‘Nurses News’ Category


SOMC nurse takes healing touch to Guatemala

SOMC RN Kristen Pertuset completed her first mission trip earlier this year. She visited the Central American country of Guatemala.

For many, the summer months are a calling to take time off work and go somewhere special.

Somewhere far. Somewhere exotic. Somewhere you can enjoy the warmth of the sun… the fresh, morning breeze… and armed guards, barbed wire, and electrified fences…

At least, that’s the story of Kristen Pertuset’s last summer trip.

Kristen is a registered nurse at Southern Ohio Medical Center, but for a week in August she was (both literally and figuratively) about as far from SOMC as she could get. She was on a medical mission trip to the Central American country of Guatemala.

It was her first mission, and it exposed her to a standard of living radically different than that to which she was accustomed. In fact, while there she lived without luxuries so basic most Americans would not recognize them as being “luxuries” at all.

“There was no clean water and you weren’t allowed to flush your toilet paper,” Kristen explained. “There was a trash can in every bathroom that everybody threw their toilet paper into. You don’t realize how big of a deal that is until it’s taken away.”

The trip itself was inspired by the same desire that led to Kristen becoming a nurse – the desire to help others, especially those who need it the most. It began, though, with a word of warning.

A child plays near a sign promoting the “Partido Patriota,” or “Patriot Party.”

On her way there, a physician who was native to the country suggested she pretend to be Canadian. Being from the United States, he said, was not something that would win over the locals. But once she arrived, she found that her nationality didn’t really matter.

“They knew we were Americans and they traveled for miles to get to see American doctors,” Kristen said. “They loved us. They loved everything we could show them or do for them. They were kissing my cheeks, literally, and hugging me at the end of every single visit.”

While there, she saw patients in desperate need of quality medical care. She treated patients as young as three-months and as old as 100-years. She even treated a woman who complained of exhaustion and turned out to have been walking around with a hemoglobin level of 5 for the last six months.

Pertuset’s clinic saw, on average, 150 patients a day.

Her clinic averaged 150 patients a day and was equipped with limited supplies. She was forced to perform all of her procedures without so much as someone to hand her tools. It created a stark contrast with work upon her arrival to SOMC.

“(In Guatemala) we were almost trying to ‘MacGyver’ a setup to get what we needed,” she said. “It was kind of surreal to come back and have everything so readily available.”

But even with the clinic’s primitive conditions, lack of supplies and machine gun-wielding guards, Kristen is clear that the experience was a positive one. In fact, she is looking forward to doing it again – electrified fences and all.

Breast Center receives PRC Five-Star Award

The Breast Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received the Five-Star Award for Service Excellence, presented by Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC), the company that conducts a portion of the hospital’s patient satisfaction surveys.

This designation is given annually to healthcare facilities, providers, outpatient service lines, and inpatient units that score in the top 10 percent of the PRC national client database for the previous year. The award is based on the percentage of patients who rate the facility as “excellent” for their overall quality of care.

Shown above at the presentation are Claudia Burchett (center), chief nursing officer and vice president of SOMC Patient Services, with members of the SOMC Breast Center team.

Tips for avoiding heat-related illness

The summer months offer plenty of opportunities to get exercise and enjoy being active, but it’s important to protect yourself from the heat during these long, warm days. Here are some tips from United Healthcare to help you avoid heat-related illness:

1. Exercise in the early morning or late evening hours. The temperature is the coolest at this time. Avoid exercising midday because it’s the hottest part of the day.

2. Drink up! Do not wait until you are thirsty to start hydrating. Drink two to four glasses of water each hour. If you are exercising for an extended period of time, drink a sports beverage to replace the salt and minerals you lose through sweat. If you are on diuretics or a low-salt or fluid-restricted diet, talk to your doctor first about your specific fluid needs.

3. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Consider dressing in clothes made with moisture-wicking fabric.

4. Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher. Try to exercise in the shade. Play tennis on a court shaded by the trees or take a walk in a wooded park.

5. Rest early and often. Take breaks in shady areas.

6. Gradually get used to the heat. It takes seven to 10 days for your body to adapt to the change in temperature. Start by exercising for short time, at a low intensity. Save long, hard workouts until after you’re acclimated to the summer air.

7. Mind the weather. Do not exercise on the hottest days. Keep an eye on the heat index. The heat index is a calculation of the temperature and humidity. It measures “how hot it really feels” outside:

  • Heat index 80 to 90 degrees: fatigue during exercise is possible. Heat exhaustion is a possibility even at these temperatures.
  • Heat index of 90 to 105 degrees: heat cramps and heat exhaustion or heat stroke are possible.
  • Heat index of 105 or higher: heat exhaustion is likely and heat stroke is possible.

If you start to feel bad during your exercise, or you experience any warning signs of heat-related illness, stop! Heat-related illness is serious, and can even be life-threatening. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, confusion, headaches, cramps, nausea and dehydration.

SOMC earns Magnet re-designation

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been re-designated as a Magnet hospital, the highest level of distinction for nursing excellence awarded by the American Nursing Credentialing Center. SOMC is the only Magnet hospital in the tri-state area, and one of fewer than 400 Magnet hospitals in the United States.

“I’m absolutely thrilled that we have earned Magnet re-designation. It takes full commitment from everyone in our organization to achieve the level of care required for Magnet, and I am overjoyed to see our work recognized in this way,” SOMC Chief Nursing Officer Claudia Burchett said. “This is a glowing endorsement of our nurses and the care they provide, but it’s also a ‘seal of approval’ on our entire hospital and its staff.”

“Magnet is a confirmation of something that we already know at SOMC: That our nurses routinely go above and beyond to provide their patients with truly excellent care,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “To be re-designated as a Magnet hospital is a huge accomplishment, and one that fewer than 7% of all U.S. hospitals have achieved. It speaks to the outstanding job done by our nurses and medical staff each and every day.”

There are five main components through which Magnet hospitals are measured: Transformational Leadership, Structural Empowerment, Exemplary Professional Practice, and New Knowledge, Innovations and Improvements.  To receive re-designation, SOMC submitted a document that was more than 5,500 pages long and 20 inches tall detailing how the hospital achieved excellence in all five areas.

Magnet appraisers also completed an on-site visit where they met with staff and heard first-hand what sets SOMC apart.

“Part of what makes the nurses at SOMC so special is how they work seamlessly with the entire staff to ensure every patient receives the best care possible,” Dr. Elie Saab said. “SOMC is a Magnet hospital because of their dedication to patient care. I am proud to work alongside such talented and caring individuals.”

The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the ANCC in 1994 to recognize health care facilities that provide the very best in professional nursing care. SOMC first received Magnet designation in 2008.

ANCC statistics show that nurses who work in Magnet designated hospitals are more satisfied with their jobs and the care they provide. Magnet hospitals also have an increased retention rate for nurses.

For more information, visit www.somc.org.

SOMC thanks nurses in honor of Certified Nurses Day

March 19 is nationally recognized as Certified Nurses Day, and Southern Ohio Medical Center is marking the occasion by honoring its 188 board certified nurses.

“We are so proud of our nurses and the excellent care they offer our patients each and every day,” Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer Claudia Burchett said. “Nurses represent one of the most critical and essential components of our modern healthcare system.”

Certification, as defined by the American Board of Nursing Specialties, is the formal recognition of the knowledge, skills and experience demonstrated by achieving the standards identified to promote optimal health results in a nursing specialty.

“It takes personal dedication and persistence to achieve and maintain certification,” Burchett said. “The hard work, professionalism and dedication that these nurses possess is vital to the care we provide at SOMC.”

SOMC encourages all of its nurses to pursue board certification, and currently has certified nurses working in 24 separate patient-care areas. The hospital will host a Nursing Certification Fair on March 19 to help nurses prepare for certification and learn more about the process.

For more information, visit www.somc.org or “like” SOMC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.

SOMC Partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital for Pediatrics, Neonatal Care

Southern Ohio Medical Center has announced it will be partnering with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to bring additional resources and care to pediatric and neonatal patients.

“We consider it our responsibility to make sure our community has access to the best care possible, and this new affiliation will help us do just that,” Randy Arnett, president and CEO of SOMC, said. “By combining the resources and expertise of Nationwide Children’s Hospital with that of our current pediatricians, we can bring our patients a higher level of pediatric care and service.”

As part of the affiliation, SOMC will be able to directly consult with specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. SOMC’s medical staff will also benefit from training and mentoring programs as well as state-of-the-art pediatric research and clinical trials.

“Together, SOMC and Nationwide Children’s Hospital will build upon the tremendous care already provided by our current pediatricians,” Arnett said. “They will be able to provide even greater care by taking advantage of Nationwide Children’s telemedicine services and pediatric and neonatology expertise.

“Our hospitals will also be able to work together to place graduating residents from Nationwide Children’s Hospital right here in southern Ohio, which will directly impact the quality of care available at SOMC.”

“We are looking forward to our formal collaboration with Southern Ohio Medical Center,” said Gil Peri, vice president of Regional Development at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  “We will bring our pediatric expertise to the community working closely with local pediatricians to enhance care in the Portsmouth and surrounding communities.  Together we can improve the health of the neonatal and pediatric community we serve.”

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Ranked 7th of only 12 children’s hospitals on U.S.News & World Report’s 2012-13 “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric healthcare networks providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children, and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. In June 2012, the hospital celebrated completion of the largest pediatric expansion construction project in United States history, adding 2.1 million square feet of clinical, research and support facilities to total 5.3 million square feet on its main campus.  A medical staff of 1,100 and 8,300 employees provide state-of-the-art pediatric care for nearly one million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. Nationwide Children’s remains true to the original mission since its founding in 1892 of providing care regardless of a family’s ability to pay. More information is available at NationwideChildrens.org.

HomeCare Elite names SOMC Home Health Services one of nation’s Top Agencies of 2012

SOMC Home Health Services has been named a Top Agency of the 2012 HomeCare Elite, which is a compilation of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Karen Thompson, administrative director of SOMC Home Care, said. “It has long been our goal to provide the patients of this area with the best Home Care possible.  Being named one of HomeCare Elite’s Top Agencies of 2012 shows that our hard work is paying off, and we hope to provide even greater care in 2013.”

HomeCare Elite identifies the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies in the U.S.   Agencies are evaluated by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, process measure implementation, patient experience, quality improvement and financial performance.

“The 2012 HomeCare Elite winners demonstrate a commitment to providing patient-centered care and serving as leaders in the home health community. Their success offers data-driven proof of being well-managed and high quality care providers to hospitals, managed care organizations, ACOs, and other potential referral partners across the healthcare continuum,” said Susan L. Henricks, President and COO of National Research Corporation, the parent company of OCS HomeCare. “Again, this year, we updated our methodology to reflect the rapidly evolving quality-focused healthcare landscape and national value-based purchasing trends. We congratulate SOMC on being recognized as a top home care agency.”

For more information, visit www.somc.org or like SOMC on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SouthernOhioMedicalCenter.

Cardiovascular Testing Lab donates to Red Cross

Members of the Cardiovascular Testing Lab at Southern Ohio Medical Center recently donated $300 to the Ohio River Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross. The funds were collected in lieu of department Christmas gifts and will be used to benefit victims and relief efforts of Hurricane Sandy. Shown on the day of the donation are Ohio River Valley American Red Cross Executive Director Mary Arnzen, Registered Nurse Claudia Wilburn, and other employees of the SOMC Cardiovascular Testing Department.

SOMC recognized for excellent care by The Joint Commission

Southern Ohio Medical Center was one of just 620 hospitals nationwide to be named as one of the Joint Commission’s “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures.” SOMC was the only hospital in the tri-state region to earn the distinction.

SOMC was recognized for offering excellent care for treating heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia as well as surgical care. The designation is based on aggregation of accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission during the previous calendar year.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized for providing our patients with excellent care in so many areas,” Claudia Burchett, vice president of Patient Services, said. “We strive to provide the area with the best healthcare possible, and it’s encouraging that the Joint Commission recognizes that we’re doing just that.”

The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Only the top 18 percent were honored as “Top Performers on Key Quality Measures.”

“Every patient that walks through our doors deserves excellent care,” Valerie DeCamp, director of nursing at SOMC, said. “That is something they expect to receive from SOMC, and everyone here works hard to make sure it is delivered.”

Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards. For the full list of hospitals recognized by the Joint Commission, visit www.jointcommission.org.

For more information, “like” SOMC on Facebook.