Category Archives: Nurses News

SOMC Nursing Leaders Present at Annual PRC ConferencePosted on June 28, 2012

Nursing leaders at Southern Ohio Medical Center were recently selected to present during the 13th Annual PRC Excellence in Healthcare conference, held June 3-6 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

More than 300 clients and distinguished guests attended the event, which aimed to further educate healthcare professionals interested in achieving service excellence.

Those who presented included Claudia Burchett, RN, BSN, MBA, FACHE, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and vice president of Nursing at SOMC; Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, BSN, MSN, NE-BC, director of SOMC Emergency, Outpatient and Pediatric Services; and Valerie DeCamp, RN, BSN, MHA, NE-BC, director of SOMC Inpatient Nursing Services.

Dilts Skaggs and DeCamp presented, “From Very Good to Excellent, Service Tools, Strategies and Action Plans to Achieve Results,” while Burchett was chosen to sit among a panel that discussed “Creative Ways to Reward and Recognize Staff.”

“This is the second year we have been chosen to present at the annual PRC conference and we hope to do so again,” Burchett said. “It was a great opportunity for our organization and the sessions helped us gain invaluable knowledge that can be used to better continue SOMC’s journey toward excellence and perfection. We look forward to returning.”

SOMC Awarded an “A” for Patient SafetyPosted on June 12, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score by The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits.

Calculated under the guidance of The Leapfrog Group’s nine-member Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 26 measures of publicly available safety data to produce a single score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from infections, injuries, and medical and medication errors.

Through the collected data, U.S. hospitals areassigned an A, B, C, D, or F.

“To earn an ‘A’ for our Hospital Safety Score is quite an accomplishment and a true testament to the exceptionally safe environment we have created at SOMC,” Chief Safety Officer Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of SOMC Health and Safety, said. “It’s through the dedication of many employees that we are able to sustain this excellent safety culture and I’m grateful for the strides that have been made to provide the safest patient-care possible.”

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of healthcare to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of healthcare for Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals.

“It’s The Leapfrog Group’s goal to give patients the information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital,” Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, said. “We congratulate the hospitals that earned an ‘A’ and we look forward to the day when all hospitals in the U.S. will earn the highest scores for putting patient safety first.”

To see SOMC’s scores as they compare nationally and locally, or to find information on how you can protect yourself and your and loved one during a hospital stay, visit the Hospital Safety Score website at


SOMC nurses driven by a passion to help othersPosted on May 9, 2012

Nursing is a field unlike any other. It is physically and emotionally demanding and requires those who accept its challenges to be driven by more than monetary gain.

Lisa McGowan, Amy Montgomery and Nicholas Erlenwein are all nurses at Southern Ohio Medical Center. McGowan is an RN Case Manager, Montgomery a HomeCare Clinical Coordinator and Erlenwein a circulating nurse in surgery.

Their jobs may be different, but their motivations are the same: They are driven by a desire to make a difference.

“I think it’s just something that’s inside of you,” Montgomery said. “Health care is just something that felt like a calling for me.”

SOMC, and other healthcare facilities nationwide, honored those who hear that calling during National Nurses Week. Nurses Week beginsevery year on May 6 and concludes May 12, which is also the birthday of Florence Nightengale. Nightengale is known as the founder of modern nursing.

“National Nurses Week is an important event for our hospital because it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the individuals who dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of others,” Claudia Burchett, chief nursing office and vice president of SOMC Patient Services, said.

Montgomery and McGowan joined SOMC in 1990s, but have worked in health care for longer than that. They believe there is a dedication forexcellent care at SOMC that sets the hospital apart.

“SOMC is full of caring people. They care deeply for the patients, and they care deeply for their employees,” McGowan said.

Erlenwein has been at SOMC for six years and has already developed close relationships with his co-workers, as well as with his patients.

“This surgery’s like a big family to me,” Erlenwein. “We work so closely together that you form bonds and friendships. There are also relationships you form with the patients. They’re trusting their lives with you, and you want to do everything you can to take care of them.”

For SOMC nurses, the knowledge that they make such a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients is perhaps the most fulfilling part of the job. For those who answer its call, Montgomery believes that nursing can be one of the most rewarding professions there is.

“You get fulfillment out of every day that you go to work,” Montgomery said.

SOMC hosts Nurse’s Day event at Friends CenterPosted on April 30, 2012

Nearly 50 high school students considering a career in healthcare got the opportunity to take a closer look at their dream jobs during Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Nursing Camp event at the SOMC Friends Center.

Nurse Recruiter Katy Stephens said the event helps students decide whether or not they want to enter the healthcare field. For those who do, it also offers insight into numerous nursing specialties.

“The students in attendance learn more about surgical nursing, maternity nursing, cardiac nursing and emergency nursing as well as community health and wellness,” Stephens said. “When the weather allows it, we even bring in a helicopter and give them a glimpse into flight nursing.”

SOMC invited four students each from 15 local high schools to the event. Guidance counselors were tasked with selecting which students to send. Among those in attendance was Minford sophomore Olivia Thoroughman, 16, who said she enjoyed the hands-on elements of Nursing Camp.

“I enjoyed the surgical segment and being able to use the simulation tools,” Thoroughman said.

In addition to encouraging the interest of students like Thoroughman, SOMC also helps aspiring healthcare providers by explaining the various routes they can take to become a nurse. SOMC also offers financial assistance for nursing school to employees.

Stephens said that SOMC’s Nursing Camp event is continuing to grow and receive positive feedback. In fact, the students are consistently asking for more.

“The most common things we hear is that they want to go into the actual hospital and see the work we do first-hand,” Stephens said. “That feedback led us to pass out flyers for shadowing opportunities at SOMC this year.”

Although they may not be able to engage in patient care as high school students, events like Nursing Camp are meant to help put them on the path to doing just that later in life.

SOMC Held 3rd Annual Nursing Research SymposiumPosted on April 2, 2012


Nursing Research Symposium

November 3, 2010 » Southern Ohio Medical Center recently hosted its Third Annual Nursing Research Symposium. More than 60 nurses, faculty and nursing students attend the event, Oct. 25. SOMC partnered with Shawnee State University, Marshall University and Riverside Methodist Hospital to educate attendees on various research topics, including minimal lift environment, resilience, childhood obesity and heart failure. Shown above speaking about “Prevalence and Perception of Obesity in a Group of Children In An After School Program is Mary Kathryn Gould, EdD, RD, LD-MSU.

SOMC Recognizes Certified Nurses for Enhanced Patient CarePosted on March 16, 2012

March 19 is annually celebrated around the country as Certified Nurses Day—a time to thank and recognize certified nurses for bringing an increased value and quality of work to their organization.

Southern Ohio Medical Center will use this day as an opportunity to honor the hospital’s 170 board certified nurses who provide excellent care to their patients every day.

“It is my pleasure to express gratitude for the proficiency and leadership our nurses demonstrate through achieving and maintaining national board certification in their specialty,” Chief Nursing Officer Claudia Burchett, vice president of SOMC Nursing Services, said. “Nurses represent one of the most critical and essential components of our modern healthcare system and we are very proud of their hard work, dedication and professionalism toward providing excellent patient care at SOMC.”

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.

Studies have even linked certification to the quality of patient care, stating that certified nurses earn enhanced credibility and can directly impact such important care-related issues as falls, pressure ulcers, and pain knowledge.

“When nurses acquire additional certification, it creates an environment of specialized competency that can’t always be achieved through other means, adding strength to a person’s nursing abilities and contribution toward patient care,” Valerie DeCamp, director of SOMC Inpatient Services, said. “This day gives us a chance to recognize and encourage nurses to pursue this step in their careers.”

“We realize that it takes personal dedication and persistence to achieve and maintain certification, and we value all of our certified employees for their commitment to excellence,” Burchett added. “Our hospital is very grateful for their continued efforts and strides in creating an environment of enhanced patient care.”

SOMC Nursing Research Highlighted at National ConferencePosted on March 8, 2012

Nurses of the Emergency Department at Southern Ohio Medical Center were recently selected to present at the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) Leadership Conference held Feb. 22-26 in New Orleans, La.

More than 2,000 emergency nurses from across the United States and the world gathered at the conference to discuss trends and topics related to their profession including leadership, communication, healthcare reform, patient satisfaction, and other ideas to improve emergency department operations.

SOMC staff members presented two of the 39 research and evidenced-based posters displayed at the conference: Julie Hiles, RN, BSN, assistant nurse manager of the SOMC Emergency Department and Pediatrics, Jennifer Foit, RN, BSN, and ED Clinical Coordinator Angela Hodge presented, “Emergency Department: The Frontline Defender for Pertussis Prevention,” while Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, director of nursing for SOMC Emergency, Pediatrics & Outpatient Services presented, “Decreasing Wait Time to Provider with Treatment Triage Teams: Keeping Vertical Patient Vertical.”

Pictured at the conference (l to r) are Foit, Hiles and Hodge.

Southern Ohio Medical Center Receives Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCIPosted on February 29, 2012

Southern Ohio Medical Center has received full accreditation with PCI from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC).

“This accreditation means a lot to all of us at SOMC,” Director of Critical Care and Heart & Vascular Services Amy Fraulini said. “We are committed to providing excellent care for our patients and are proud to have this accreditation as a testament to that commitment.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.
The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observations help ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.
With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.
The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers
The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for individual hospitals and hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities,, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.

SOMC Wins Press GaneyPosted on December 29, 2011

Through the hard work of its more than 2,300 employees, Southern Ohio Medical Center was recently named a 2011 Distinctive Workplace Award winner by Press Ganey Associates. Pictured (l to r) are SOMC employees: Jason Swords of the Cardiovascular Operating Room; Sheryl Howard of Environmental Services; Shay Fry of Diagnostic Radiology; Jeannie Patty of Telecommunications; Terry Hall of Facilities; and Dr. Marion Hochstetler of SOMC Heart and Vascular Services.

SOMC Wins Press Ganey Distinctive Workplace AwardPosted on December 29, 2011

Southern Ohio Medical Center has been named a 2011 Press Ganey Distinctive Workplace Award winner by Press Ganey Associates.

SOMC is one of only 11 Press Ganey clients in the nation to receive this prestigious honor, which is given to organizations that have reached and sustained the 95th percentile in employee satisfaction scores for two consecutive reporting periods. SOMC currently stands at the 99th percentile for employee satisfaction.

“This is a great honor for our organization and recognizes our employees for their partnership and true commitment to outstanding quality service,” Ken Applegate, director of SOMC Human Resources, said. “This award acknowledges that our employees love what they do and take pride in providing their talents right here at SOMC.”

Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 healthcare facilities (including more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals) to measure and improve the quality of care delivered to patients. The company’s databases are the largest in the industry and allow facilities nationwide to benchmark their results against peer organizations.

SOMC has been recognized nationally and statewide for employee satisfaction, not only receiving the Distinctive Workplace Award two years in a row, but also earning distinctions as one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, a Best Employer in Ohio, and one of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work.

“Without the dedication and high-level of quality our staff provide every day, we would not be considered for such designations,” SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett said. “We are proud of our team of experts at SOMC and are extremely proud to offer the best quality care to the people of our community.

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