator
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

One thing I learned early in working with patients battling heart disease is you can’t be a hypocrite. February is heart month, but if you want your patients’ respect anytime of the year, you have to lead by example.  It starts with being a healthier you and having a heart for health.

I take my commitment to leading a healthier life seriously. I watch my diet by trying to avoid red meat, eating lots of chicken and fish, plus fruits and vegetables. I’ve really worked on portion control.
If I know I’m going out to dinner, I eat healthier breakfasts and lunches. And I believe walking is
the key to life. I walk four miles, two to three times
a week at a good pace. Even for seniors, if they keep walking, chances are they’ll do
pretty well.

Cardiology offers so many career choices, from research and education to clinical intervention and noninvasive treatments. In my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work as an EKG tech and in cardiac rehabilitation, echocardiology, and the cath/electrophysiology lab. What kind of skill set is required for cardiology? Here are some tips:

  • Be willing to constantly learn about emerging new procedures and techniques.
  • Be observant, using critical-thinking skills to meet individual patients’ needs who may not be able to speak for themselves.
  • Be a team player, comfortable working with and supporting others. You always work with team members.
  • Be a good listener and ask insightful questions. You never learn anything when
    you’re talking.

As an educator in the Sam & Anne Kesner Heart Center at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, every day I help patients who are facing challenges with their heart learn ways to improve their lifestyle and overall health. I keep up on the latest research and information about preventing and managing heart disease. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association stress the increasing importance of physical fitness — muscular fitness and cardiorespiratory fitness — for decreasing chronic diseases, promoting overall cardiovascular and general health, improving quality of life, and delaying cardiovascular disease and mortality in the U.S. population.

Methodist Dallas offers tremendous opportunities for cardiovascular professionals. From clinically advanced, minimally invasive surgical and cardiac procedures to a full range of sophisticated diagnostic and treatment services for heart disease and heart attacks, Methodist Dallas is on the cutting-edge of heart health. This includes our anticoagulation clinic that helps people manage and monitor the effects of anticoagulant medications and our cardiac rehabilitation programs that help damaged hearts regain their optimum levels of strength and health.

If you have a heart for health and you’re ready to set an example for your patients, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

EOE/M/F/D/V

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Med-surg Nursing: Caring from the Heart.

By Tammy Pikey, BSN, CMSRN
Director of Med-surg/IMC
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

I love med-surg nursing. I’ve been doing it my whole life and there’s nothing else I would rather be doing. Why am I so avid about this aspect of nursing? It’s really simple. Working with and being supported by a team of professionals quickly teach you how med-surg nurses care from their hearts.

Ever since I was young, I have loved caring for people. When I was 16, I started working in a nursing home. I experienced a lot of things such as, caring for a variety of people with a variety of illnesses and challenges. I enjoyed making a difference in other people’s lives. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is wearing a smile. Think of how these sick people feel if someone smiles. That’s when I knew I wanted to become a nurse.

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Many new nursing grads ask me if they should consider med-surg nursing as their first job in a hospital. Without a doubt, I tell them yes. Their experience as med-surg nurses will lay the foundation for the rest of their nursing careers. I’ve heard it said that if nurses can be good med-surg caregivers, they can do any type of nursing. That’s because med-surg nurses care for the entire body, and therefore develop a wide base of knowledge.

Today’s med-surg nurse is a far cry from a med-surg floor nurse of just 10 to 15 years ago. As patients have become more medically complex, niche areas within med-surg nursing have developed. Now, it’s possible to work within med-surg in neuro, respiratory, cardiac, renal, and a variety of other types of specialty units. And some med-surg units are functioning as step-down ICUs, giving nurses a chance to work with sicker patients.

I think there are four main reasons why med-surg nurses love their work.

  • Diversity. There’s something new every day. The diversity of cases is not only fascinating, it provides excellent opportunities for learning. Even with 30 years under my belt, I still find I’m discovering something new every day.
  • Teamwork. You become a valuable team member. For many nurses, working as an effective team member doesn’t come naturally; it’s a learned skill. Med-surg nurses certainly know the value of a strong, supportive team.
  • Challenge. Critical thinking and clinical skills are challenged every time you come to work. Many patients who would have been cared for in ICUs years ago are transferred to step-down med-surg units today. That means the patient acuity level is higher, requiring more of the nurses who work in those units.
  • Results. You see the results of your care. Med-surg nurses often have the privilege of seeing their patients improve, and return to their homes and their normal routines. Our patients remember who we are by the comments they write on the satisfaction surveys and thank you letters we receive from them.

If you’re ready to open your heart to a variety of patients and learn something new every day, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

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EOE/MF/D/V

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