Category: Nursing specialties

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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Diabetes: Fact or Myth

By Joyce Kaska-Laird, MA, RD, LD, CHES, CDE
Diabetes Program Manager
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

As someone who works with diabetes patients every day, I often find myself in the role of a myth buster. Patients who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes and those who have been dealing with the disease for some time often have to be reminded about the realities of living with their chronic condition. In a word, I reinforce moderation with my patients.

While each patient requires individualized instruction and a care plan specifically tailored to meet his or her needs, commonly held myths still exist. Here are just a couple:

  • Potatoes, bananas, grapes, and other foods are strictly off limits. False. The reality is that patients with diabetes can eat these foods, but they must be vigilant about portion size and balancing food groups to maintain their blood sugar level within desired limits.
  • Sweets are a definite no-no. False. Again, moderation and portion size are the keys to satisfying a sweet tooth. An acceptable portion is a 2-inch square piece of cake or one-half cup of ice cream. Because sweets have carbohydrates, patients must integrate sweets into that particular day’s nutrition plan. For instance, if they ingest carbs with a serving of sweets, they need to reduce carbs elsewhere in their food intake that day. That’s where the balancing act becomes important.

The facts are patients come to us exhibiting the same risk factors that are growing among the population as a whole — obesity, lack of exercise, increased levels of stress, poor eating habits, and a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. Most troubling is the rapidly increasing incidence of diabetes appearing in teens and young adults, which translates to increasing health care costs.

The good news is we’ve come a long way in helping patients manage their diabetes. New pharmaceutical advances offer patients improved quality of life. For example, some medications increase the amount of insulin made by the pancreas after a meal and help control the amount of sugar made by the liver.  New injectable medications help patients’ bodies make more insulin after they eat and act to suppress appetite.

Thanks to technological advances with blood sugar meters, tracking information is easier. Older adults can use meters with larger displays and numbers. Meters no longer require coding. New meters can display reading trends over an extended period of time. And we can now monitor patients remotely while giving real-time information to members of their care team. This enables quicker modification of medications, diet, exercise, and other aspects of patients’ lives.

Here are the four most important things that patients can do to either prevent the onset of diabetes or keep their diabetes under control:

  • Lose weight and maintain an ideal body weight. By reducing weight by 10 to 20 percent, patients can improve their blood sugar levels. Maintaining an ideal body weight is as easy as limiting fast-food intake, eating a balanced diet, limiting fat intake, and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain balance throughout the day. Watch carbohydrate intake. Don’t skip meals. Instead, eat balanced meals throughout the day.
  • Be active. Try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. Walking, cycling, and running are good examples.
  • Control stress. If stress is an issue, consider joining a support group. Look for activities you enjoy doing. And remember, exercise reduces stress.

At Methodist Charlton Medical Center, we help patients get involved in their care so they can better manage their diabetes for a better quality of life. If you’re ready for a better quality of life, maybe it’s time to make a change in your career and choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Giving Thanks for Our Nurses

By Karla Ramberger, MSN, RN
Chief Nursing Officer, Methodist Dallas Medical Center

America has a wonderful, unique tradition of setting aside one day each year to give thanks for our many blessings. While many feel that this spirit of thankfulness should be observed daily, I’m proud to say that thanking and appreciating

each other is our culture at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

We are especially thankful for our nurses and for their personal commitment to caring and dedication to our patients. I’m thankful that our nurses choose to be a part of our family, and that each one is dedicated to excellence in care. They could work anywhere, but they’ve chosen to align with our values and care for our patients. I’m thankful for their heartfelt compassion and connection with our patients, something that can’t be taught, but something we definitely look for when we’re hiring caregivers.

Vision is critical, and our hospital has the goal to be the best. Our leadership team works to support our nursing staff each day. They realize that nurses are what make a hospital great.

I’m also thankful that I was a bedside nurse. This experience has equipped me to understand and represent our nurses in my day-to-day responsibilities. That’s why I’m a firm believer in thanking and rewarding our nursing staff by providing opportunity for meaningful career development and leadership advancement.

Top 10 lists are certainly in vogue these days, and I want to share with you my top 10 reasons I’m thankful for our nurses:

  1. For the sacrifices they make each day for others.
  2. For working nights, weekends, and holidays, and not choosing a traditional 8-to-5 job.
  3. For being patient advocates and speaking up on behalf of our patients.
  4. For being willing to continue to learn about the latest advances and grow in their position.
  5. For sharing a vision for excellence in care and being dedicated to the vision.
  6. For their high level of professionalism.
  7. For their dedication to each patient and family experience.
  8. For choosing Methodist Dallas over other hospitals as the place to grow their careers.
  9. For making Methodist a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal for the ninth year.
  10. For caring about each other.

I often hear our caregivers say, “I’m just a nurse.” But in truth, what they think is ordinary is actually extraordinary! From reviving someone who’s collapsed to comforting a family member to holding a tiny baby fighting for life, they’re so much more than “just a nurse.”

It’s an honor to serve in my nursing leadership role, and a privilege to be the voice for our front-line nurses every day. Please know my thankfulness and gratitude extends beyond just one day a year. I’m thankful for your presence, your skills, and your compassion, every single day.

If you’re looking for a rewarding place to develop your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting


© Methodist Health System


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All in the Methodist El Centro Family

By David Molengraaf, RN
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

For me, Methodist Health System is a family affair. I believe so much in Methodist as a caring organization, not just its dedication to caring for patients but for the well-being of its caregivers as well. Methodist is committed to creating successful caregivers through its partnership with El Centro Community College, which is how I obtained my nursing degree. I loved it so much, I’ve referred five people to the program — most of whom are family members.

I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, but had always envisioned myself as a nurse. I applied to nursing school and was accepted, but family economics didn’t allow me to continue.

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Instead, I became a police officer and joined the Army reserves. Throughout my 21 years of military service, I was deployed overseas several times. During that time, I married a wonderful woman. She was a nurse and my inspiration. When I retired from the service, I began working at Methodist Dallas Medical Center as a clinical secretary and telemetry technician. That was just the beginning.

I soon realized that I had a golden opportunity to complete my nursing education.
Thanks to the El Centro Community College and Methodist Nursing Program as well
as Methodist’s tuition reimbursement benefit, Methodist paid for my entire
nursing education.

After graduating with my nursing degree, my wife and I encouraged my sister to
consider a health care career. She took our advice, and today my sister is a pharmacy
tech supervisor at Methodist. I didn’t stop there. I urged my sister’s husband to become a nurse, and he just completed the El Centro and Methodist Nursing Program. My daughter couldn’t escape our family’s health care focus, either. She started in pre-med with the intention of becoming an anesthesiologist, but changed her mind. After considering how much career flexibility she’ll have as an RN, she’s now planning to start the El Centro

and Methodist Nursing Program in the fall. Her goal is to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Why, you may ask, am I such a Methodist groupie? It’s simple. The organization is career-friendly, and I think they are doing the right thing for their patients, our community, and their staff.

While I initially found my niche in the medical-surgical intensive care units (ICU) at Methodist Dallas, I had always seen myself in a leadership role. With Methodist’s support, today I am a nurse manager in the ICU at Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

Why ICU? It’s a fast-paced environment. After

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serving in the police force and military, fast-paced is second nature to me. An ICU nurse has to develop quick critical-thinking skills in order to anticipate and immediately respond to the patient’s needs. He or she needs to be a team player, because it truly takes the entire team to successfully care for the patient. Working with patients’ family members, anticipating their needs, being empathetic with the emotional stress they are experiencing, and providing the support they need are all aspects of an ICU nurse’s role.

Methodist is an organization that values nurses. They foster a dynamic team environment where ideas and individual growth are supported. They are patient-driven, and we are appreciated.

If you’re ready to join a family of dedicated, caring professionals, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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From RT to RN: Taking on a new role in the NICU

by Stephanie Cunningham, RN
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

A few weeks ago, I told you my story about becoming a respiratory therapist (RT). My grandfather’s battle with emphysema reinforced my desire as a young child to care for others. For 28 years, I proudly helped my tiny patients in Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) overcome their breathing challenges as an RT. But I wanted a new career opportunity. Just a few months ago, I graduated from nursing school and took on a new role as a registered nurse in familiar surroundings — the NICU.

When my daughter entered college, it rekindled a long-held inner desire to broaden my health care career by becoming a nurse. I loved the NICU, and I knew I wanted to continue caring for our smallest patients. Being a longtime member of the Methodist Dallas family provided me with a golden opportunity to apply for the associate degree in nursing program, jointly sponsored by Methodist Health System and El Centro Community College. I completed the prerequisite courses, then applied to enter the two-year nursing program.

I was excited at the prospect of actually realizing my dream of becoming a NICU nurse. I knew it was within my reach because Methodist offered full tuition reimbursement as part of its excellent employee benefits package. After graduation, I couldn’t wait to come back to the NICU as a nurse, a role I had been preparing for all my life.

The first two months of my NICU nursing internship focuses on caring for what we call “feeders and growers,” those premature infants who need to be cared for until they are eating and growing and able to be discharged home to continue developing. The following two months will focus on caring for preemies who are more critical. Typically these babies are in the NICU for approximately three months, depending on their weight and progress.

I’ve found that my experience as an RT has helped me care for my patients and educate their families. Respiratory complications are common for preemies because their lungs are one of the last organs to develop. They also risk developing infections because their immune systems are immature. There’s no question that these babies require a lot of care and attention, because they face many obstacles on their journey to full, healthy lives.

NICU nurses share common traits. We love babies, even when they cry at the same time. We have big hearts, but are able to separate ourselves emotionally. We communicate well with our babies’ parents, often providing a stabilizing force during what may be emotional and trying times for them. Being a NICU nurse takes a special kind of person to provide this type of care.

Throughout my years in the Methodist Dallas NICU, I have learned that teaming with parents to carry

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out the care plan for their baby is extremely important. We serve as nurse and coach, allaying their fears and helping them bond and connect with their baby. Communication is the key to our success and ultimately the common thread that holds the care team together — nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, and physicians.

I think my grandfather would be proud of me and what I’ve be able to give to my precious patients and their families over the years.

If you’re ready to expand your nursing career to the tiniest patients, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Helping Newborns Breathe: Why I Chose Respiratory Therapy in the NICU

By Stephanie Cunningham, RN, RRT
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Life is full of surprises. That’s certainly true for my career. For 28 years I’ve worked as a respiratory therapist, mostly in the neonatal intensive care unit at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. There I fell in love with helping newborns breathe.

As long as I can remember, even as a child, I wanted to be a nurse. My grandfather had severe emphysema, and that was my first experience with breathing problems. In high school, I participated in a program that allowed me to tour every department in the hospital, so I got a taste of patient care from all angles. When I graduated from high school, I saw a brochure on respiratory therapy. It got my attention, perhaps because I remembered my grandfather’s experience. That’s when I decided to become an RT.

Over the years, my love for bedside care grew. I like working with patients and families, especially working with equipment such as the ventilator to help patients get well. I began working in the NICU and realized I had found my niche. I’ve always liked challenges, and when we have a very sick premature baby, we develop an individualized care plan that often includes using different ventilator settings to help the baby’s lungs improve.

Methodist Dallas has also given me the opportunity to take my RT skills in the NICU beyond the bedside as part of the neonatal transport team. During that time, it was a life-changing experience to be a key member of the care team responsible for safely moving a sick baby from a referral hospital in east Texas to the NICU at Methodist Dallas via the CareFlite helicopter.

Throughout my career I’ve had the privilege of working with new RTs coming into the field. My advice to them is simple and straightforward.

  • Ask questions to understand about the type of treatments you will be administering to your patients so you can continually learn. Education is wonderful, but students learn with experience. Only experience will help you develop a deeper understanding of why a particular procedure is used for a specific circumstance.
  • Seek out a mentor to guide you as you develop your daily skills. Conversely, as an experienced RT, it’s rewarding to mentor others. As they say, teaching strengthens and confirms good habits.

Why have I thrived as an RT for 28 years? It’s the patients. It’s making a difference in their lives time and time again. I remember one particular baby and her parents with whom I developed a close connection. The baby was in the hospital for several months. When she was finally able to go home, even though she left on oxygen, we all felt extremely rewarded. Over the years, she had many ups and downs with respiratory issues. Today, she’s almost 20 years old and has a bright future. It’s memories like this that reinforce why I became an RT. The career decision I made 28 years ago was the right one.

Ready for a bright move into respiratory therapy? Then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Bring on the Babies: Being A Postpartum/Newborn Nursery Nurse

By Victoria Solis, RN
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

I love babies and I love nursing. So my choice for a place to care for others wasn’t a difficult one. The postpartum/newborn nursery unit is where I spend my work hours, and it’s where my heart is.

Achieving my ideal career followed a natural progression, thanks to Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s coordinated educational career development plan. I began working at Methodist Dallas in 2005 as a patient care tech on a float team which included El Centro Community College nursing students. After completing my second semester of school, I was able to take advantage of Methodist Health System’s nurse extern program. This provided me two eight-hour shifts a week during the school year and daily shifts during the summer. The experiences I gained from these opportunities were priceless. In 2006, I obtained my RN and began working exclusively in the postpartum/newborn nursery unit. I completed a preceptor course so I can help develop other nurses on the unit. My goal is to become certified in maternal-newborn nursing.

My nursing education was on target with what I needed to blossom as a caregiver. Classroom hours were mostly spent at Methodist Dallas in a conference room, viewing the instructor on a large-screen television. My clinicals were completed at the hospital in various units. I really felt that Methodist was supporting my career endeavors and helping me reach my nursing aspirations by providing educational space and real-world clinical experience.

Like most nurses, there have been brief moments when I’ve wondered if I made the right choice. But it doesn’t take long for reality to reinforce that, yes, I did make the right choice. For example, a couple of years ago I took care of a mother and her new baby. After the mom left the hospital, she sent me a card thanking me for caring for her and her newborn. A few weeks ago, I was in the cafeteria and this woman came up to me with her two-year-old. She remembered me and thanked me again for taking such good care of them. Moments like this make nursing all worthwhile.

While postpartum and newborn nursing are my life’s calling, there are some things that nurses need to consider before setting foot in this area.

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  • Patience, patience, and more patience is absolutely required when caring for babies. Caring in the midst of a roomful of crying babies takes a special person.
  • Caring for new moms also requires patience, good listening skills, empathy, and objectivity. New moms have lots of questions. They can get very worried and experience a great deal of angst. You have to listen to the moms’ concerns and help them understand what’s normal and when to call the physician.
  • Managing time is extremely important. Every new mom requires something different. Every new mom must be taught many things before she and her newborn go home. One example is breastfeeding. This is a very personal issue and requires education and coaching. I’m proud of our lactation program because it’s been recognized with the Texas Ten Step award. Because we generally see the moms and babies for only two or three days, prioritizing tasks is critical to enable the nurse to spend quality time with each mom and baby.

I’m lucky because I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. Even as a child, I remember doing little things for others to make them feel better. As a relatively new nurse, I think I have a valuable perspective for those currently in school.

  • Pick an area of nursing you really enjoy. This may not be readily apparent until after you complete some of your clinicals in the hospital.
  • Take any and all opportunities available to get more involved in the activities on your unit.
  • Consider going back to school to pursue higher levels of certifications and degrees after about a year of nursing experience.
  • Be a good role model on your unit and talk to your manager if you want to take on more responsibility.

Today’s nurses have so many options and so many opportunities. I found my niche in the postpartum/newborn nursery unit. I hope you find yours.

If your formula for an ideal nursing career includes babies and new moms, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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Want a Better Workplace? Add Some FUN!

By Jerilyn Pope, LPC, RCC
Senior Organizational
Effectiveness Strategist, 
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

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I think Dr. Patch Adams was onto something. In the 1998 film by the same name, Robin Williams portrayed the real-life physician who understood the healing power of laughter, joy, and creativity, and how it can impact what is typically a stress-filled environment. At Methodist Health System, fun is second nature — it’s built into our culture and it shapes the way we care for our patients and their families, as well as the way we care for each other.

In my role as senior OE strategist, I work closely with the others on the OE team to focus on leadership development, change management, leadership coaching, and continuous improvement. In addition, as a licensed professional counselor, I facilitate team-building that includes personality assessments and activities that promote self-awareness. We focus on seeing things in a positive way that sets the foundation to use humor to create a fun work environment. We know that health care is especially challenging now because of all of the changes taking place. We strive to turn those challenges into positives, and find the fun and humor in stress-inducing moments.

There’s lots of research that shows humor and fun positively impact the workplace. The Great Places to Work Institute found that in Fortune’s Top 100 organizations, 80 percent of the employees said they have fun at work. When I say that fun is woven into our culture, I can cite several examples:

  • Picnics at all Methodist campuses where our employees celebrate with food, games, prizes, and other activities. The picnics are held on a workday at each Methodist hospital.
  • Friendly, fun competition between departments and campuses, such as dress your manager up in costume for Halloween, and other fun activities that support local charitable organizations.
  • Campus teams that participate in our Methodist softball league.
  • One-year anniversary celebrations for all employees, honoring their service to Methodist.
  • Annual service award banquets with videos to publicly honor and thank our dedicated, long-term employees.
  • Fun, themed recognition programs like “You Rock” and the GREAT awards.

I’ve found that there’s an art to infusing fun into the workplace. Following some simple rules about fun can assure the success of a humor-oriented environment.

  • Fun tactics should never negatively affect patient care or productivity.
  • In planning and implementing fun activities, the organization should always be aware of patients’ perceptions. Individuals who are ill and perhaps facing personal crisis may not interpret a fun activity in the same way the organization does.
  • The organizational culture needs to be built on employees respecting and valuing each other, including appreciating and celebrating diversity.
  • Leadership must set appropriate boundaries that model the desired behavior that is never at the expense of others. Employees’ self-esteem must always be maintained.
  • Employees need to feel that they have “permission” to have fun.

I’m proud to say that at Methodist we truly walk the talk when it comes to integrating fun into our everyday work lives. It provides multiple benefits to the organization and the many key stakeholder groups we serve.

  • Fun builds trusting relationships by establishing comfort levels that encourage people to be more open and honest with each other which leads to more effective communication.
  • Fun enhances the positive perspective. When you’re having fun, you see things in a different way, one that provides balance to the ever-present stress.
  • Fun promotes an energized work environment that creates and supports engaged, positive employees.

Every week I lead new employee orientation and I am asked the same question, “Why do you work at Methodist?” My answer is always the same — the people. I’m not talking about just one or two individuals. I’m talking about the entire organization. In today’s business world, that’s hard to find. I think, in large part, it’s because we recruit and hire based on our organization’s values. Our formula for employee success is simple — we recruit the best, hire the best, and celebrate the best people.

If you’re ready to have a little fun in your career, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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The Critical Care Difference.

By Tony Paterniti, RN, PhD
Director, Department of Education, Methodist Health System

I’m lucky. In my role as a nurse educator, I get to work with a wide variety of caregivers. Experience has taught me that individuals’ personalities often determine the area of nursing they decide to pursue. All are called to care, to heal. But each is motivated by different factors. Those factors determine the success they have in the career they have chosen, the career that they love.

One group of nurses, in particular, thrives on excitement, on change, and on challenge. They welcome the opportunity to care for some of the sickest, some of the most vulnerable patients who come to Methodist Health System hospitals. I’m speaking of critical care nurses.

What draws individuals to this highly stressful, yet highly rewarding nursing niche? Most feed off of the adrenaline rush associated with fast-paced, life and death situations. They function well under long periods of stress, but it’s exhausting. They enjoy technology, such as IV pumps, ventilators, and more, and how it has transformed patient care. They thrive on the challenge of helping those who have been severely injured. They know how to balance empathy with realism such as when they care for patients whose injuries may affect them for a lifetime. But most of all, critical care nurses have a deep desire to help people at their very core. Critical care nurses know their capabilities and are confident that their skills, judgment, and insight are saving lives every single day.

There’s no question that critical care nursing has experienced revolutionary change over the years. Advanced technology has enabled many critical patients to survive and return to productive lives. Today, nurses, as well as other members of the patient care team, have a much better understanding of nutrition and the critical role it plays in a patient’s recovery. Patients are in the intensive care unit and hospital as a whole for a much shorter period of time. And some who may not have survived their illnesses or injuries 30 years ago are being discharged to their homes within a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. Nurses are surrounded with a much broader support system of resources including chaplains, respiratory therapists, and many others. Perhaps the biggest change for critical care nurses is the active role played by the patient and his or her family in the patient’s care plan. Compared to 30 years ago, patients are coming to the hospital much more informed, many with advanced directives already in place. In addition, family members are asking questions and supporting their loved one’s recovery.

Even though critical care nurses are some of the most difficult to recruit and retain, Methodist is fortunate to be positioned as the employer of choice for many seeking this special area of care. There are several reasons for this:

  • Methodist offers internships in critical care.
  • The nurse mentor program establishes an ongoing relationship between a new critical care nurse and an experienced nurse, offering guidance and support.
  • Our level II trauma center provides an opportunity to care for a variety of acutely ill and injured patients.
  • We have extremely supportive physicians who have developed a deep level of trust with critical care nurses, knowing they are their eyes and ears when they are not at the hospital.
  • Our focus on employees’ health and their physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being is one of the reasons Methodist was recently recognized as one of the healthiest places to work in North Texas by the Dallas Business Journal.
  • And, perhaps most important, there’s a spirit of team work and camaraderie that creates a supportive family environment.

If you’re a critical care nurse looking for a new place to call home, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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10 Reasons Why Nurses Are Amazing

By Fran Laukaitis, RN, MHA
Chief Nursing Officer, Methodist Charlton Medical Center

I love National Nurses Week. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. This week, at Methodist Health System we’re having a wonderful celebration to honor the extraordinary nurses who are part of the Methodist family. What’s more, we’re kicking off the DAISY Award program to further recognize our nurses (more about that later).

National Nurses Week gives us an opportunity to publicly thank our nurses and let them know that we are proud to be here with them as they make a difference to others every single day. They are a blessing for patients and they are a blessing to me personally as their nurse leader.

Why are nurses so special? Here are the top 10 reasons why nurses are truly amazing.

  1. Selflessness. Nurses give so much of themselves to others every single day.
  1. Flexibility. Our staff works tirelessly to deliver the high-quality care our patients and their families have come to expect from Methodist. With self-scheduling, nurses are usually able to find ways to juggle rewarding careers with the needs of their families.
  1. Passion. Nurses are passionate about what they do, which explains why they work hours others wouldn’t consider working, including evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. And yet, it can be magical to work in a hospital on Christmas morning with patients who appreciate the sacrifices and the care that nurses give them on that special day — as well as each day of the year.
  1. Compassion. The spirit of caring for others extends beyond nurses’ patients to encompass their co-workers, the organization, and the entire community. They come in early. They stay late. They trade shifts so others can attend important family events. They give, give, give.
  1. Humor. Nurses excel at having a sense of humor that many patients appreciate during difficult times.
  1. Connecting with patients. Caring for patients involves more than caring for their physical well-being. It’s not unusual for nurses to do extraordinary things for patients, like celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, bringing a Christmas gift to a patient who has no family, and many other thoughtful acts that contribute immeasurably to the overall patient experience.
  1. Putting patients first. Our nurses are guided by a simple but crucial principle — do what’s best for the patient.
  1. Sharing. Whether at the beginning of life or at the end, or anywhere in between, nurses are there to share the most important milestones with their patients as well as some of their toughest days. Patients may not realize it, but they impact and shape our lives too. I cherish the memories of so many of my patients from many years ago.
  1. Trust. It’s not lost on our nurses that their profession is one of the most trusted in the United States. Not only is this an honor, it is a responsibility to meet patients’ and families’ expectations every day.
  1. It’s our calling. It is our life’s work. For all of us at Methodist, nursing isn’t just a job, it’s our life, our calling, and we can’t imagine doing anything else.

Earlier I mentioned the DAISY Award. We are proud to launch this special nursing recognition at Methodist during National Nurses Week. Nominations will be accepted throughout the year, and an honoree will be selected from each Methodist hospital four times per year. The DAISY Award grew out of the grief of one family’s loss and their desire to thank the wonderful nurses who took care of their loved one during his final days. You can read more about this award at

If you’re looking for an amazing place to be a nurse, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System


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