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National Nurses Week: The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit

By Karla Ramberger, DNP, RN
Chief Nursing Executive
Methodist Health System

Here’s an interesting question to consider … would Florence Nightingale recognize the profession of nursing as it exists today? The automation, the technology, and the greater degree of autonomy would probably amaze her; however, she would undoubtedly see the common thread that has carried through from the day she established nursing as a career — the innate desire to care for others. I suspect she would not be surprised to learn that nursing is among the most trusted and valued professions for its caring contributions.

As we celebrate National Nurses Week this year during May 6-12, we have the opportunity to honor, recognize, and thank nurses for the tremendous job they do. The first observance of National Nurses Week took place in 1954, exactly 100 years after Florence Nightingale sought to treat wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Today, 163 years later, nurses are practicing in many different ways and in many different settings.

The theme for this year’s observance of National Nurses Week is “Nursing: The Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit.” Methodist Health System is supporting our nurses by providing resources to help them be continuous learners, healthy caregivers, and spiritually nourished individuals. Here are some of the ways Methodist honors our nurses.

  • Provide an opportunity for a nurse to shine as a mentor and preceptor. At Methodist, mentors and preceptors are highly valued for their experience and expertise.
  • Encourage professional development through our tuition reimbursement program.
  • Support nurses’ well-being through the Live Well, Shine Bright employee wellness program, including personal health coaching and prenatal care and support.
  • Celebrate through department and hospitalwide special events to celebrate and reward nurses for their services. Methodist has a long-standing tradition of holding monthly celebrations called GREAT Awards to help us recognize exceptional staff and encourage Giving Recognition for Excellence, Achievement, and Teamwork.

This year during National Nurses Week, I encourage you to personally thank a nurse you know or work with for their hard work and compassion. A handwritten thank-you note, a rarity in today’s electronic communication world, also speaks volumes about how grateful you are and how much you appreciate our nurses.

If you’re ready to join an organization that continually looks for ways to appreciate and thank its nurses, then it’s time to choose Methodist Health System, where careers shine bright. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System

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10 Years and Growing!

by Bridget Flaherty
Director of Physician Development
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

There’s a big strapping 10-year-old in Mansfield that’s full of energy and excitement. I’m not talking about a child. I’m talking about Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. I can’t believe that it’s been a decade since the hospital opened its doors to the community. To steal a phrase from a popular movie, “build it and they will come.”

Two years before the hospital’s opening, I was one of the very first employees hired! My job was to begin recruiting physicians. As the facility grew, so did our team. First, the president; then the chief nursing officer, quality director, and human resources director; and then many more were hired. We were off and running.

The small hospital staff worked together in a trailer that was parked on the property. It was fun, exciting — and cozy. Soon we were bursting at the seams, but one characteristic of Methodist Mansfield stood out. It felt and still feels like family.

Getting to build a hospital from the ground up is a special privilege, and I was honored to tell the Methodist Mansfield story. The promise of growth in the hospital and surrounding community, as well as our commitment to our mission — to improve and save lives through compassionate, quality healthcare — was true then just as it is now.

I guess I would sum up the first 10 years of service to the community as growth and expansion. When we opened the doors on December 27, 2006, we had 80 private rooms with capacity to expand to 152. Today we have a second patient care tower and 254 beds to better serve the expanding community. We offer patients some of the latest medical technologies and innovative treatments, as well as dozens of specialties — including four gastroenterology procedure rooms. And we are continuing to grow.

What do we want people to know about Methodist Mansfield? We offer open heart surgery as part of the award-winning cardiology services at the Amon G. Carter Foundation Heart and Vascular Center, and one of our independently practicing neurologists performed Methodist Mansfield’s first craniotomy in November. Our technology includes 3-D mammography and minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery, and plans are underway to acquire the next frontier in robotic technology, the da Vinci Xi® Surgical System. We’re also immersed in the community, working with Mansfield and Midlothian schools to provide sports physicals and echocardiograms for school athletes.

When it comes to quality patient care, we’ve achieved exceptional safety scores and outperformed other hospitals in key quality measures. We strive to provide excellent patient care and continue to be a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal. 

People ask me what it was like then. Because we were few and close-knit, we were nimble and able to move quickly. I remember the excitement I would feel, and still feel today, when a new physician would choose to join the medical staff. And I remember when we started building the hospital our neighbors were a SONIC® drive-in, a fire station, two schools, and a large herd of cattle.

We were fortunate to have a wealth of experienced healthcare professionals who lived in the area but commuted to Fort Worth or Dallas to work. Many of them joined our team and others transferred from our sister hospitals in Dallas. The great news is that we have tenured team members with years of experience, and once you join us you will want to stay. As with all Methodist facilities, it’s our people who make the difference. They keep me here. We’re family.

Ask most employees here, and you’ll find we’re proud to be a part of Methodist Mansfield. In fact, you may hear them say, “WAMM” — our motto, We Are Methodist Mansfield!

If you want to join an innovative, compassionate family of healthcare professionals, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

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

© Methodist Health System

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The Secrets to My Nursing Success

Interview with Melissa Mitchell, MSN, RN, CMSRN
Director of Education
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

To say Melissa Mitchell is a driven, goal-oriented person is an understatement. Throughout her nursing career, her eye has been on the prize ahead. From a longtime LVN to an associate degree in nursing to her BSN and MSN-education degrees, one of the secrets to her success has been education. We asked Melissa to tell us about her journey to success and how Methodist Health System helped her discover more about herself than she even thought was possible.

Q: When did you know you wanted to be a nurse?

A: When I was a child, my grandfather died of cancer. That made a big impact on my life, and I realized then that I wanted to be a nurse and help others. That desire to help has led me to my current position in education.

Q: How did Methodist help you advance your career?

A: For many years, I was an LVN. I realized that if I wanted to truly help others the way I envisioned, I would have to move up in the nursing ranks. One of my many mentors was the director of education at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. He believed in me and inspired me to continue my nursing education through programs offered by Methodist. I am a single parent, so I was only able to achieve this through God’s help and the support I received from my co-workers, my managers, and the entire Methodist family. I am thankful that Methodist’s leadership encourages and helps employees advance in their careers.

Q: Tell me about some of the educational programs that Methodist offered.

A: It is called the El Centro College Associate Degree Nursing Program at Methodist Health System (ECC MHS). The program was fantastic because it allowed me to get my RN with the support of two organizations — Methodist and El Centro. From the Methodist Dallas campus, I was able to attend classes via Skype from a classroom as well as complete my clinicals on the Dallas campus, and in the skills lab.  By agreeing to stay at Methodist for two-and-a-half years, the organization paid for my tuition and books. In addition, I was able to take advantage of a 12-week nursing resident program and participate in another year of mentoring after I obtained my RN. The tuition reimbursement benefits also extended to my BSN and MSN degrees.

Q: Were there programs to help you develop as a leader?

A: Yes. They are offered under the Organizational Effectiveness Training and Development umbrella. Individual programs include the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and effective communications classes. In addition, MHS reimburses for RN certification courses and exams which allow nurses to obtain national certifications in a number of specialties.

Q: What did you learn in the ELP program?

A: A lot. I learned how to:

  • Identify problems through process improvements
  • Research challenges
  • Step out of my comfort zone, develop trust, and work together as a team
  • Create and present solutions.

I learned that you cannot become complacent. You have to learn from your mistakes and continue to evaluate and tweak solutions to achieve even greater success. The ELP helped me assimilate everything I learned over the years, helping me to dream and develop confidence so I could reach my career goals. I knew I was passionate about nursing, but I did not know that my end would be a director.

Q: What are the secrets to your nursing success?

A: I recently spoke to the 21st graduation class from the ECC MHS. I told them the secrets to nursing success are really quite simple. Imagine your nursing career as a journey on a never-ending road with ups and downs, curves, and challenges, but through it all you have to remain committed to the L3.

  • Love: Love yourself and love helping others.
  • Learn: Make a commitment to lifelong learning. Continue to grow and challenge yourself.
  • Laugh: Laugh and enjoy what you do wherever the road takes you.

Q: Why has Methodist turned out to be the perfect fit for you and your career?

A: That’s easy — three reasons:

  • Methodist is a faith-based organization.
  • Methodist truly cares about their employees. They listen to their ideas, implement them when they can, and encourage ongoing evaluation because they are passionate about continual improvement.
  • Finally, they celebrate employees and encourage them to be successful through efforts such as Spirit newsletter, G.R.E.A.T. awards, and more. I love to laugh, so I love to celebrate.

If you’ve been searching for a partner to help you realize your career dreams, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at .

© Methodist Health System

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Finding the Perfect Environment Was Critical to My Career Development

By Dee Drake, BSN, CCRN
Certified Critical Care Nurse, Cath Lab
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Dee Drake, BSN, CCRN
Certified Critical Care Nurse, Cath Lab
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Looking for the perfect nursing environment? A place you can call home? Dee Drake, BSN, CCRN, found that at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, and today she is a CCRN in the cath lab. Dee tells us what she learned and how others mentored and influenced her over the years.

Q: Tell us about your career path?

A: After I graduated from nursing school, I was fortunate to secure a critical care nurse internship in the CCU at Methodist Dallas. I was surrounded by wonderful, nurturing professionals who helped me develop my nursing and critical thinking skills. After 10 years in the CCU, I left to take a management position at a long-term care facility. Although I enjoyed and learned much from the experience, it wasn’t the best fit for me at that time. After a few years, a friend who was the manager in the CCU at Methodist Dallas offered me a nursing position. I eagerly accepted her offer and returned to CCU on the night shift.  After four very satisfying years, it was time to conquer new challenges. I decided I wanted to work in the cath lab, so in preparation, I took and passed the CCRN exam. Then, when a nursing position opened in the cath lab at Methodist, I applied and got the job.

Q: What does your job entail?

A: I take care of cardiovascular patients during their procedures in the cath and EP labs. I am also a member of the STEMI call team. STEMI is an abbreviation for ST elevation myocardial infarction — these are patients who are in the midst of having a heart attack. I find my job to be an ideal mix of applying my critical care nursing experience and delivering specialized care to cardiovascular patients in a fast-paced, energetic environment. I’m passionate about taking care of patients, but also love working with the tremendous bunch of professionals who have become my friends and family. We are a great team.

Q: Why do you consider Methodist Dallas home?

A: After several years at Methodist Dallas, I decided to try working in another hospital’s cath lab for a while. Maybe the grass was greener? It wasn’t. I quickly returned to Methodist Dallas. This is home for me. Here, the culture is better than anywhere else. I’ve never forgotten how nurturing this hospital was to me when I was just out of school. Today, I realize how fortunate I was to be in that environment, how special and uncommon it is. Now I strive to promote the culture of Methodist by supporting and teaching new nurses. I am proud to work here. We deliver excellent care to our patients, and we have fun doing it. I’m free to be my own person, and I enjoy the diversity of the staff. We’re very accepting of others, and we embrace our differences. I call it the St. Elsewhere feeling. It’s home — what else can I say?

Q: What was the most important thing a mentor told you?

A: Two things stand out. First, take care of yourself — give yourself some of the compassion you give others. Second, remember why you are here — to take care of patients. You have to have your heart in it every day. The culture at Methodist Dallas really encourages you to care for yourself as well as others. Plus you’re surrounded by compassionate caregivers who continually support you in your efforts to put the patient at the center of everything you do.

Q: What would you tell a new nurse to ensure a successful career path?

A: Follow your heart. Treat people with respect and kindness. Most of all, believe in what you’re doing. Find a nurturing environment like Methodist Dallas where you are welcomed and supported.

Q: Why do you stay at Methodist Dallas?

A: I feel appreciated here, by staff, physicians, and most important, by patients. They truly appreciate the care we give them.

If you’ve been searching for the perfect fit for your career, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System

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The Twelve Days to De-stress Your Holidays (hmmmm)

By Kathy Ross, RN, MHA
Wellness Director
Methodist Health System

Have you finished your holiday shopping? Are the cards out? Gifts mailed? Ready for the upcoming family get-together?

If not, take heart. You’re not alone. ’Tis the season of excess and stress — and balancing a hectic personal life with your professional life can be overwhelming. The good news is there’s no need to stress over excess if you remember that sometimes less is more.

Think about letting go of stress related to things that are out of your control. After all, you can’t do much about the weather or relatives that you have little in common with and rarely see. Instead seek out quiet time to relax and reflect on the bounty of good things in your life. Here are some tips to reduce stress this time of year:

  • Take charge and set limits so you can devote your time and energy to the things that matter most to you
  • Slow down and do the things that help you enjoy the season
  • Appreciate the blessings in your life such as your health, your friends and family, and the support of your co-workers
  • Remember to breathe! Take long, full breaths in, then slowly, fully empty your lungs as you breathe out.

It’s no secret that stress can harm your health. Research shows that heart-related deaths increase by 5 percent during the holiday season. According to a study published in Circulation from the American Heart Association, fatal heart attacks peak on Christmas day, the day after Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Increased stress levels can result in heightened muscle tension, headaches, upset stomachs, impaired sleep, and increased eating and alcohol consumption.

My gift to you this season is “The 12 Days of Holiday De-stress.” Please sing or hum to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas” as you read the lyrics below!

“On the first day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
A quiet time by the fireplace.

On the second day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the third day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the fourth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the fifth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the sixth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the seventh day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the eighth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the ninth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the tenth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Ten juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the eleventh day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Eleven dogs a’fetching, 10 juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.

On the twelfth day of de-stress, Methodist sent tips to me:
Twelve rounds of laughing, 11 dogs a’fetching, 10 juicy oranges, quality time with nine friends, eight hours of sleep, seven bubble baths, six holiday movies, gleeful online shopping, four relaxing neck rubs, three brisk walks in the park, two joyful songs, and a quiet time by the fireplace.”

If you’re ready to hum along with an organization that helps you balance your personal and professional lives, then it’s time to consider Methodist Health System. Learn more by visiting

© Methodist Health System

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Barbara Madden, A Voice of Experience, Assumes VP/CNO Role

by Barbara Madden, MSN, BSN
Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

A core value woven into the fabric of the Methodist Health System culture is promoting from within. Just ask me, Barbara Madden. I recently accepted the role of vice president, chief nursing officer (CNO) for Methodist Dallas Medical Center. My nursing career at Methodist spans 30 years. I joined the hospital in 1985 as a med-surg nurse and then moved to adult critical care, an area I fell in love with. Soon, I assumed the role of clinical b-maddeneducator and then manager of the ICU and, when the opportunity presented itself in 1997, I was promoted to director of critical care services. That’s the leadership role I held for 19 years, until my recent promotion to vice president, chief nursing officer.

Even though I had a clinical career plan, time after time I had leadership opportunities come my way. During my journey, I learned to listen and trust what others saw in me, often before I saw those qualities in myself. When Karla Ramberger, Methodist’s newly appointed senior vice president and chief nursing officer, asked me to consider the Methodist Dallas CNO role, I thought about what would be required and the opportunities it might bring. As the executive leader of nursing services for the hospital, I knew I would have to build on the close relationships I had developed with the people with whom I would be working. I also recognized the tremendous opportunity to work with Karla, who had mentored me over the years. It seemed like everything fell into place.

Methodist’s belief in recognizing internal talent and promoting individuals to higher positions is critically important. I think it sets us apart from other healthcare systems. Because mentors have significantly influenced my career, I see the benefit of growing people. Even when I’ve questioned if I was the best person for the job, each of my mentors confidently helped me take the next step.

Personally, that’s helped me grow into a different, better person. But it’s also good for our organization. When you recognize people for their talents and skills and give them opportunities to grow and advance, you have a much better chance of keeping the best and brightest in your organization. People who remain loyal to the organization develop a history that can help recruit others as they share their positive experiences. They also are more engaged, and that translates to providing better care and service to our patients and their families.

When you believe in promoting your best internal talent, then it is incumbent upon leaders to serve as mentors to help develop future leaders personally and professionally. As new positions emerge and existing positions evolve, we continue to think one step ahead by developing people who are going to be successful in the new healthcare environment. Professional development involves giving people additional opportunities to grow and letting them know that the great job they are doing is contributing to the success of the organization and the well-being of our patients.

If you’re searching for an organization that values its people and is committed to promoting from within, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System

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Why I’m Proud To Be a Critical Care Nurse

By Kathryn Patton, MHA, BSN, RN
ICU Nurse Manager, Critical Care Services
Methodist Charlton Medical Center

Meet the team: (top L to R) Mark Gemina, RN, Jill Hamilton, RN, Jeremy Guthrie, RN Resident, Kerry Santa Lucia, RN, Kathryn Patton, RN; (bottom) Justin Myers, RN

Meet the team: (top L to R) Mark Gemina, RN, Jill Hamilton, RN, Jeremy Guthrie, RN Resident, Kerry Santa Lucia, RN, Kathryn Patton, RN; (bottom) Justin Myers, RN

In the spring of 2016, Methodist Charlton Medical Center expanded its critical care services to 32 beds. We asked Kathryn Patton, ICU nurse manager in critical care services at Methodist Charlton, about her career and why she is proud to be a critical care nurse.

Q: How long have you been a critical care nurse?

Patton: I’ve been a registered nurse for 16 years, and of those, six years have been in critical care. For the last three years, Methodist Charlton has been my home.

Q: Why did you become a nurse?

Patton: It’s a tradition in my family. My grandmother, mother, sister, and sister-in-law were or are all nurses. I started my nursing career path when I was in high school and completed a clinical rotation in health occupation education.

Q: What do you love most about nursing as a career?

Patton: I have worked in many different roles as a nurse throughout my career, all while continuing to broaden my professional scope by obtaining my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I began in orthopedics and medical-surgical, often as a traveling nurse. I moved to mother-baby care, and then, after obtaining my bachelor’s degree in nursing, I worked in a surgery center for a year. When the administrator left, the surgery center gave me the opportunity to assume that position. I stayed for six years and did everything from scrub into surgery to negotiate insurance contracts. It was an invaluable experience. Ultimately, I felt I needed a job where I was always going to be challenged. I loved the operating room and had an interest in becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist, but I needed ICU experience. I applied for a position in the Methodist Dallas Medical Center Critical Care Unit Internship program. It was there that I realized how much I had to learn. I was shocked that even though I had been a nurse for eight years, there was still so much I didn’t know.

Q: How does your current job make you happy?

Patton: For me, three things stand out. I enjoy the people with whom I work. I value the support I receive from leadership and co-workers. The mental challenges and sense of accomplishment I feel every day provide the stimulation and learning environment that is so important to me.

Q: What’s been your most amazing experience as a critical care nurse at Methodist Charlton?

Patton: Undoubtedly, helping transition into the new ICU including working with current staff, hiring new staff, developing policies and procedures, and earning my co-workers’ trust by providing stability during a time of tremendous change. It has been very fulfilling for me.

Q: Speaking of the new ICU at Methodist Charlton, how does the new unit make a difference for your nurses in their daily work?

Patton: The technology that is available to nurses in the new unit has truly improved the quality of their work life and, in turn, improved the care we provide to patients. Responder Five is a new call system that links staff phones at any given moment. It allows us to text all nurses to communicate changes or needs. Examples are a new admission coming into the unit, a critical care patient need, an alert about an immediate need for a huddle. Communication is a critical success factor in the critical care environment because we cover a large geographic area. Plus, we staff 18 licensed nurses and five ancillary staff per shift when we are at capacity. Effective communication supported by the latest technology enables us to function as an effective team and maintain our focus on our patients.

Q: Why did you choose to work at Methodist Charlton?

Patton: I need to work in an environment that is progressive, proactive, and fast paced. Methodist Charlton began Intensivist coverage almost three years ago. This has made a meaningful impact in the way we treat and manage our critical care patients.

Q: What are the biggest challenges you encounter and how do you overcome them?

Patton: My biggest challenge was to gain the trust of the existing employees when I started in my new role. I needed their trust to be their leader. I attribute the success I have had in this endeavor to transparency, effective communication, leadership style, and being there with them, physically by their side, to help them. I am proud that we have truly become a high-energy, high-results team.

Q: What are your thoughts about the leadership style at Methodist Charlton?

Patton: Everyone, from our president down through the management ranks, is transformational. That’s important to me because that’s my leadership style as well. Everyone in my unit is equal. We are one team. When issues come up, we address them immediately face to face. We problem solve together. When there is a desire to change something, our unit-based council leads the initiative to come up with a solution. This transformational style is not something the organization strives for, it’s something the leaders live every day.

Q: What keeps you at Methodist Charlton?

Patton: The culture. The people. The commitment to deliver quality care to our patients. Probably 90 percent of our employees in the ICU drive by at least one hospital to get to Methodist Charlton. We have many employees from Plano, Garland, Granbury, Waxahachie, Irving, and Lewisville, just to name a few. Our staff is invested in our hospital and unit as demonstrated by their dedication and loyalty. I have been fortunate to have worked in several different healthcare systems in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This has given me a great perspective of work flow and culture that I value. Methodist Charlton is by far the best place and the best group of people with whom I have ever worked. It says a lot about the compassionate people who choose to work here.

If you’re ready to find your niche in an organization that checks all your boxes for career satisfaction, consider Methodist Charlton Medical Center. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System


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Nonclinical internships: giving students a glimpse of healthcare careers

by Wayne Wilson, PHR, MBA
Manager, Human Resources
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

We’ve all been there. Fresh out of school and ready to join the workforce. You secure an interview and things seem to bewayne-wilson going well. Then you hear those dreaded words, “We’re looking for someone with experience.” But how are you supposed to get experience when you’ve just graduated? Sound familiar?

That happened to me, and I’ll never forget the frustration that I felt as I tried to figure out how to get around this conundrum. As a human resources manager at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, I decided to tackle this situation head on over five years ago. My solution was to create a nonclinical internship program for high school and college students. The idea was to give these students a chance to gain experience and real-world skills by working with a large healthcare provider. I started in my own backyard, human resources. Based on the success my department had with the program, I slowly expanded it to other nonclinical areas such as marketing and public relations and information technology.

I soon learned that others in Methodist Health System had also seen the wisdom of launching internship programs at their facilities. Methodist Charlton Medical Center implemented an internship program with the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program. This program matches two highly motivated college students from District 23, Texas Sen. Royce West’s district, with the hospital.

When you launch an internship program, one of your first challenges is to publicize it and identify appropriate pools of talent. So I started with the University of Texas at Arlington, where I recruited students enrolled in the human resources degree program. Then I took my message to The University of Texas at Dallas to find IT interns. This turned out to be a win-win situation for the students and Methodist Dallas. The students earned credit for completing the internship. We gave them letters of recommendation, and they were able to add this experience to their resume. Most important, they gained insight into whether this was something that they truly wanted to choose as a career. The hospital benefited from nonpaid manpower that was truly interested in learning about their areas of specialization.

Today, the nonclinical internship program has become a key component of Methodist Dallas’ diversity outreach initiative. As the largest employer in Oak Cliff, part of our outreach mission is to provide opportunities for young people in our community by helping to expose them to healthcare careers. All of our students come from local colleges where we have formed lasting partnerships or from the DISD magnet schools.

This summer, the hospital welcomed eight interns; five had been interns with the Mayor’s Intern Fellows Program. They worked in human resources, public relations and marketing, critical care nursing, organizational effectiveness, and food service/dietitian’s office. Two were Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School (YWLS) interns — one worked in the Golden Cross office and the other in the medical staff office. Finally, one was an Exxon Mobile intern, and he worked in the human resources office.

All of our interns are treated like staff, and they are subject to the same expectations including professional dress; being on time; and being an interested, active member of the team by paying attention, being willing to learn and ask questions, and working as an effective team member.

What do our interns have to say about their experience this summer?

Pablo Hernandez, a student at Harmony Science Academy and a Mayor’s Intern Fellow who worked in human resources, says the most important thing he learned from his experience was to stay positive: “Even though things might not show up the right way, when you’re positive you can keep ahead of and overcome the obstacles.” Pablo says his internship will have a direct connection to his career choice. “I’m planning on ultimately becoming a medical examiner, but I’d like to start out as a critical care nurse. During my internship, I got a chance to meet with the manager of the critical care unit as well as one of the operating room managers.”

Arlene Ortega was the YWLS intern in the Golden Cross office. “The most important lesson I learned from the internship was that you have to be able to work together as a team with your colleagues in order to have an efficient work environment. I saw this every day. I was surprised to learn how much work the staff members go through for each patient. I am planning to join the medical field as a pediatric oncologist, so it’s beneficial to have some idea about how everything works,” Arlene said.

When asked “What was the most important lesson learned?” Terie Young, another YWLS intern, delivered these pearls of wisdom: “It is not how fast you do something, but how accurate it is.” In addition, she says, “I learned to manage my time and become more responsible since I had to get to work on time.”

Finally, Daniel Vega, a senior at Texas Tech University, was the Exxon Mobile HR intern. “My favorite thing about the internship was being part of a diverse and professional department that ran efficiently to provide the services that were required by Methodist Dallas employees. The internship will serve as a building block to my professional development. The experience has helped me see how systems within a corporation interact with each other,” Daniel said.

If you’re looking for an organization that is full of career opportunities, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System


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Intentional Inclusion and Diversity: Embracing Our Differences and Welcoming All

by Tina Bowers, MBA, CDMTBowers_retouch1
Director, Learning and Development
Methodist Health System

Diversity. What used to be a buzzword in healthcare is now an integral part of who we are, what we believe, and how we treat our patients and each other. Throughout Methodist Health System, we are embracing intentional inclusion and diversity and championing cultural competency as key strategic imperatives for the organization. What does this mean? Overall, our goal is to make Methodist a place that respects and engages the diversity of its employees, patients, and communities we serve. This requires dedication, discipline, and a strong foundation.

Our workforce encompasses a wide spectrum of distinct individuals, each with different backgrounds, perspectives, and talents. Together, all of the ideas and experiences each employee brings to his or her job makes the organization stronger. Why is this so important? Because of our inclusive environment, our employees are more engaged and satisfied as is evidenced by our being named a Best Place to Work by the Dallas Business Journal 13 years in a row.

Where did we start? Our commitment to diversity started at the top with senior leadership commitment and support. Our CEO and chief operating officer chair our intentional inclusion and diversity  leadership council and ensure that employees at every level in the organization experience diversity training.  Our employees:

  • Complete mandatory annual diversity and cultural competency training
  • Attend quarterly forums that include diversity education
  • Receive ongoing education (on-demand and instructor-led classes) to help build cultural awareness and strengthen cultural competency.

A recent employee forum included a fun event we called diversity around the world where employees dressed to represent their country of origin. We provided questions about the many cultures and backgrounds that were represented. Employees were given passports and then visited various tables to get their passports stamped in order to gain a better understanding of that culture’s beliefs.

We also created intentional inclusion and diversity collaboratives on each Methodist campus and at Methodist Family Health Centers and Medical Groups and specialty practices. The collaboratives are multi-racial, multi-disciplinary, cross-functional groups of employees who serve as advisory boards to their hospitals. They initiate, organize, lead, and monitor the intentional inclusion and diversity activities on their campuses. In short, they are our diversity champions at the local level.

Because our patients also represent a diverse mix of cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, we  developed the following cultural competency statement that embodies our values as an organization and as individuals within our organization: “At Methodist Health System, we are committed to providing patients with quality healthcare that is respectful and sensitive to their values, particularly those that emerge out of their diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds.”

How are we achieving cultural competency and embracing intentional inclusion and diversity? By:

  • Understanding the markets we serve
  • Becoming an integral member of the communities we serve
  • Providing innovative and advanced services to continually improve quality and the patient experience
  • Attracting and retaining a diverse workforce
  • Partnering with diverse suppliers.

To better understand the markets we serve, each of our campuses partner with community organizations such as the:

  • Best Southwest Partnership, which addresses healthcare disparities
  • Community Partners of Dallas, which provides backpacks with school supplies to abused and neglected children
  • Children’s HealthSM, which provides a Teddy Bear Clinic that educates children on first aid and when to call 911, and many more.

This helps us to better understand our patients’ needs so that we can provide healthcare services when and where the community needs them and in a way that is culturally sensitive and appropriate. The more we cultivate respect for these differences, the better we are as caregivers. And, we truly want to be the best.

If you’re looking for a diverse organization that is committed to providing care in a culturally competent, intentionally inclusive environment, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System

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Grief: Starting the Journey Toward Healing and Peace

by Caesar Rentie
Vice President, Pastoral Care Services
Methodist Health System

Caesar RentieAs vice president of Pastoral Services for Methodist Health System, I see grief on a daily basis. Grieving patients. Grieving families. Grieving staff and first responders. With the tragic events of the past few weeks, it seems that the city of Dallas and the nation as a whole are enveloped by grief.

The Oxford Dictionary defines grief as, “deep sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.” For me, Julie Yarbrough, a member of Methodist Health System Foundation board of trustees and author of Beyond the Broken Heart, captures the essence of grief when she writes, “The most fundamental truth of grief is this: We grieve because we love. Love and grief are inextricably linked. If we did not love, our hearts would not be broken by death. The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.”

When I think about my community, the people who live here and with whom I work, I realize that my pain is connected to love — the love for our peace officers who lost their lives while performing their duty to protect and serve. However, as much as my heart hurts, I remain hopeful because I believe out of faith, hope, and love, nothing is greater than love. And that includes my grief.

You may be grieving, too, and not even realize it. What are the signs? For some, it may be unrelenting emotional sadness and tears. Others may not feel the loss right away, choosing instead to focus on the litany of things that need to be done. But, in the end, that only delays the grieving process so the overwhelming sadness often comes back. Other signs may include lack of interest or focus, loss of energy, and disrupted sleep patterns.

What’s important to us as spiritual caregivers is to help others find meaning in loss. That means we try to help others access their faith and find reconciliation to a new normal. So what can you do to move forward?

  • Give yourself permission to reflect. Take time for yourself. Sit in the moment.
  • Find community with whom you can connect and share your heart. A quiet, welcoming ear, such as that offered by a chaplain, can provide comfort, strength, and understanding to begin to unravel the complexities that often surround grief.
  • Make use of your faith. Whatever your faith tradition is, find a way to access it and connect with your higher power.

As our community and our Methodist family become more diverse culturally and ethnically, it’s important to recognize that we each experience grief at different rates and in different ways. The key is to be transparent with our feelings. Be vulnerable and willing to admit when we’re in pain. Evidence suggests that it takes two years to move through the grieving process.

If you’re looking for an organization that values fairness and respect of the individual and provides a supportive environment for those who are grieving, consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System

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