Lichtenstein and Moore Present at Wound Healing Conference

Local health care experts from the SOMC Wound Healing Center recently returned from a symposium in Orlando, Fla. where they were briefed by internationally recognized specialists and consulted with peers from around the country on new treatment options and research that may bring additional advances in the care of chronic wounds.

Dr. Sonja Lichtenstein, medical director and Neva Moore, program director, attended the conference which was sponsored by National Healing Corporation, an industry leader which partners with the center and accounts for nearly one-third of all management and outsourced wound centers in the United States.

Lichtenstein made a presentation to medical directors from various national wound healing centers. She discussed ways to improve and build a successful wound center. Moore spoke about recruiting and retaining panel physicians to an audience of program directors and clinical nurse managers.

Located at on the main campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center, in the Rardin building, the SOMC Wound Healing Center offers state-of-the-art methodologies and treatments including the use of vascular studies, tissue culturing and pathology, revascularization, skin grafting and clinical or surgical debridement.

Likely candidates for treatment are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, vascular disease, compromised skin grafts and flaps and wounds that haven’t healed within 30 days. For more information, please call (740)-356-8775.

Hope Guild Donates to SOMC

The Hope Guild, part of the friends of Southern Ohio Medical Center, recently donated $10,000 to SOMC Hospice Services. To raise the money, the guild held various fundraisers throughout the year, including book sales and an employee sale at Scioto Shoe Mart. The funds were used to purchase pillows for chairs and other needs of patients and their families. Shown above is the Hospice Center of SOMC.

SOMC to Recognize Certified Nurses Day

March 19, 2010 is Certified Nurses Day, a national day of recognition for certified nurses. Southern Ohio Medical Center will honor its 162 board certified nurses who provide quality care to their patients every day.

The date was specifically chosen as the national day to celebrate because it’s the birthday of Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles. She is globally known as the “Mother of Nurse Credentialing” and served as the President of the American Nurses Association. A recipient of numerous honors and recognition, Styles is responsible for encouraging board certifications and higher standards of patient care.

“We are very proud of all of our nurses at SOMC,” Valerie DeCamp, director of nursing, said. “On behalf of the organization, it is my pleasure to express the gratitude we feel for the proficiency and leadership our nurses demonstrate when they achieve and maintain national board certification in their nursing specialty.”

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

“As a result of nurses acquiring additional certifications, it creates an environment of professionalism and specialized competency,” Karen Walburn, manager of Employment, said. “This special day gives us an opportunity to recognize and encourage nurses to pursue this important step in their careers.”

Nurse certification has been linked to a reduction in medical errors, according to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).

Ryan Carpenter, RN, BSN, CEN, SANE, assistant nurse manager of the Health Care Center said, “As a certified nurse, I feel more prepared. I’m more confident in knowing that my skills are up-to-date and that I will have the knowledge and expertise to provide excellent care for my patients.”

“We realize that it takes personal dedication and persistence to achieve and maintain certification,” DeCamp added. “We value their commitment to nursing excellence.”

SOMC Research Highlighted at National Conference

Three nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Emergency Department recently presented their research poster at the Emergency Nurses Association Leadership Conference in Chicago, Ill. Shown above (l to r) is Jenny Foit, RN, BSN, staff nurse; AJ Foit, RN, BSN, CEN, assistant nurse manager and Jason Ross, RN, CEN, nurse manager.

hree nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Emergency Department were recently selected to present their research efforts at the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Leadership Conference held Feb. 18-21 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago, Ill.

AJ Foit, RN, BSN, CEN, assistant nurse manager; Jenny Foit, RN, BSN, staff nurse and Jason Ross, RN, CEN, nurse manager, studied ways to decrease blood culture contamination rates in the emergency department in an effort to improve the quality of patient care at SOMC.

“Attending the conference was a great networking opportunity as well as a chance to see what other hospitals are doing,” Ross said. “We were able to compare our hospital to some of the nation’s most respected facilities and it was plain to see that very good things are happening at SOMC.”

More than 1,000 emergency nurses from across the United States gathered at the conference to discuss trends and topics related to the emergency nursing profession. The poster from SOMC was titled Reducing Blood Culture Contamination Rates in the Emergency Department. This was its second appearance at a national conference.

“It was a privilege to present our research poster at the conference,” AJ Foit said. “Research is an integral part of our Magnet status at SOMC and the results allow us to improve service for our patients and their families.”

SOMC Receives Komen Grant

Southern Ohio Medical Center will continue to offer breast health screening services to uninsured and underinsured women in Scioto, Pike and Lawrence counties, thanks to a grant received from the Columbus Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“This is the fourth year SOMC has been awarded the grant,” Kimberlee Richendollar, breast health navigator at the Cancer Center, said. “We will receive $69,250 for the 2010-2011 grant year, which is significantly more than last year.”

Richendollar explained that the grant is used to fund a program at the Cancer Center called Hands of Hope. The funds provide free mammograms, as well as other screening services for women in the community. Criteria and eligibility is screened and determined by Richendollar with guidelines set by the grant.

“Women diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage have much higher survival rates,” Richendollar said. “Unfortunately, not everyone in our community has the financial ability or access to obtain screening services for early detection, which is why the Hands of Hope program is so important.”

The program also provides breast health education to the public through health fairs and screenings. During the 2009-2010 grant year, Hands of Hope was able to provide more than 150 free screening and diagnostic mammograms to local women.

“We are so glad to have the opportunity to partner with Komen Columbus again this year,” she said. “As a result of the grant, the Hands of Hope program provides a great service to our community and we hope it will help the women of our area to become better informed about breast health and the importance of proper screening.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest and most progressive network of breast cancer survivors and activists. Since its inception in 1982, the foundation has contributed more than $1.5 billion in funding for global breast cancer research, as well as millions of dollars of support for local education, screening and treatment programs.

To learn more about Hands of Hope and its qualifications, please call Kimberlee Richendollar at (740) 356-PINK (7465).

SOMC named in Best in Ohio list for fifth year in a row

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Ohio State Council and Best Companies Group recently announced that Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) has again been selected as one of the Best Employers in Ohio. SOMC has been named a Best Employer in Ohio for the past five years.

“We are very proud of the family atmosphere here at SOMC. It resonates in our relationships with one another and with our patients,” said Vicki Noel, vice president of Human Resources at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

The distinction is given based on an evaluation of various workplace attributes including hiring processes, celebrating in the workplace, caring among team members and communication. A majority of the process is weighted by the thoughts and opinions of the employees of SOMC. SOMC was evaluated against various organizations across the state including large corporations and other healthcare organizations.

“This is quite an honor for our organization,” said Randy Arnett, President and CEO of Southern Ohio Medical Center. “It only further proves that SOMC houses some of the best employees in the nation.”

Arnett said the distinction will not only emanate pride to our community through employees, but will also help with recruitment and retention.

“People want to be a part of something great. This distinction, as well as our Magnet Designation, VPP Star Status and our FORTUNE Best Places to Work distinction will be a way to show those seeking employment, that SOMC is the place to be,” he said.

In the next few weeks, SOMC will receive a feedback report and the ranking of the organization based on data accumulated from the evaluation process. The list will be revealed in a special publication produced by Journal Publications Inc., which will be distributed statewide in May 2010.

Teamwork Displayed in SOMC’s ICU

The underlying theme in most service stories told by patients of Southern Ohio Medical Center is teamwork. When employees are asked every year on surveys about the teamwork within their department, most will tell you it’s excellent. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a collaborative effort is not only desired but it’s essential and often complimented.

“I’ve worked for other units at SOMC and I thought the teamwork was incredible but then when I came to the ICU, I was blown away by the way everyone works together,” Eric Bennett, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “I’m a big advocate of teamwork, it can make your shift really great or really bad. You don’t have to tell the staff what to do in the ICU because they are already doing it.”

Bennett and a team of physicians, nurses, EEG technicians, medical techs, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, lab techs and Critical Care physicians called Intensivists recently pulled together when an ICU patient coded. Dr. Jay Turkewitz, a new neurologist at SOMC, was called to the bedside during this particular instance.

This was Bennett’s first interaction with Dr. Turkewitz and he was amazed at the way the physician interacted with the family, explaining everything and genuinely caring for the patient. After his shift, Bennett decided to write Dr. Turkewitz a thank you email and was surprised when he replied.

“I don’t deserve the recognition, the team does,” Dr. Turkewitz said. “From the nurses in the room to the housekeeper who kept the floors from becoming slippery, the collaborative effort was evident.”

Mardi Carter, EEG tech wasn’t surprised when she heard about the email, “I’ve worked at SOMC for 23 years and I see this type of teamwork happen all the time in the ICU,” she said. “The cooperation of the team has aided in saving many lives over the years.”

In November of 2007, the Intensive Care Unit opened its doors to patients’ loved ones 24 hours a day—the only ICU in the region that offers this. “If the family chooses to be present during a code, it greatly decreases anxiety both for the patient and the family,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the ICU, said. “Family presence allows loved ones to see the teamwork and effort it takes to provide excellent care for the patient.”

“Many people think they have to travel outside of Portsmouth to receive the best critical care but we have the best technology, a specialized physician for every aspect of the body and we micromanage our patients,” Bennett said. “We have all the things and more that the bigger city hospitals have.”

Bennett explained how several ICU staff members have worked at other hospitals and positively compliment the teamwork shown at SOMC. Unlike most other ICU’s, SOMC has Critical Care Intensivists seven days a week dedicated to the ICU all hours of the day and with on-call coverage during the night hours.

A web camera is used by the Intensivists to check on patients during the night. The critical care physicians also have access to the bedside monitoring devices through their home computers. Nurses in the ICU collaborate with the Intensivists using these tools to enhance the quality of care for their patients.

“I’m excited to be here, SOMC has made excellence a part of its culture,” Dr. Turkewitz said. “The administration chooses to hire physicians and employees who have the ability to strive for excellence in all aspects of service and quality patient care.”

SOMC to Sponsor Jack Sprat

The Cancer Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center has partnered with the Portsmouth Area Arts Council (PAAC) to promote healthy eating habits and provide education about cancer risks to thousands of local children through the Jack Sprat Low-Fat World Tour, an interactive and fun-filled musical production commissioned and endorsed by the American Cancer Society.

“We recognize the childhood obesity crisis and the growing need for more education regarding healthy lifestyles and ways to reduce cancer risks,” Wendi Waugh, director of the SOMC Cancer Center, said. “As a health education initiative, we are sponsoring the Jack Sprat show and taking it to several local schools.”

The program will be performed at Wheelersburg, Green and Portsmouth elementary schools March 8, 9 and 10. A special performance for preschool and home school students will be held at 1 p.m., March 9 at the SOMC Friends Community Center, 1202 18th Street with an additional community performance at 6 p.m. that evening. Admission is $1 per person with limited seating available.

According to the American Cancer Society, “Experts recommend that people establish habits of healthy eating and physical activity early in life to prevent overweight and obesity.”

The ACS also states that, “Obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30 percent of several major cancers—colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, and cancer of the esophagus. Preventing weight gain can reduce the risk of many cancers.”

“SOMC sponsors many community health initiatives, including free screenings, diabetes education and physical activity programs for children,” Waugh said. “At the Cancer Center we want to focus specifically on teaching young students the importance of starting healthy habits now to help prevent cancer and other health issues later in life.”

For more information about Southern Ohio Medical Center’s community health education and initiatives, please call Ashley Salyers at (740) 356-2720.

SOMC Portsmouth Urgent Care Center Will Accommodate Community Need

Southern Ohio Medical Center has announced that the Health Care Center located at 1248 Kinney’s Lane (SOMC’s south campus) in Portsmouth will convert to an Urgent Care Center beginning June 20, 2010.

“We recognize the community’s need for a more centralized Urgent Care Center,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, said. “By evolving the Health Care Center into an urgent care facility, this will provide a new option for non-emergent care for the people in our area as well as a greater choice for local business leaders.”

“The Health Care Center has functioned as a very successful freestanding emergency department since 1998, though many people thought it was already an Urgent Care Center,” Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer at SOMC, said. “With the recent expansion of our Main Campus Emergency Department, there no longer is a need for two emergency facilities in Portsmouth and the growing need for urgent care is more prevalent.”

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, director of nursing for SOMC Emergency and Outpatient Services, explained that like the Urgent Care Center in Wheelersburg, the new center will provide non-emergency treatment for minor medical complaints, including minor lacerations, urinary tract infections, earaches, migraine headaches, sprains, and fever. The center also will offer care to patients whose primary care physician is not available.

“Many local organizations are adopting insurance plans with much higher deductibles and co-pays for Emergency Department visits, whereas the cost of a visit to the Urgent Care Center is comparably less,” Dilts Skaggs said. “The decision to provide a second, more centralized urgent care center will be a cost savings opportunity for our local patients.”

The hours of operation will remain the same (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday). Outpatient services, testing, (including lab and x-ray) as well as the Ambulatory Infusion Clinic will continue to be available at the Portsmouth Urgent Care Center location.

“We truly feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization and our community,” Arnett added. “We hope the community will work with us as we grow and continue to provide the excellent quality care for our patients and their families.”