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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From Surgeon to President of Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Continuing the Mission of Servant Leadership

By: Martin L. Koonsman, MD, FACS
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Koonsman_retouch_FBMission accomplished. Whether you’re serving in the armed forces, flying high as an astronaut, or leading a team of colleagues to treat a patient, achieving your mission is gratifying and motivating. As the president of one of the leading hospitals in the Dallas–Fort Worth area, my focus is on providing our employees, physicians, and volunteers with the motivation and resources they need to accomplish their mission each and every day.

Every healthcare organization has a stated mission. At Methodist Dallas Medical Center, our goal is to live our mission every minute, every hour, and every day. Our mission is to improve and save lives through compassionate, quality healthcare. It’s a mission that we believe in and embrace. At the heart of our work is compassionate care that puts the patient and his or her family at the center of all that we do.

My first experience with Methodist Dallas’ mission was when I began my general surgery residency at the hospital in 1988 after graduating from Texas Tech University with my medical degree. I chose Methodist Dallas because I wanted the benefit of working in a small, top-notch surgery program where I could get more one-on-one instruction. The hospital’s renowned transplant program and busy trauma service also were draws. What I thought would be a two-year association with Methodist Dallas has turned into a 30-year career.

When I consider Methodist Dallas’ ability to say “Mission Accomplished,” I look at not only our tremendously talented and caring staff of nurses, allied healthcare professionals, and support staff, I also see our dedicated medical staff comprised of experienced, knowledgeable physicians. Throughout my years at Methodist Dallas, I have been blessed to be associated with strong clinicians who have shown me what it means to provide top-quality, patient-centered care.

In today’s healthcare environment, providing care to those in need but without the resources to pay is part of our mission. In the first six months of our current fiscal year, Methodist Dallas has provided over $80 million in uncompensated care to our community.

Over the past several years, Methodist Dallas medical staff members and employees have participated in medical missions to Malawi, Guatemala, and Peru, where they have given their personal time, talents, and compassion to those with a variety of medical and dental needs. By partnering with medical and faith-based groups, including Faith in Practice and the Peruvian American Medical Society, skilled surgeons on the medical staff and healthcare professionals have literally changed hundreds of lives by improving patients’ well-being and overall quality of life.

These medical mission trips have taught me much, broadened my concept of the word “mission,” and strengthened my resolve to lead a mission-focused organization. What I thought I was going to get out of these missions was helping others in need and experiencing what it’s like to perform surgery outside of the United States. What did I actually learn?

  • You don’t have to postpone or cancel surgery because you don’t have everything you need.
  • We take our training and skills for granted.
  • We are really fortunate in the United States.
  • Human beings have amazing determination and resilience.
  • I reconnected with the true spirit of service to humanity.

So how has being a surgeon prepared me to lead Methodist Dallas? As our health system changes to a more value-based environment, I think clinical leadership is more important than ever. We’ve developed a leadership education curriculum to help physicians on our medical staff develop these valuable skills. Today, I see more physicians sitting at the administrative table helping to guide the decisions of their institutions so we can all achieve our mission.

If you’re looking for mission-driven organization that will help you achieve your career goals, then consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System

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Methodist Mansfield patient grateful to John Phillips

In a recent review posted on, a patient was surprised and grateful to get a personal phone call from Methodist Mansfield President John Phillips, FACHE. Yelp logo

“I received an unexpected phone call that led to this review. Words can’t describe how impressed I am at this moment! I took my son in on 5/9/16. It was very busy, and the wait time was crazy … to say the least. The following morning I received a phone call from a gentleman at the hospital. At first I thought it was just a follow-up call to see how my son was doing, which he did ask about. I was dumbfounded when he introduced himself as the president of the hospital calling to personally apologize for the wait time. I was completely blown away that he would have any knowledge of my experience (because I didn’t say a word to a soul!!!), much less for him to take the time to personally call and apologize. He also asked if I would be willing to provide feedback regarding my visit in order to address and correct any issues. During our 30 min. phone call, I knew there was a genuine concern regarding the care given to patients and also within a timely manner. Prior to our conversation ending he insisted that I write down his name and cell number. Again, this is the president of the hospital! I believe this speaks volume about the compassion that this man has for this hospital, the patients and the staff!! THANK YOU JOHN PHILLIPS FOR TRULY CARING!!! I want to end this review by saying the ONLY negative part of our experience was the wait time! Once Brittany (who was AMAZING) got us in a room, it was smooth sailing from there. The nurses were great. I think his fav person was the Brazilian doctor that took him for his CT. :)” Thank you, John!

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Thank a Nurse During National Nurses Week

by Barbara Madson Madden, MSN, RN
Interim Associate Chief Nursing Officer
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

B Madden 6IMG_1038A higher calling. A passion to help others. Making a difference in others’ lives. Motivated to heal. Because I care. These are the reasons you’re likely to hear when you ask nurses why they chose this career. National Nurses Week was established to recognize the special people who choose nursing as their life’s work. It also offers an opportunity to thank nurses for the special gifts they bring to millions of patients each year.

Here are 10 ways to thank a nurse this week.

  1. Make a donation to the Methodist Health System Foundation in honor of a special nurse. The Methodist Foundation has launched a National Nurses Week campaign that offers donors a unique way to honor and thank a nurse. Donations can be made to any of the Foundation’s funds, and the donor can leave a message of thanks to the nurse being honored in the tributes section. To make a donation, visit
  2. Nominate a nurse at a Methodist Health System hospital for a G.R.E.A.T. award. This award, which stands for Giving Recognition for Excellence, Achievement, and Teamwork, recognizes nurses who are exceptional. Ballots are located throughout the hospitals, and it’s a G.R.E.A.T. way to give your favorite nurse a high five.
  3. Send a thank-you note to the person who inspired you to become a nurse. I’m a nurse today because of my dad’s encouragement. I’m so grateful to him for 30 years of a diverse and inspiring career in nursing, from bedside to teaching to management. Thank you, dad.
  4. Support a charity that is near and dear to your special nurse’s heart. Many nurses support nonprofit organizations by donating their time and talents. Find out your nurse’s charity of choice and make a donation in his or her honor during National Nurses Week.
  5. Send a thank-you card to a special nurse. Do you remember a particular nurse who made a difference in your life during an illness or hospitalization? In today’s world of electronic communication, a handwritten note will stand out, be appreciated, and perhaps even be saved.
  6. Remember to honor nurses who don’t work in hospitals, too. Don’t forget our school nurses, nurses in corporations, nurses who work in disaster relief, and others. A thank-you note, personal phone call, text, or even a social media post can do wonders to make them feel appreciated.
  7. Sponsor a National Nurses Week celebration at your doctor’s office. Take a cake or balloon bouquet to honor the nurses in your physician’s office.
  8. Support the nursing school in your area by making a donation to a scholarship fund. Today, more than ever, nurses are in demand. Making sure there are enough opportunities for aspiring nurses to receive the education they need is critically important.
  9. Have a nurse colleague to whom you want to show appreciation? Answer a call light that isn’t yours. Hide a note of appreciation in someone’s chart. Share a sample of your favorite foot cream.
  10. Just say thank you. Everyone appreciates a verbal pat on the back. That’s especially true for nurses who see giving of themselves as just part of their job. Taking time to say thank you is powerful and encouraging. Want to do more? Just go to our Facebook page and honor a nurse. You’ll be glad you did.

These are just a few of the ways you can thank a nurse this week — National Nurses Week. Year after year, patient satisfaction surveys show that nurses are some of the most trusted people in the healthcare setting. They also are highly correlated to overall satisfaction. I’m honored to work with such dedicated, caring professionals. Thank you to each and every nurse who works at Methodist Health System. You help us make a difference in our patients’ lives every day.

If you’re looking for an organization that’s thankful for outstanding nurses and thankful for their caring and compassion, then consider Methodist Health System. Visit us at

© Methodist Health System


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