Becky Cooper, RN of SOMC’s Emergency Department assists two kindergarten students in using Doppler to hear their heartbeat during SOMC’s 10th Annual Love Your Heart educational event.
Southern Ohio Medical Center recently hosted the 10th Annual Love Your Heart event, April 20 and 21. Since 2000, the program has used a Wizard of Oz theme to educate more than 10,000 five and six-year-old children about healthy heart habits.
Debbie O’Dell, kindergarten teacher at Portsmouth West, has brought her classes to Love Your Heart since the program started ten years ago. She explained that it’s good for her students to take a field trip and learn outside of the classroom.
“My students love coming to SOMC to learn about their hearts,” O’Dell said. “A lot of people don’t take care of their hearts and I think it’s due to a lack of education. If you teach the students while they are young, then they are more likely to utilize this knowledge as adults.”
When the schools arrived at the SOMC Friends Community Center, they were greeted by the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, Dorothy and other characters from the Wizard of Oz. The children learned that the Tin Man received a new heart and that he needs to learn how to take care of it. After the opening program, small groups were led through five different interactive stations where they learned how to feed, see, hear, feel and exercise their hearts.
“By using a storybook theme to present the information, SOMC staff assisted children in developing their cognitive learning skills,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of ICU and program director for Love Your Heart, said. “This approach to teaching has been so successful that in May 2001, the ICU staff received the Seabury and Smith, Inc., Community Service Award, for our efforts in teaching area children about heart health.”
“Love Your Heart stemmed from the education team of the Intensive Care Unit,” Tony Smith, assistant nurse manager of the ICU, said. “I portray Tin Man every year and I really enjoy teaching the students and creating a connection between Tin Man’s heart and theirs.”
Schools from Wheelersburg, Northwest, Stanton, Clay, Notre Dame, South Webster, Green, Valley Portsmouth City and Minford brought 1,150 children to this year’s event. SOMC nursing staff and nursing students from Shawnee State University, Collins Career Center, Pike County, Rio Grande and Ohio University nursing students volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.
“I think Love Your Heart is a great program and good education for kids,” Sarah Fox, SSU student volunteer and nurse resident at SOMC, said. “My niece came last year and she kept talking about how much fun it was.”
“Love Your Heart has proven to be one of the most successful programs conducted for kindergarten-aged children in the Scioto County area,” Aeh added. “We are grateful that SOMC can provide such a wonderful program for our community and we look forward to planning Love Your Heart 2011.”
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. After obtaining Magnet in January 2008, SOMC has become a member of the elite six percent of hospitals in the U.S. that can claim this distinction.
“In the health care profession, Magnet recognition is an immense honor,” Claudia Burchett, vice president of Patient Services and chief nursing officer, said.
“It serves as external recognition of the excellent care that we provide to our patients and their families. This achievement was the result of more than 30 months of preparation, 2,000 pages of submitted documentation, a four-day on-site inspection and years of commitment to quality and excellence.”
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.
“I saw a SOMC billboard about Magnet and then I went online to find more information about the facility,” Carolyn White, a new nurse at SOMC, said. “I had previously worked for a Magnet hospital and when my husband and I were looking to relocate, I knew SOMC was the place for me.”
White chose to leave her friends and family to move five hours from her home in Glasgow, Kentucky to the Portsmouth area. She has been a RN in the SOMC Orthopedic and Family Care Unit since November 2009.
“Working at SOMC has made my move a lot easier,” she said. “I think I have my family and friends here now.”
Ruthie Sandala also had a similar situation. She searched and applied online for two years before landing a position in the Same Day Surgery department at SOMC. After previously working for a Magnet organization, Sandala moved from Indianapolis to Portsmouth just to work at SOMC because she knew what Magnet really stands for.
“I know that Magnet means the hospital values their nurses and treats them well,” Sandala said. “And they usually ask the nurses for their opinions before putting policies in place.”
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, improved patient outcomes and higher satisfaction rates. According to the ANCC, “Magnet recognition provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care they can expect to receive.”
Pictured are employees of the Intensive Care Unit at SOMC and patient Walt Barrett during his celebration of recovery before going home.
Walt Barrett, a 34-year-old local restaurant manager, developed flu-like symptoms in September of last year. He prolonged a doctor’s visit and three months later ended up in the emergency department at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Before he knew it, he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in life-threatening condition.
“I had not been to a doctor in probably eight years before all this,” Barrett said. “I just thought I would feel better but then my cough turned into pneumonia and then I went into respiratory failure.”
Although his memory is fuzzy throughout the first two months of his hospital stay at SOMC, he does remember spending Christmas and New Years Eve with the staff of the ICU.
“The nurses quietly decorated my room while I was asleep on Christmas Eve. I woke up on Christmas morning and was pleasantly surprised to see my room sparkling with lights and ornaments,” he said. “Then, for New Years Eve, we had a party! We watched the ball drop in Times Square, drank cider and celebrated with confetti.”
Barrett said he was grateful for the nurses, therapists, physicians and many other staff who made him feel at home, especially during the holidays. The large team it took to provide Walt’s care became like a second family to him.
“Walt developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with multi-system organ failure,” Dr. Samer Kseibi, pulmonologist at SOMC, said. “He had a very high mortality rate, almost 100 percent. We didn’t think his complicated condition and lungs would ever recover but we all worked together diligently to keep him alive; the team worked like one pair of hands.”
“Walt came close to death several times but he pulled through,” Michael Hammer, registered nurse in the ICU, said. “He fought just as hard as we did.”
Cindy McQuay, a respiratory therapist at SOMC explained that Walt was put on a ventilator in the beginning and then eventually was weaned off of the machine. He then worked hard with physical, speech, respiratory and rehabilitation therapists to regain his speech and mobility.
After Walt was off the ventilator, he was able to eat for the first time. One nurse was so excited she made homemade mashed potatoes for him.
“We all became emotionally attached to Walt and we didn’t want to give up on him,” McQuay said. “Now he has recovered and my heart melted when I heard him talk for the first time, it’s so rewarding.”
“Walt had been in the ICU for two months. When he left our unit to move to Rehab, we asked him what his goal was,” Christy Aeh, nurse manager of the ICU, said. “He said he wanted to physically walk back into the ICU and give everyone hugs.”
Three months later, the day before Walt went home, he proudly walked into the ICU. Walt said he had a promise to fulfill as he walked into a room full of teary-eyed caregivers and greeted them with hugs of appreciation.
After a five month stay at SOMC, Walt is now home and in full recovery. He is thankful for his second family and for the excellent care he received at SOMC.
“Walt is one of our success stories at SOMC,” Dr. Sadiq Al-Nakeeb, critical care intensivist at SOMC, said. “And we are very proud of that.”
Displaying the hand-made quilt (from l to r) is Kelly Lawson, clinical manager of Oncology Services at SOMC; Linda Copas, breast cancer survivor; Betty Morgan and Joyce Payton, volunteers for the American Cancer Society-Cancer Resource Center.
Nearly four years ago, Betty Morgan, a volunteer for the American Cancer Society-Cancer Resource Center and Southern Ohio Medical Center, began giving clothing and fabric to a patient who enjoyed quilting. Little did she know that her kindness would build a lasting friendship with a woman fighting breast cancer.
“Now, four years later, the fabric filled with so many family memories, has been transformed into a beautiful quilt,” Morgan said. “I’m donating it to raise money for the American Cancer Society.”
Morgan first met Linda Copas, an X-ray tech at Adams County Regional Medical Center, at the SOMC Cancer Center. Copas quickly began treatments at SOMC after her diagnosis of breast cancer in February 2006.
“Linda was always crocheting or sewing something while she was waiting,” Morgan added. “We shared this hobby and it became a bridge to form my friendship with her.”
Copas belonged to a quilting group called the Homemakers of West Union, consisting of 32 women, three of which were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. Morgan decided it was time to clean out a few things in her home, such as her daughter’s prom dress and other sentimental items that encompassed many family memories. Instead of donating the clothing and beautiful silk fabrics, she decided to pass them on to Copas, in hopes of putting the material to good use.
“This story is unique and so dear to my heart,” Morgan said. “I never knew that as a volunteer I would meet so many wonderful people and be blessed with their stories. One of my children had cancer and I myself beat cancer, I know that relationships and attitude are important when trying to overcome the odds.”
Over the past several years, the Homemakers Group have hand-made five quilts and raised money by selling the quilts and then donated the funds to local patients battling cancer. Copas and the group worked diligently to transform Morgan’s fabrics into an eclectic quilt.
“When I look at this beautiful quilt, I see many memories,” she said. “To see it made by Linda represents a circle of love and friendship.”
The quilt will be raffled off to raise awareness and donations for the American Cancer Society. Raffle tickets may be purchased through any Relay For Life team member or by calling Anna Cardenas, (740) 353-7326 or Rosie Williams, (740) 456-4363. The tickets cost $1 each or a book for $10. The raffle will be drawn during the Relay for Life event, June 25, 2010.