Category Archives: Nurses News

SOMC First Hospital Named To ‘America’s Safest Companies’Posted on November 20, 2007

For the first time, Occupational Hazards has recognized a healthcare facility as one of America’s Safest Companies.

Southern Ohio Medical Center has earned the honor through the organization’s all-encompassing approach to create a safe and healthy workplace for its 2,300 employees.

“Safety is our first strategic value,” says Penny Cooper, director of Risk Management and Safety Services. “We’re very focused on safety.”

Occupational Hazards is a news organization that informs safety, health and industrial hygiene professionals in the manufacturing, construction, and service sectors about trends, management strategies, regulatory news and new products that help them provide safe and healthy work sites.

Every year, the 222-bed hospital in Portsmouth admits about 13,000 patients, performs 12,000 surgeries and handles almost 80,000 emergency cases. Through it all, SOMC is dedicated to not only taking care of patients’ needs, but ensuring that employees are kept safe and healthy, as well. Safety is listed first among SOMC’s strategic values, including the promise that the facility “will build and sustain an exceptionally safe organization.”

As part of SOMC’s determination to go above and beyond expected safety policies, the organization has implemented a random audit program, an ergonomics team, a safety leadership team, a safety hotline and a healthy partners program. It’s all part of SOMC’s commitment to build a safe environment for the facility’s workers.

SOMC created the Safety Champions program in 2005 to facilitate cultural change within the facility and highlight the importance of workplace safety. Continually trained, safety champions’ responsibilities include serving as liaisons for other employees, raising departmental safety concerns and assisting continual monitoring and readiness. SOMC has about 200 champions in the program.

Since the safety champions program has been in place, SOMC has reduced total recordable injuries by more than 30 percent, has reduced workers’ compensation costs by more than 9 percent, has improved compliance with external governing bodies and has won several safety awards.

As a current member of the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Mentor Program, SOMC is taking steps to gain VPP Star status. Management believes achieving this goal can help SOMC continue to save lives, avoid worker injuries, reduce insurance and litigation and raise worker morale.

SOMC even has partnered with VPP Star status site Turner Construction for the facility’s $110-million expansion. Cooper says SOMC didn’t want to just hire a construction company as an employee; they wanted a company with a proven safety record to act as a partner in this extensive project.

Employees are also rewarded and honored for creating new ideas on safety issues. When a nurse noticed that SOMC’s medication system placed the most-used drugs at the bottom, causing staff to repeatedly bend over, she submitted her concern to the Ideas program. This incentives program rewards employees who submit safety-related ideas or solutions that are approved by the safety leadership team. Thanks to the Ideas program and the nurse’s observation, the problem was solved. Now, the most commonly used drugs are located within easy reach.

“It changed the whole system,” Cooper says.

It also shows how encouraging employee input can affect an organization’s safety culture. By putting safety first, SOMC has become one of the few healthcare facilities to stand out as a safety star.

SOMC Nurses Receive Oncology CertificationPosted on November 15, 2007

Kelly Lawson, Connie Wolf and Sheryl Grooms, registered nurses of the Cancer Center at Southern Ohio Medical Center (pictured above l to r), recently received Oncology certification (OCN) from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

Lawson is a graduate of Shawnee State University and has been part of the nursing staff at SOMC since 1990. She is currently Breast Health Navigator at the SOMC Cancer Center.

Wolf is a graduate of the Ashland Community College School of Nursing. She started working at SOMC in 1997 and has been a member of the SOMC Cancer Center staff since June 2005.

Grooms is a graduate of Shawnee State University and has been a part of the nursing staff at SOMC since 1978. She has worked in Medical Oncology at the SOMC Cancer Center for the last two years.

Other staff members at the SOMC Cancer Center who have received Oncology certification include Heather Ashley, RN, BSN; Debbie Bihl, RN, MSN, CNP; Rachelle Collins, RN; and Kristie Meeker, RN, BSN.

Thompson Receives State Home Care HonorPosted on November 13, 2007

Karen Thompson, RN, director of SOMC Home Care, has received the Dorothy Royce Award from the Ohio Council for Home Care, for her work in promoting home care.

Thompson has been a home care professional since 1980 and has been director of SOMC’s program since 1989. She is a past president of the Ohio Council for Home Care and served 10 years on its board.

“Karen has been a strong advocate for home care in Ohio, donating time and money to support/advocate for home care reimbursement and quality improvement,” the council stated. “She is kind and caring in all her actions both professionally and personally, and is an outstanding representative for our industry.”

Thompson was presented the award at the council’s annual awards luncheon Sept. 19 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

In addition to serving on the council’s Political Action, Government Affairs, and Nominations committees, Thompson is a past member of the Compliance and Reimbursement Issues and the Continuing Education Review committees.

Over the past five years Thompson has visited every US senator and US representative from Ohio at their Washington offices to educate legislators about the home care industry. She has testified on behalf of the industry before the Ohio House and Ohio Senate and has been active in the political caucuses on behalf of home care.

SOMC Pediatrics Staff Celebrates National Pediatric Nurse WeekPosted on October 30, 2007

The Pediatrics staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center celebrated National Pediatric Nurse Week Oct. 9-15, with a special day of educational and celebratory sessions Oct. 11. The group reviewed clinical outcomes, discussed patient-centered best practices and celebrated the unit’s achievements. Guest speakers included SOMC’ Valerie DeCamp, director of Inpatient Services and Accreditation, and Marsha Williams, RN, MSN, C-NNP, a neonatal nurse practitioner from Cabell Huntington Hospital who discussed neonatal abstinence and drug-addicted babies. Shown are Nurse Manager Malissa Warrick with members of the staff.

SOMC Nurses Present At National ConferencePosted on October 19, 2007

Four nurses from Southern Ohio Medical Center attended the annual Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) conference Sept. 27-29 in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a poster presentation on “ED Overcrowding…Urgent Solution, Urgent Care.” The presentation included the 10-year volume history of the SOMC Urgent Care in Wheelersburg and their patient satisfaction initiatives, which have enabled the UCC to reach the top one percent in the nation in satisfied patients in July 2007. Shown (from left) are Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, director of Nursing Emergency and Outpatient Services, and Sherry Foster, RN, nurse manager of the UCC. Also attending were Kathy Lute, RN, and Angela J. Hodge, RN, BSN, CEN, EMT-P, SANE.

SOMC Receives National Honor For Heart CarePosted on June 29, 2007

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently accepted the VHA Leadership Award for demonstating extraordinary levels of performance in clinical excellence for care of acute heart attacks and (for the second consecutive year) for congestive heart failure care. VHA is one of the nation’s largest networks of community-owned, not-for-profit hospitals. Shown accepting the award are (l-r) Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer and vice president, Patient Services; Sherry Young, RN, Emergency Services; Becky Hall, director, Performance Improvement; Barb Truitt, RN, Emergency Services; Amy Beinkampen, RN, director, Heart Services; Pam McCoy, RN, case manager.

SOMC Receives Patriot AwardPosted on June 7, 2007

Southern Ohio Medical Center recently received the Patriotic Employer Award, issued by the National Committee for Employer support of the Guard and Reserves. SOMC received the award for supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force. Brian Bradley, husband of Kim Bradley, Health Care Center staff member, nominated SOMC for the prestigious award after Kim’s work hours were adjusted to allow her to care of her family while Brian was serving in the armed forces. Displaying the award are, from left, Mary Kate Skaggs, Director of Emergency Services; Kim Bradley, HCC; Kathy Lute, Nurse Manager, HCC; Randy Arnett, President and CEO of SOMC; Alberta Penn, HCC; Mary Lou Castle, HCC, and Dawn Wisner, Registration.

SOMC Personnel Complete OSHA Safety TrainingPosted on March 15, 2007

Safety leaders at Southern Ohio Medical Center recently completed OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Certification in the Standards for General Industry and the Standards of the Construction Industry. Certification training consisted of 30 hours of training in each area. The training provided OSHA guidelines that assist with SOMC’s organizational goal of achieving OSHA VPP (Voluntary Protection Programs) Star status and in continually striving to make SOMC safe.

Those completing the training are (front, l-r): John Schaffer, Manager Telecommunications, Leeann L. Sammons, vice president of Health and Safety Services; Greg Malone, Bio-Medical Engineering; Sharon Nolan, Infection Control; Abby Floyd, Plant Operations; Sheri Anderson, Safety Services; Craig Gilliland, administrative director of Facilities; back (l-r); Penny Cooper, director of Safety Services; Ted Stidham, Warehouse; Tom DeCamp, Plant Operations; Joan Thomas, director of Environmental Services; Henry Stewart, Maintenance; Randy McGraw, Maintenance; Joe McKinnon, manager of Security Services and Harold Bise, Maintenance.

SOMC’s Skaggs At ConferencePosted on March 9, 2007

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA

Mary Kate Dilts Skaggs, RN, MSN, CNA, of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently attended the Emergency Nurses Association Leadership Conference 2007 in Boston, Mass., Feb. 22-25.

More than 1,400 nursing leaders from across the country and around the world attended topics including education, professional development, personnel, quality, and safety, as related to emergency department operations.

Skaggs presented “Drug Dependency and Drug Testing – Lessons for Leaders” at this conference.

She has been the director of Nursing for Emergency and Outpatient Services for more than 10 years at SOMC.

Nurse Richards Earns IDEAS AwardPosted on March 5, 2007

Dawn Richards and Amy Beinkampen

Dawn Richards, Southern Ohio Medical Center Emergency Services, left, receives an IDEAS (Ideas Developed by Employees At SOMC) award from Amy Beinkampen, director of Heart and Vascular Services and Quality Leadership Team leader, for her suggestion in developing a tool to help Magnet Champions deliver the message of Magnetism to their departments. Richards also received $100 in tokens that can be cashed in in Human Resources or saved for a day off with pay. The SOMC IDEAS program was developed to encourage and promote suggestions and reward employees for taking an active role in making SOMC a great place to work.

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