SOMC recognized as a Magnet hospital

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Southern Ohio Medical Center is the first hospital in the tri-state region to achieve the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) highest honor, the Magnet designation, recognizing national excellence in nursing. Only four percent of hospitals in the U.S. can claim this distinction.

“In the health care profession, Magnet recognition is a huge honor,” Claudia Burchett, vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer, said. “It serves as external recognition of the exceptional care that we provide to our patients and their families. Magnet not only demonstrates excellence in nursing, but also recognizes the teamwork throughout the organization to support quality of care, shared decision-making, interdisciplinary working relationships and our commitment to putting patients first in everything we do. This achievement is the result of more than 30 months of preparation and years of commitment to quality and excellence.”

The ANCC awarded SOMC the prestigious Magnet award after reviewing nearly 2,000 pages of submitted documentation demonstrating achievements in patient care, nurse satisfaction, quality improvement and nursing research. This was followed by a four-day on-site inspection by Magnet appraisers that included visits to all patient care areas and interviews with hundreds of nurses, employees, physicians, and community members.

“This has been a long and wonderful journey touching every discipline in our organization,” Valerie DeCamp, SOMC director of Inpatient Services and co-leader of the SOMC Magnet journey, said. “The result is a demonstration to our patients, employees, physicians, volunteers, community members, and current and future nurses of our commitment to quality.”

According to the ANCC, statistics show that nurses who work in Magnet-designated hospitals are more satisfied with their job and the care they provide. Magnet hospitals also have an increased retention rate for nurses — an important factor in light of today’s nursing recruitment challenges.

“Nurses want to work in a place where they are supported to provide the best quality care,” Karen Thompson, SOMC director of Home Health Services and co-leader of the SOMC Magnet journey, said. “For the past two years, SOMC has been named one of the best places to work in the state of Ohio. We have also had nurse retention rates at 95 percent, the envy of most in the nation, and employee satisfaction scores that place us at the top 1 percent in the country. These are the types of things that make us a Magnet organization — and make us proud.”

Burchett added that physicians are also attracted to Magnet hospitals. “It’s a sign to them that the hospital is dedicated to hiring and keeping the most qualified nurses,” she said. “We provide an environment where education is vital, and we promote ongoing education, certifications and nursing research.”

The ultimate goal of Magnet recognition, however, is a demonstration to patients of the quality care provided by Magnet hospitals. Independent studies show patients who receive care at Magnet hospitals have a shorter length of stay and higher satisfaction rates. According to ANCC, “Magnet recognition provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive.”

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. The 14 “Forces of Magnetism” that distinguish Magnet organizations include an environment that promotes excellence in interdisciplinary teamwork, research, education and patient care. SOMC demonstrated excellence in all 14 Forces to earn this award.

The ANCC is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association and is the largest and most prominent nursing credentialing organization in the U.S.

Surgeon Scarpinato Opening New Office

Vincent M. Scarpinato, MD, general and breast surgeon and senior medical director of Surgery at Southern Ohio Medical Center, will begin seeing patients in his new office, Suite 102, Waller Building, 1735 27th St. on the Main Campus of SOMC, effective Monday, Feb. 4, 2008.

Dr. Scarpinato came to the Portsmouth area in 2007 from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Manhattan, New York.

Board-certified in General Surgery, Dr. Scarpinato received his medical degree from New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY. He most recently has served as Program Director of the Department of Surgery as well as Chief of Surgical Education at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center. He has been practicing general and breast surgery for 15 years. Dr. Scarpinato has been featured in “New York Best Doctors” in New York Magazine in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and Castle Connolly guides “Top Doctors” and “Best Surgeons” 2002-2006.

Effective Monday, Jan. 21, Dr. Scarpinato’s office will be available for scheduling and inquiries at (740) 353-3562.

Jitendra Patel SOMC Chief of Staff

Jitendra Patel, MD, is the elected Chief of the Medical Staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center for 2008.

Dr. Patel has been in the practice of Family Medicine in the Portsmouth area for 12 years and is board-certified in Family Medicine by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Dr. Patel received his medical education from Veer Surendra Sai (VSS) Medical College, India, and training at UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Other officers for 2008 include Harry Driedger, MD, chief of staff-elect; George Pettit, MD, secretary-treasurer; Jason Cheatham, DO, Rebecca Schoettle, MD, and Chris Woodard, MD, at-large Medical Executive Committee members; William Angelos, MD, Credentials Committee member.

Jacobs Certified

Norman Jacobs, MD, a radiologist on staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center, has received his renewal by exam for certification in Diagnostic Radiology with subspecialty certification in Neuroradiology from the American Board of Radiology. His board certification will be valid through 2017.

Dr. Jacobs received his medical degree from Temple University Medical School and completed his training at Duke University Medical Center and Georgetown University Medical Center. He has been in practice as a radiologist in the Portsmouth area for the past 20 years.

Hospitalist Nowak Welcomed


Kristie Nowak, MD, has been welcomed to the staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center as a member of the hospitalist staff.

Dr. Nowak received a bachelor of arts in Biological Sciences with a minor in Chemistry from California State University, where she was a cum laude graduate. She received her medical education from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., completed her internship in Internal Medicine at Washington Hospital Center and her residency in Primary Care Internal Medicine at The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. She served as Chief Medical Resident at the Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center in Washington.

Dr. Nowak came to SOMC after serving as an assistant professor of medicine, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, Huntington, WV. She has previously practiced as a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente, Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, MD, and Capital Internal Medicine at Holy Cross. She has also practiced geriatric medicine at Riderwood Village Medical Center and general internal medicine practice in Silver Spring.

A hospitalist is a physician who specializes in the medical care of the hospitalized patient.

SOMC Supports Notre Dame Art Program


Southern Ohio Medical Center recently presented a donation to the Notre Dame High School’s art program. Juniors and seniors from the school painted scenes from popular children’s movies and other scenery for SOMC Pediatrician Dr. Rebecca Schoettle’s office, which was moved in mid-2007 to Suite 201 of the Waller Building as part of the expansion and construction project under way on the Main Campus. Pictured, the art students show some of their work as SOMC President Randy Arnett presents art instructor Anissa Harr with the donation.

Cooper Nurse Manager


Ann Cooper has been named the Nurse Manager of the Cardiovascular Operating Room at Southern Ohio Medical Center. In this position, she will be responsible for the daily operation of the Cardiovascular OR, ensuring that policies, practices, procedures and standards are followed through the supervision of surgical staff members and individual patient care.

Cooper has been a registered nurse of the SOMC Surgery Department for more than six years. She is a 2001 graduate of Maysville Community College, where she earned her associate’s degree. In 2007, she graduated from Shawnee State University, earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Cooper currently resides in Lewis County, Ky., with her husband, Adam.

Riverview Activities Attracting Many Interests


There is a familiar face for many of residents at Riverview Retirement Center these days.

Kay Warner has been helping with the Variety Market grocery store for residents. A long-time employee of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Nutrition Services staff, Kay had to retire from her cafeteria duties at the hospital in mid-2005 due to health problems, but she is able to lend a hand for a few afternoon hours each day at Riverview.

“Kay is the newest SOMC employee to come and live at Riverview,” the community’s administrator, Tim Graham, says. “We accept anyone age 50 or older for residency in the 106 apartments in Biggs and Washington houses.” The two buildings are located on either side of Olde Market Square at Second and Market streets in the Boneyfiddle District of Portsmouth. For Kay, the work, as well as her new home, have been rewarding.

“It’s nice and safe here,” she says. “We have a lot of activities going on all the time, and in addition to the Variety Market we have a library, a new kitchen, chapel, and the new Buckey Room for playing pool.”

Kay is also close to family some of the time, as her mother volunteers at the adult day center located next door. And when she isn’t busy with some of more than 70 scheduled activities each month for residents, she is figuring out how use the computer in one of the activity rooms.

“I’ve learned how to do some of the puzzles, but I haven’t gotten to email yet,” she says.

The Variety Market keeps staples on hand including coffee, flour, canned vegetables, milk, butter, eggs, snacks, ice cream and lunchmeats. The coffee shop adjacent to the market is busy a lot of the day, as residents stop by and catch up the latest news. Kay is usually on hand, helping with the groceries and coffee.

Riverview is a Housing and Urban Development-subsidized facility.

“Riverview is very affordable,” Graham says. “You can have a retirement income and still live here. For a married couple, you can have as much as $33,150 in annual income and still qualify. A single person can have up to $29,000 annual income and qualify.”

He noted that all apartments are furnished with stove, refrigerator and air conditioner/heat and the units have a variety of floorplan layouts, with rental fees including utilities and a reduced rate for cable television. Kay highly recommends the facilities to friends and anyone considering a change of living environment.

“There is so much to do here, trips and outings and the things right here at Riverview Retirement Center,” she says. “It really is a great place to be.” For more information about Riverview, call Graham at (740) 353-1128.

Surgeon With Local Family Featured In National News From Iraq

A surgeon with family in the area was featured Nov. 23 on ABC TV’s Nightline broadcast.

Army Lt. Col. Richard C. Rooney, Jr., MD, is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal procedures. He is in the middle of a tour of duty in Iraq, serving as the senior orthopedic surgeon at the 28th Combat Support Hospital, the world’s busiest military trauma hospital, located in the Green Zone of Baghdad.

ABC reporter Martha Raddatz interviewed Dr. Rooney as part of a profile on the medical facility and the ongoing challenges the medical staff face. A West Point graduate, Dr. Rooney practices medicine stateside at William Beaumont Hospital in El Paso, Texas. He is a graduate of Chillicothe High School and his father, Richard Rooney, MD, is a surgeon on staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center.

During the interview and in an article on ABC’s news website, Dr. Rooney Jr. explained how the focus has to be on stabilizing the patient to save his or her life, then salvage whatever is possible regarding the extremities. Asked how the physicians cope with the ongoing volumes of physically devastated patients, Dr. Rooney said exercise, sleep and other distractions are heavily embraced.

Back here in southern Ohio, his father and family were looking forward to the broadcast.

“They notified us on Monday that the broadcast would be on Friday,” Dr. Rooney Sr. says. “Martha Raddatz sought him out to discuss what it was like to be a surgeon in the world’s busiest trauma hospital. He shuns publicity but he showed up for a particular case and they wanted to talk to him. Usually he just wants to fade into the background. He says he just wanted his 15 minutes of anonymity.”

Dr. Rooney Jr.’s work was also featured in Associated Press reports, the New York Times and MSNBC websites regarding a boy critically injured by a bomb intended for US troops. The boy’s life was saved despite the loss of his arm and leg.

Father and son are able to communicate frequently by telephone, and the family is looking forward to his safe return in February.