Tucson youngster collects books for rite of passage to share with pediatric unit

IMG_2597Addison Braswell surprised her parents as a kindergartener when she decided to donate to pediatric cancer patients all of the contents from her piggy-bank that she had collected over the year from gifts and holidays.

She has done the same thing every year since, explaining that she feels badly for children who are sick and wished she lived in a world where sickness didn’t exist.

So when she celebrated her First Holy Communion this year, it was completely within character that the 9-year-old asked her friends and family members to purchase children’s books for donations to give to children recovering in the hospital.

“Sometimes, when I don’t feel well, stories help me imagine that I’m somewhere else,” explained Addison, who donated more than 20 books to TMC for Children.

Jamie Antrim, a Child Life assistant at TMC, thanked Addison for her kind spirit. “Sometimes, when children spend the night in the hospital, they can feel a little sad because they miss their house and their pets or their friends, so we work hard to help them feel better,” she said. “Having a book to read can help make the hospital feel a little more relaxing and a little more like home.”

Not only does TMC for Children have a library for children, but every pediatric patient gets a coupon to pick out a brand-new book when leaving the hospital. Addison helped put her donations into the Book Nook, while little sister Avery looked on.

Addison’s mother, Anne-Marie Braswell, works for Golder Ranch Fire District, which is a partnering organization in Safe Kids Pima County, a coalition led by TMC that is working to prevent accidental childhood injury.

“I knew as a community hospital, TMC has a commitment to programs that cater to kids,” she said.

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Addison, who wants to be a veterinarian or a teacher someday, was satisfied about how she spent the first day of her summer vacation. “It made me feel good that I was going to be able to help a lot of people and maybe put a smile on someone’s face.”

For more information on TMC’s wish list for pediatric donations, please visit donating to TMC for Children.

TMC welcomes newest teacher in business-education partnership

BethanyAs a teacher of high school anatomy and physiology, Bethany Thiele will absolutely know you are talking about a bone, and not necessarily something funny, if you mention “humerus.”

So when she learned that Tucson Medical Center was participating in Teachers in Industry, she jumped at the chance to find meaningful summer work that will enhance her teaching.

The program allows businesses to gain new perspectives by employing teachers over the summer, while allowing teachers an inside look into how to shape their classes to make sure they’re responding to industry demands of current and future workers. More than 160 teachers – who collectively influence more than 20,000 students each year – have so far gained industry experience.

The fourth-year teacher at one point was so interested in anatomy that she thought she might be a doctor or a physical therapist.

But as a counselor at an academic summer camp each year throughout college, Thiele began thinking there might be a way to teach students about health in a more proactive way. Many of the other camp counselors were teachers. “I saw how they were able to work with young people and make learning fun, and so teaching was the path I chose.”

Thiele said the best part about teaching – and also the hardest – is the end of the year. “It’s so exciting to look back at the progress your students have made, but it’s also hard. I teach seniors, so we develop strong relationships through the year and then I send them off into the world, which is a very bittersweet experience.”

The Tucson native will be assigned to TMC Pharmacy over the summer. She already teaches students about how different chemicals work in the body and medical interventions that can help bring the body back into balance.

And now she can talk shop at home with the hubby, who is in nursing school himself and poised to graduate in August. The two play soccer and go rock climbing and are training for El Tour de Tucson this year – all of which is also a great fit for TMC’s approach to helping build community wellness and promote active lifestyles.

“With most summer jobs, it’s just a way to supplement your income. But I have a chance to do something this year that I can use to become a better teacher.”

The program was established in 2009 in part by the University of Arizona College of Education and Tucson Values Teacher. It is geared to teachers of math, science, engineering and technology. TMC has participated for four years.

“TMC, like others in the health care industry, relies heavily on skilled workers,” said Alex Horvath, TMC’s chief human resources officer.

“We’re looking forward to Bethany’s role as a contributing member of the team, but also interested to see how this experience translates into what she brings into the classroom as she trains tomorrow’s workforce.”

To learn more about why nearly 60 local businesses are investing in the program, which has so far provided industry experience to more than 100 teachers, visit Teachers in Industry.

 

TMC receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

American Heart Association Award recognizes Tucson Medical Center’s commitment to quality stroke care

 

StrokeRecognitionIconTucson Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.

TMC earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients.

Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions.

“Tucson Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said David Teeple, MD, and the director of TMC’s stroke care program.

“The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient outcomes.”

TMC additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Elite Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke.

“We are pleased to recognize TMC for their commitment to strokecare,” said Eric E. Smith, M.D., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines Steering Committee and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. “Research has shown that hospitals adhering to clinical measures through the Get With The Guidelines quality improvement initiative can often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates.”

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

 About Get With The Guidelines®

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with tools and resources to increase adherence to the latest research-based guidelines. Developed with the goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, Get With The Guidelines has touched the lives of more than 6 million patients since 2001. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.

Our greatest reward is caring for our patients. That’s why we’re committed to turning treatment guidelines into lifelines. Tucson Medical Center is dedicated to helping our patients achieve the best possible outcomes, and implementing the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines program will help us accomplish that by making it easier for our teams to put proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis.

 

Rock ‘N Rodeo chips in fore TMC Hospice

This year two great events came together to support one great cause. The Desert Toyota of Tucson 21stAnnual Rock ‘N Rodeo event expanded festivities with the 1st Annual Swinging fore Hospice Golf Tournament.

The two events raised more than $70,000 to support a wide range of services and programs at TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice.

Taking fun to the next level

Rock ‘N Rodeo is known for ropin’ in the fun with southwestern dancing, raffles, casino games and a tasty dinner.

Desert Toyota of Tucson is a proud, long time sponsor of Rock ‘N Rodeo,” said Brent Berge, owner of Desert Toyota. “We have a lot of fun each year, but the real reward is knowing every dollar raised supports services and programs that enhance hospice care for patients and their families.”

After an evening of two-stepping, event-goers traded in their boots and Stetsons for clubs and cleats the next morning. With amazing raffle prizes and the chance to win a new car with a hole-in-one, the Swinging Fore Hospice Golf Tournament was a real hit!

How proceeds enhance hospice care

Funds support soothing complementary therapies for adults, and also fund the We Honor Veterans and Hospice Veterans Partnership programs – helping TMC Hospice better care for, reach out to and honor veterans needing end-of-life care.

Children with life-limiting or terminal conditions and their families have special needs, and the invaluable support from Rock ‘N Rodeo and Swinging Fore Hospice means TMC Children’s Hospice can offer specialized palliative care that provides joy and comfort.

“The Rock ‘N Rodeo and Swinging Fore Hospice support a very important community need,” said Kim Fore, director of TMC Hospice. “We’re grateful for the team at Desert Toyota of Tucson, as well as every sponsor and participant who helped make this year a great success.”

How you can be a part of the fun

Keep your spring calendars open for next year’s events. In the meantime, The TMC Foundation works with TMC Hospice and TMC Children’s Hospice throughout the year to identify needs and support programs that make a positive difference for patients. For more information, contact the TMC Foundation at (520) 324-3116 or visit www.tmcaz.com/foundation.

Children’s Miracle Network Champion – Emma Martin

Nine-year old Emma Martin is spunky! No two ways about it, this little girl has a big personality, an infectious laugh and the kindest heart. Emma is also TMC for Children’s 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Champion.

Each year Children’s Miracle Network recognizes one child in southern Arizona who embodies bravery, spirit and hope and is a champion for every child who spends time in our hospitals. We are thrilled to announce that Emma has been recognized as Southern Arizona’s champion for 2018.

While Emma was still in the womb, several of her internal organs developed and fused together, meaning she was without a crucial organ to remove waste from her body. In addition, Emma was born with only one kidney, making it even more difficult for her body to process fluids. A triplet, Emma spent an extended time in the NICU with her sisters, but faced with additional complications went home months after her sisters had left.

Over the past nine years Emma has spent months in the hospital, had over 20 surgeries to address the original congenital issues and the subsequent developments. A fungal infection caused her bladder to be removed, and she lost a majority of her colon in 2016 to a dangerous form of colitis. Emma must use a colostomy and urostomy bag for the rest of her life.

Despite years of complex surgeries and painful symptoms, Emma is joyful, kind and has a giving heart. “She will help others before herself, even her sisters,” said Emma’s mother, Shannan Martin. “She is a special and amazing person who is so positive – she lights up any room she walks into.”

Through Emma was born with rare and daunting health challenges, she keeps an enthusiastic positivity that is nothing short of inspiring – she is a true champion.

Southern Arizona communities can look forward to seeing Emma out-and-about in 2018, sharing her story and advocating for the courageous families and kids who are receiving care at TMC for Children.

You can support Emma’s efforts by contributing to TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network. Every dollar donated stays right here in Southern Arizona to support wellness programs, purchase life-saving equipment and provide vital health services to help children like Emma be as healthy as possible.

“TMC for Children has made an incredible difference for our amazing Emma,” said Martin. “We are grateful for the staff, technology and the continued services that have kept Emma alive and brought us all hope.”

Congratulations Emma and thank you for serving as the 2018 TMC for Children Champion!

Learn more about how TMC for Children/Children’s Miracle Network are making a difference, and how you can join the effort to provide life-saving equipment and health services for Southern Arizona children.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Jenna Carbone

Jenna CarboneTMC Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenna Carbone approaches her work with intense focus and singular caring for many of the most critically ill patients on her unit.

A nurse for six years, Carbone always knew she was meant to be a nurse.

“Even as a little girl, when my dad would come home from biking with cactus in his legs, I would get out my light and tweezers and pick each one out,” she recalled.

Since then, she not only graduated with honors, but also holds Critical Care and NIH stroke certifications to enable her to provide care to the highest acuity patients, including those with neurologic injuries. She’s also dedicated thousands of hours over the years to new graduate and student nurses.

Carbone, who is close to her parents and her family, credits her great grandfather, who was a stubborn, hard-headed kind of guy, with teaching her patience. And she has a deep commitment to getting to know the people she is serving in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s really great to get to know the families,” she said. “You know what you are fighting for. They are able to tell you about the patient and their personality.”

As much as she fights for her patients, she has had to learn that not every patient can be saved. She has been with patients at their deaths and participated in ceremonies at the end of their lives. “Because of my faith, I am comfortable with death and it is an honor to serve someone who is at the end of their life. My mom is a deeply faithful woman and when she gets bad news, she always says she knows that God has a plan for her.”

Carbone may cry at commercials for the Olympics, but she’s strong when it comes to patient care. “I don’t get emotional in the moment or at work. You have to know how to help and be a shoulder for others to cry on.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Jenna on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50. nurses 

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Sherilyn Wollman

Sherilyn Wollman.jpgIt never occurred to Sherilyn Wollman that she’d be a nurse.

She wasn’t one of those kids who played with stethoscopes or brandished bandages with authority. In fact, a hospital seemed like a scary place when she was growing up.

She went into the military as an IS specialist and a young mother. When her tour of duty was up, she made plans to become an elementary teacher, which was a job she had always yearned to do.

But her sister at the time encouraged her to enroll in a class to become a certified nursing assistant and asked her to just try it.

“On my first day, it was where I knew I belonged,” she recalled. “It was that whole experience of being able to make a difference in someone’s life, even if you’re just touching someone for that one day when they really need help.”

She remembers the moment she decided she wanted to continue her education and become a nurse. A patient had come in, alone and restless and in the final stages of dying. Wollman and the nurse talked with her and reassured her. “It was deeply moving to be there with her during that transition, because it was clear she knew we were there for her. It made me look differently at everything I do.”

Over the course of many years, she continued working on her skills and career, eventually obtaining her masters of nursing.

Ultimately, Wollman was able to marry her goal of teaching with her passion for nursing by becoming a clinical educator and helping other staff members with skills development and career advancement. “I’m no longer at the bedside, but I feel like I am still making a difference in a different way,” said Wollman, who has been at TMC for 13 years. “What I’m able to provide helps them provide great care at the bedside.”

Wollman’s compassion comes in part from her upbringing: she was adopted by her grandparents when she was 8. “I learned a lot about giving to others by watching them,” she said. “I think the kindness I learned from them helped foster in me a desire to help other people.”

Wollman, who said she was shocked and humbled when she was recognized as a Fab 50 nurse, invests a lot of energy in supporting new graduate nurses. Her tips for novice nurses?

  • Continue developing your skills
  • Always seek educational opportunities
  • Find a mentor to share different perspectives and broaden horizons
  • Care for yourself so you can are for others

Her final piece of advice? Treat others with respect and listen. “Everyone has something to teach.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Sherilyn on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Julie Seidl

Julie Seidl.jpgIn her 40-plus year career as a nurse in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Julie Seidl has undoubtedly had an impact on the lives of hundreds of infants and parents. But in all that time, including 20 years spent at the bedside, one set of triplets and their parents made a lasting and indelible mark on her.

“The triplets will be 21 in April and I’ve been best friends with their mom since we met in the NICU,” said Seidl.

The youngest of the triplets, all born at just over two pounds, turned out to be her very last patient at the bedside before transitioning to a new role in the hospital. “They are my legacy. It’s a privilege that I have been able to share their whole life,” she said. “They are great examples of what the future can hold for premature babies.”

For 21 years they have shared many special moments … holidays, birthdays and even vacations together. “It’s funny because as a nurse, you always care about all of your patients, but you are a professional. It was different when I met them though – we just felt like family,” said Seidl.

“I’m so grateful because sometimes as a nurse you wonder, ‘Did I make a difference in someone’s life?’”

Another piece of her career legacy is the innovative Infant After Care Program she developed, along with TMC Pediatric Outpatient Therapies, to provide ongoing follow-up care for premature babies for their first two years. “To be ready to enter the world, the promise of Mother Nature is 40 weeks in the womb,” she explained. “When you come early, you’re not ready in body or in brain development. And the brain is the piece that often gets overlooked. With the After Care Program, we can spot those little hiccups and work to rewire the brain before it’s a bigger problem.”

A baby floating in the womb is surrounded by quiet, hearing their mother’s voice and heartbeat. If that time is cut short, they are tasked with breathing, seeing and fighting gravity before they are ready, she said. Seidl’s work as an Infant Development Specialist includes educating staff and parents how to best mimic the womb by creating a calm, quiet environment without bright lights and wrapping the baby as they would be in-utero – flexed and tucked.

The TMC Infant After Care Program is free to any infant born before 36 weeks of gestation at TMC thanks to a grant from the TMC Foundation.

“This program is the best thing that I could do at the end of my career,” says Seidl. Not that she’s going anywhere any time soon. “I truly love what I do.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Julie on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Damiana Cohen

Damiana CohenDamiana Cohen, manager of the Mother Baby and Women’s Care Units at Tucson Medical Center took an interest in birth when she was 12 and happened upon a book about midwifery.

The road to nursing didn’t come right after high school though; she took a non-traditional path and along the way collected a number of experiences, from three years of college, to travel in South America, to driving a school bus and waiting tables.

But she never lost that fascination with the stories of birth, and she went to school to become a licensed midwife, ultimately spending more than 12 years with families who wanted to have birth experiences at home.

When it was time for a new chapter, Cohen went to nursing school – a decision she’s never regretted because of the experiences that unfolded from there, from working with marginalized populations to teenagers finding their way in the world.

Cohen spent 12 years working as a forensic nurse performing post-sexual assault exams and on that time she reflects, “That really and truly was my passion. Not always, but a lot of times, it’s the marginalized people in a society who are victimized. And in some ways, it was a bit like being a midwife, because you’re there with somebody, one-on-one, helping them through this very intense situation. It’s smart, autonomous nursing, it’s scientific, it’s about human rights and a person’s dignity – and I would go home and feel like I really impacted someone’s life.”

Cohen spent three years working as a school nurse with pregnant and parenting teenagers. “Hardly any of them had a parent figure in their lives, so I could be that presence to tell them what so few had a chance to hear: That they mattered and I cared. I wanted them to be empowered to be parents while still having their lives and finishing their education.” She still connects from time to time with some of those students; many of whom were inspired to become nurses.

“I think I’ve enjoyed my nursing career because I’ve done so many different things,” Cohen said. “Life has offered me opportunities that I haven’t foreseen. And I’ve always believed that when something comes your way, it’s good to reflect on what the universe is offering you and take a moment to listen.”

Just as she’s had many careers, she has many facets outside of work – a mom to her sons, now 25 and 29, a runner, a hiker, an organic gardener, a film fanatic, a reader, a cat lover, a supporter of women and equality, a birdwatcher and nature lover, a lifelong learner, a traveler, a thinker, a seeker, and a sister and a friend.

And through all that, her underlying motto is, “Be a good human.”

“I find that when I do that, everything else seems to fall into place.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Damiana on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Veronica Riesgo

Veronica RiesgoFor TMC Nurse Manager Veronica Riesgo, her dedication to patients and her coworkers goes beyond the profession and is part of her passion to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Riesgo’s first priority and first career was her family. “I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years,” she said.  “But I always had a desire to help others and I always thought about pursuing work in nursing.”

When her children reached ages in double-digits, Riesgo volunteered at a local hospital to see if the desire was still there. “The passion was stronger than ever,” she said. “Soon I was enrolled in nursing school and working full-time as a patient care technician (PCT).”

As a full-time PCT, a full-time student and a full-time mom, there wasn’t much room on Riesgo’s plate. “I wouldn’t change anything – it was so beneficial and rewarding.”

After graduating and becoming an RN, Riesgo never slowed down – working in cardo-thoracic, transplant, ICU and other high-acuity units. “It is challenging, but when you have that opportunity to help someone on what might be their worst day – it is very meaningful,” explained Riesgo.

With remarkable stress and a dizzying pace, high-acuity units have a reputation for burn-out. For Riesgo, a unique outlook has helped her thrive in the demanding environment and kept her coming back, day-after-day.

“It’s a dedication to people, not just the profession,” she said. “A dedication to the patients and the incredible nurses I work with. We know that no matter what happens or how hard the day is, we’re going to make it happen, together.”

This incredible attitude, combined with her knowledge of critical care and strong organizational skills paved the way to management positions where she has achieved notable successes, such as helping reduce the patient injury rate by 45 percent in just one year.

Now managing a 36-bed, combined critical care unit with more than 100 staff reporting to her, Riesgo was named one of the 2018 Fabulous 50 nurses. “I’m so honored,” she said. “I’m grateful for my experiences and the nurses I work with every day.”

Advice from a Fab 50 nurse? “When you put others first, it changes your perspective and you recognize that you are involved in something bigger than yourself.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Veronica on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Charles Bascom

Charles BascomA physician yells “stat,” labs and med orders fly, nurses and techs scurry at a fevered pace. For staff, the Emergency Department can be an extraordinarily stressful environment, but that’s not what first comes to the mind of ED Lead Nurse Charles ‘Will’ Bascom.

“Our responsibility is to give 150 percent and treat each patient like they are family,” said Bascom. The longtime ED nurse began his career as an EMT/firefighter and moved into nursing after experiencing a serious injury. He completed his training in the ED and garnered experiences in psychiatric, float and critical care venues.

“At first, I worked in several nursing care settings – but I always ended up coming back to the ED.” So, what is it that kept Bascom returning to one of healthcare’s most challenging environments?

“Being there for patients and their families during one of their toughest times,” Bascom said confidently. “For any nurse, in any setting, it’s challenging and you never know what situation is going to walk through that door, but at the end of the day it is so rewarding to know you made a difference in a patient’s life.”

For Bascom, providing exceptional care with compassion goes hand-in-hand. “If you make the effort to show that you really care, patients will pick-up on your sincere intent,” he said. “They will feel more comfortable sharing important things about their health that will help you provide even better care.”

Respected for observing best practices, Bascom is also known for adhering to strict safety standards. “You have to keep your head in the game, be mindful, and ask questions to ensure the best for patients and ED coworkers.”

Yet, some still ask how Bascom consistently provides such outstanding care, shift-after-shift and year-after-year. “It’s about your motivation,” he said. “It has to be more than a title or a paycheck. If you’re in this because you have a passion for helping people – the reward is ten-fold.”

In addition to his busy schedule, Bascom is attending graduate school to become a family nurse practitioner. “This next step is very important to me because I will be able to do even more for the community and patient population.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Will on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Mission Moment: Nurse helped organize drive to help family in darkest time

Jenna CarboneIt was hard for Jenna Carbone to imagine that a family would have to weather so many blows at a single time.

A young mother was making the wrenching decision to stop intervention for her husband, who had suffered cardiac arrest.

Their baby had come just two weeks before – she had been so pregnant that her elementary-school-aged son had to perform CPR when his dad collapsed, guided by a 911 dispatcher. The family had recently moved from California, so there were no friends or family to turn to for support. And money would be tight: the husband had been the traditional breadwinner while his wife took care of the kids.

A TMC Intensive Care Unit nurse, Carbone held the newborn for an entire shift to allow the mom and son some time to say goodbye. The Mom-Baby Unit supplied formula and diapers, and Child Life specialists helped the boy work through his grief and the long hours at the hospital.

While the staff was helping with the baby, they got to thinking about the upcoming school year. “Mom was making funeral plans and trying to adjust to a brand new baby in a brand new city. It just didn’t seem right she was having to do all of this by herself – who could put it all together on a good day? We couldn’t imagine she’d have the time or ability to go shop for school supplies,” Carbone explained.

And the boy was such an inspiration, she said. “You could tell he had faith. He would try to comfort others to tell them he would see his dad in Heaven someday and that it was better than having him suffer,” she recalled. Even as young as he was, he was trying to help hold the family together.

The power of teamwork was immediately clear to Carbone, who has been a nurse for six years.

Case Management called the school to get the list of items the boy would need. Within hours, staff from the Lab and Finance and clinical areas started bringing supplies – everything from a tablet for the boy, to diapers, baby bouncers and professional clothes for the mom for future job interviews.

Carbone filled up her hatchback and even though she couldn’t see out of the rear view mirror, set off to deliver the supplies to the family’s rural home.

Carbone said it was her honor to help – and thanked her colleagues across the hospital for their contributions. “We see some fragile situations sometimes and it’s really nice when you know there are things we can do to help and to try to bring comfort when people are going through difficult times. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve them and to help another person in need.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we doHundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

TMC for Seniors director honored with Remarkable Mom recognition

IMG_0021Maya Luria’s heart shred watching her 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey, struggle in her battle with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

One painful memory was watching her daughter see herself for the first time during chemotherapy treatment without the long blonde locks that were such a hallmark for the high school senior.

But that was before she watched the surprisingly transformative power of a professional photo shoot, when she watched Kelsey ditch her wig and then light up, laugh and pose. It was an unplanned event – just a kind gesture from an acquaintance. But Kelsey had realized – hair or no – those resulting images reflected her own strength, confidence and determination.

She wanted other children and families to feel that same sense of empowerment in the face of what can be an unrelenting disease. In the hospital, Kelsey said she wanted the service to be called the Bald Beauties Project and it would offer free professional photographs to children and teens fighting cancer.

Drawn to journalism, writing and sports, the Catalina Foothills High student had planned to beat the disease and attend the University of Arizona. She passed away a few days after her 18th birthday.

Luria has kept Kelsey’s spirit alive by leading the Bald Beauties Project her daughter envisioned – an accomplishment that is being recognized at the annual Remarkable Celebration by Tu Nidito that this year is honoring five local mothers.

“Kelsey once wrote that she would change the world and this is our way of honoring that,” Luria said. “This was her vision and something I want to continue to offer to others as a way to help families who are going through unthinkable strain.”

Luria, also mom to 17-year-old Max – the light of her life and now a high school senior – has treasured those photos of her daughter.

Since its inception, the Bald Beauties Project has provided more than 85 photo shoots for children throughout the community – and the demand continues to grow. There have already been 15 photo shoots this year, with another 10 in process.

“I feel every mom is a remarkable mom, so I was really honored to be considered for this recognition,” Luria said, and especially since Kelsey gave her back so much. “Kelsey lived her life with strength and courage and love – and that’s something I hold with me every day.”

To read more about Bald Beauties, please visit the Bald Beauties Project website.  

To learn more about the Remarkable Moms being honored May 12, please visit Tu Nidito’s website 

Pediatric Emergency now within TMC for Children

The Tucson Medical Center Pediatric Emergency Department has relocated within TMC for Children.

Patients and loved ones will gain entry to the Pediatric ED by going through the main TMC for Children entrance on the hospital’s south side.

The layout and design of the 14-bed Pediatric ED is structured in a horseshoe shape to enable staff to monitor patients more easily, spend more time with patients and promote better teamwork.

In addition, the new location is in close proximity to other TMC for Children services, which allows TMC to better integrate comprehensive children’s services.

“With all services in the same area, it will allow for more timely collaboration with pediatric specialists and better coordination of care for our youngest community members,” said Dr. Moira Richards, the medical director of TMC for Children.

The Pediatric ED also offers online appointment scheduling. Visit our home page to find out more.

TMC director, Beth Dorsey, honored as a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Beth Dorsey, Dietitian, President Elect of Academy of Nutrition and DietitiansBeth Dorsey couldn’t believe it when a recent Saturday Night Live skit used a relatively rare word that just happens to also be one of her favorites: dietitian.

In the skit, the protagonist’s sandwich fell on the ground, much to his consternation. He went on to complain that he has GI issues and that meal had been specifically planned for him by a dietitian.

“He said he was working with a dietitian! I couldn’t believe it – it was like we had arrived,” joked Dorsey, the director of Food and Nutrition Services at Tucson Medical Center, who was recently recognized as a Fellow by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The designation recognizes Dorsey’s commitment to the field of dietetics and celebrates her professional accomplishments and pursuit of life-long learning.

We caught up with Dorsey for a few questions:

  • What is the reaction from people when you explain what you do?

I get one of two reactions: They ask what they should eat, or they share a confessional that they need to eat better.

  • So what do you tell them when they ask what they should eat?

I let them know that there isn’t a magic pill. For dietitians looking to help their clients create change, it’s all about relationship building, communications and goal setting. The fact is, it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet, and that’s why this is usually not easy. We start with what they currently eat and what their goals are. Then we go from there.

  • It has to be difficult to keep track of all the nutritional information out there. It seems we’re inundated with it.

There is incredible complexity in what we do because of the breadth of patients we see, who have everything from easy issues to address to very difficult, chronic issues to manage. On top of that, we see all ages, from beginning to end of life. And the reality is, that something innocuous like eating a banana is really not advisable for some people. If you have kidney malfunction, that may not be a food of choice for you. If you are taking an iron supplement, you have to take it with other vitamins, such as C, to increase absorption of iron in the stomach. There is a lot of nuance involved in what we do.

  • What are some of the challenges that face the field?

Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition and are incredibly skilled people. They must have a bachelor’s degree and 1,200 hours of supervised, post-graduate practice, and they also must pass a national exam and maintain credentials with 75 hours of continuing education every five years

Even with all of that, we still have a hard time being reimbursed by insurance for the work we do. Medicare only reimburses for some very specific disease states. Other insurances may cover up to four visits a year.

We’d also like to increase the diversity of our workforce. America’s first dietitian is considered to be Sarah Rorer, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1849 and educated herself in chemistry, anatomy and medicine and eventually, was consulted to prepare special meal plans for patients. The field continues to be dominated by women and we would like it to evolve to see more gender and ethnic diversity.

  • What would your recommendations be for people who want to improve their nutritional intake?

First, check your insurance to see if dietetic visits are covered. Dietitians can tailor and assess the total picture of your health using your individual lifestyle along with your lab results and any medications you might be taking to formulate a nutrition plan.

Secondly, some of the standbys still haven’t changed. If you do not have any medical issues that restrict your intake, drink plenty of fluids, eat moderate portions and enjoy lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. And keep in mind, too, that less isn’t always more. Don’t skip meals and starve yourself or you will undermine your efforts by either slowing down your metabolism or binge eating later.

Dorsey, who serves as president-elect of the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and directs a dietetic internship at Tucson Medical Center, was also named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2016 by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

TMC dedicates Garden of Life patio honoring generosity of organ donors

GardenDedicationDid you know one organ donor can save up to eight lives?

In honor of those who made the choice to share the gift-of-life, Tucson Medical Center Tuesday dedicated a new Garden of Life Memorial patio on the TMC campus.

The soothing patio area features a garden of flowers and a tree hand-painted by TMC facilities as a symbol of strength and life.

Over the last decade, 33 organ donors at TMC have saved the lives of 83 others. The first plaque to be placed on the tree honors Jared Koltnow, whose gift saved three other people after he passed in 2016. His family and friends helped place the plaque and raise the Donate Life flag at the campus entrance that flies as a beacon of hope for those awaiting transplants.

DonateLifeFlagIn addition to the 16 lives saved in 2017 alone, 21 tissue donors and 14 ocular donors at TMC helped enhance and heal hundreds more. Each tissue donor can heal up to 75 lives, and one cornea donor can restore the sight of two individuals.

“It is our hope that the memorial reflects our deep respect and gratitude for organ donors,” said Joby Jacobs, a TMC professional development specialist and a champion for organ donation. “They – and their loved ones – have brought life, hope and compassion to others, and that is truly worthy of recognition and reverence.”

The need for organ and tissue donation is still great, said Chelsea Scheeler, the donor program development coordinator for Donor Network of Arizona. “Sadly, with more than 2,400 Arizona residents on a waiting list for organ donation, thousands of people die while waiting for this life-saving gift,” she said.

There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for organ and tissue donation. For more information, please visit https://www.donatelifeaz.org/

Social worker named Heart of Hospice for her work on behalf of patients, families, staff

After being hoodwinked into coming to a celebration she thought was for a colleague, Marybeth Racioppi was speechless when her name was announced last week as the Heart of Hospice for the first quarter. But she shouldn’t have been surprised that the recognition was for her.

“Marybeth is a true asset to our organization,” wrote one colleague in nominating the social worker. “She consistently partners with the nurses to take a team approach to patient care.”

A 14-year TMC Hospice veteran, Racioppi “works diligently to ensure that the patient’s and family’s spiritual, psychosocial and medical needs are all addressed,” the colleague said.

When asked about the secret to her success as a social worker, Racioppi said it boils down to assessing the needs not only for the patient, but for the entire family.

“I take a systemic view of families,” she said. “Everyone in the room has meaning, biases, beliefs and feelings. My challenge is to learn the dynamics and make them each feel supported.”

“Marybeth is so diligent in finding out pertinent information regarding patients and their families to be able to provide the best care for them all, making each one feel cared for in a special way at a difficult time,” wrote another nominator. “Using her wry, sometimes irreverent sense of humor, she gets to the heart of the matter and starts problem-solving.”

And it’s not only patients and families who get her support.

“She also serves as a rock solid support for all of us staffers here at Peppi’s House,” another colleague wrote. “She lets us unload and decompress, offering guidance if needed or requested. And her advice is always ‘spot on.’ ”

“Best of all,” this person wrote, “she teaches us to problem solve with her so that we grow as individuals and as an organization.”

As Heart of Hospice for the quarter, Racioppi’s name and photo goes onto a recognition plaque on the unit, she received a pin and gets a dedicated parking space until next quarter. The award allows colleagues to recognize their peers:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

Want to be part of a team that makes a difference?

Click to learn about volunteering for TMC Hospice Home Care.

March 17 Be Safe Saturday goes green; last chance to catch Choo-Choo Soul gives final appearance

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the 14th Be Safe Saturday goes shamrock green, March 17, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., on the TMC campus, parking lot #11.

This free safety fair, which draws more than 13,000 people, helps parents and guardians create the safest environment for their children. Families get free bike helmets and booster seats, and can visit roughly 100 interactive booths that provide education and resources to help improve safety. Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will offer car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon to make sure they are properly installed.

With the event falling on St. Patrick’s Day, everywhere you look you’ll see shamrocks and lots of happy, smiling faces. If you haven’t seen Disney’s Choo Choo Soul now’s the time as 2018 marks Genevieve’s final TMC appearance. And don’t forget to stop by the Exit Booth and enter in the drawings for a bike or scooter.

“TMC continues to keep children and families safe throughout Southern Arizona. We began our promise to keep kids safe more than 30 years ago,” said Hope Thomas, director of community programs at TMC. “Whether you need a bike helmet, a booster seat, toddler car seat or swim lessons, TMC has always been here to provide education and life-saving products. As Tucson’s community hospital we fulfill our mission daily by providing exceptional health care with compassion.”

Flu season procedures in effect to protect patients, visitors, staff

when to come to the ed with flu and when to stay awayWith Arizona currently experiencing a nearly 800 percent increase in flu cases over last year, Tucson Medical Center has implemented new visitation procedures to reduce the spread of the flu and better protect patients, families and staff.

  • Children can be highly susceptible to flu and those under the age of 13 may not enter patient care areas, although nursing staff will consider extenuating circumstances. Parents are asked to provide supervision while children are in other areas of the hospital, including public waiting lobbies and the cafeteria or coffee shops.
  • Please do not visit patients if you have flu symptoms yourself, including fever, cough, vomiting or other ailments indicating a contagious illness.

Please remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Also, please keep your hands away from your face to reduce your risk of contracting the flu.

Support from family and friends is important in recovery. We thank you for your help in keeping your loved ones as healthy as possible during this severe flu season.

TMC receives recognition as top 100 hospitals, health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs

Neurosurgery-spine-programs-2017

Tucson Medical Center was pleased to be named to Becker’s Healthcare’s 2017 list of “100 hospitals and health systems with great neurosurgery and spine programs.”

The list of organizations reflects those with extensive neuroscience and spine programs and that provide treatment and cutting edge research into neurosurgical disorders. The editorial team examined national and regional rankings and awards for neurosurgery, neurological care and spine surgery.

“The hospitals on this list have earned top honors for medical excellence in their spine and brain surgery departments and we are heartened to see that our hard work in achieving excellent outcomes for our patients has been recognized,” said Chief Medical Officer Rick Anderson.

Becker’s noted that TMC is a regional leader in spine surgery, with specialists performing about 1,000 spine operations per year. National organizations have taken notice of TMC’s neurological surgery program; CareChex ranked the hospital among the top 25 institutions in the country for neurological surgery in 2018. Stroke care is another focus for TMC’s neuroscience department, which boasts Tucson’s only comprehensive stroke center with 24/7 coverage.

Stroke prevention 2018

TMC also has earned comprehensive stroke certification from the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program and received the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. TMC also has a robust brain tumor program, and the Center for Neurosciences worked with the hospital to develop the Brain Tumor Hotline for newly diagnosed patients.

To view the full list, please visit:

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/lists/100-hospitals-health-systems-with-great-neurosurgery-and-spine-programs-2017.html

 

 

 

 

 

TMC welcomes Tucson’s first two babies of the New Year

Two families at Tucson Medical Center had a lot to celebrate when the clock struck midnight and the calendar turned to 2018.

Baby Nic Tribolet arrived at midnight on the dot, and Baby Aminah Albaka came into the world two minutes later.

Both babies came early, earning a place as Tucson’s newest residents.

“He’s a delight. He’s beautiful and he defies description,” said Nic’s dad, Dominic, of his 7 pound, 15 ounce bundle of perfection. “He’s definitely our New Year’s present.”

Aminah, meanwhile, a petite 5 pound, 10 ounce miracle, was described as a “peaceful baby” by mom Christina Bowe. After a long labor, Bowe said, “All my worries left when I saw her. She’s just a little blessing.”

For more coverage of the babies, check out the links to reports by the Arizona Daily Star and KVOA.

We offer free tours of our maternity departments. Find out more about our services here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Moment: Traffic accident allows TMC Security to shine

IMG_8780

TMC Security Officer Raymond Dugdale

On a recent weekday morning, an elderly gentleman lost control of his vehicle and struck one of the signs at the entrance to the hospital.

TMC Security made sure the man and his wife were not injured, ensured the electricity was turned off to the sign, and directed traffic around any blockages.

Officers Raymond Dugdale and Richard Jaeger didn’t stop there.

They waited with the man and his wife about two hours until the tow truck arrived for the badly damaged vehicle.

They made sure they had water.

They helped the couple cancel some later medical appointments that day, since they would be dealing with the fallout from the accident.

The man called to thank their boss for the kindness they demonstrated.

IMG_8781Dugdale, who came to TMC three years ago after being drawn by its mission and the quality of its Security Department, said people might be surprised at the ways they are called upon to assist patients, families and visitors. On any given day, help might include assisting with failing batteries and flat tires, to finding lost belongings or even helping frazzled family members find their vehicles after parking in a rush to go to the side of a loved one.

“I like to be able to help people,” Dugdale said. “I just put myself in their shoes and in this case, it was clear the gentleman was receptive to help and appreciated it, so we responded in kind.”

Jaeger, who came to TMC nine months ago, added, “I would do the same for anybody.”

He learned kindness, ironically, from working in the prison industry. “Just because someone is incarcerated, you still treat them as people and so you help them when they need it. It’s the same thing here. I try to treat people like family, because they could be going through a lot here at the hospital.”

“What I like about TMC Security is that it’s a lot more than that. It’s overall just helping people, no matter what the issue is – like a complete care package.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with yo

Mission Moment: Life-saving care inspires first donation to Mix Miracles Radiothon

Phil WagmanAlthough Phil Wagman says he can never repay Tucson Medical Center for saving his granddaughter’s life, he certainly tries – making the first donation to the MIX Miracles Radiothon every year.

At just six-weeks-old, Wagman’s granddaughter, Kaylee, became extremely ill. “Little Kaylee had a terrible fever and other serious symptoms – we knew it wasn’t just a cold,” he explained.

Comprehensive tests at TMC revealed Wagman’s instincts were correct. Kaylee had a splenic infarction – a serious condition in which the oxygen supply to the spleen is cut-off and threatens the vital organ. “She could have died,” said Wagman. “Their equipment and expertise saved her.”

For the past six years, 94.9 MIXfm has broadcast the MIX Miracles Radiothon from Tucson Medical Center. The two-day, radio fundraiser benefits Tucson’s Children’s Miracle Network hospital – TMC for Children.

In 2011, the first Mix Miracles Radiothon got off to an early start at 5:30 a.m. The Radio DJs were surprised to find Wagman already waiting.

“I wanted to be the first donor – it was time to give back and keep giving back,” said Wagman, who has been the first donor of every Mix Miracles Radiothon.

Wagman takes his participation a step further than dollars, answering the phones and speaking on the radio. “I want to share our experience every year – so that everyone can feel confident their donation is going toward the medical equipment and programs that save children’s lives.”

How is Kaylee now? “She is a healthy young lady who will graduate high school in 2018,” Wagman said.

“She is wonderful and her family can’t imagine life without her.”

Wagman shared another aspect of Kaylee’s care that motivated his philanthropy. “At the time of Kaylee’s illness, her mother didn’t have insurance and that really added to her worry.”

Although, there was never a worry for Wagman. “A strong push for my loyalty and love of TMC is that care is the first and foremost priority. I also knew that TMC has a program to help families in financial need.”

The TMC Community Care program is designed to provide assistance for patients experiencing financial challenges. It’s another way TMC supports the community and provides exceptional care with compassion.

Wagman is a native Tucsonan, who grew up less than a mile from TMC – where he has worked for more than 25 years.

“As long as they have a Radiothon, TMC can count on me to be the first donor.”

Every dollar raised from the Mix Miracles Radiothon stays at TMC, helping purchase life-saving equipment, promoting health and safety education and expanding pediatric programs.

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share?

Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

 

Mission Moment: Transporter warms hearts with simple gesture

Transporter Christina Ruebush living the mission by going beyond.
When a simple get-well card brought joy to a discouraged patient, a TMC employee decided to provide a thoughtful card to every patient she serves.

TMC patient transporter Christina Ruebush joined the ranks six months ago, after having an exceptional health care experience at TMC. “The staff were so polite and thoughtful that I knew this would be a great place to work.”

Ruebush’s fast-paced position takes her back-and-forth across TMC’s 100-acre campus, but she doesn’t mind. “I really enjoy the patient interaction,” she said. “Anytime I can be supportive or help in any way, I do.”

Not long ago, a patient motivated Ruebush to start doing something new. “I had transported an elderly man several times – each time he was very unhappy, grumpy and even mean.”

Ruebush thought about what might help. “So I went out and bought him a get-well card.”

When Ruebush was called to transport him again, she handed the card to the patient. Although Ruebush didn’t expect anything in return, she received a new understanding that would change her forever.

“The patient’s demeanor was completely different – he kindly thanked me over and over, and explained that he was alone, with no friends or family – he really just wanted someone to talk with.”

After enjoying a conversation with the patient, Ruebush stopped by the dollar store on the way home. “I decided that I was going to give every patient I transported a get-well card.”

For months, Ruebush has been providing every patient she transports with a card offering kind and sincere wishes. “It’s well worth the heartfelt thank yous and smiles I get,” she said.

This week, Ruebush is doing even more – she is providing each patient staying at TMC on Christmas Day with a get-well card.

“At TMC, we thrive on patient experience,” said Ruebush. “No matter what they are experiencing, patients appreciate knowing that TMC cares.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do.

Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com

Mission Moments: Cultivating kindness at a crosswalk

Audrey Fimbres has started building extra time into her walk across Grant Road as she heads to Tucson Medical Center’s surgical tower from her office across the street.

A nurse and the manager of Pre-Anesthesia Testing located across from the main hospital, Fimbres typically comes upon others in need at least three times a week, and particularly as they head to the Emergency Department.

Recently, she came upon a man on crutches, carrying two large bags of belongings and clearly in pain, trying to make it from Grant to the Emergency Department. She had him rest where he was while she got a wheelchair to get him more comfortably to his destination.

The day before, she met a woman whose car was stalled in the intersection. Fimbres helped her call for assistance, and in the interim, called an officer from TMC Security, who was able to jump her car, revive her battery and get her back on the road.

“I want to help people and be kind to people – because sometimes people aren’t kind,” Fimbres said, adding that commuters were honking and yelling at the woman whose car had stalled. “She was crying and she clearly needed someone to be kind to her that day. You can’t just walk past people who are in distress or who need help.”

Fimbres started cultivating kindness as a way of getting through those awkward years in middle school when kids can be mean – and it’s something she’s practiced the rest of her life. It’s why she got into nursing 16 years ago and why she has been at TMC for the past 11.

“I became a nurse to take care of people and my favorite part of working here is all the ways we get to engage with our community,” she said. “I just think it’s important to think about what kind of day other people might be having and what they’re going through.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing a series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Health insurance a passion for outreach specialist

Sylvia Brown lives insurance.

As an assister who helps community members sign up for insurance on the marketplace or through government channels, Brown knows when open enrollment comes around in the fall, she will be fielding lots of insurance inquiries.

“Off hours, after hours, weekends – you have to help when you get the call, so if it’s 7 or 8 p.m., that just means I’m hopping on the laptop to walk someone through it,” said Brown, who has been helping community members with marketplace enrollment since its inception in 2014.

After open enrollment began this fall, Brown received a phone call from a woman who was worried about the high cost of insurance premiums through her employer.

Brown walked her through why it was going to be more cost effective to stay with the employer’s health plan – but insurance can be complex, and she knew the woman would benefit from coming in after work to go through it in person. While she was at it, she helped the woman understand other benefit fundamentals, such as the difference between a health savings account and a flexible spending account – and how those could help her meet her health care goals.

“Even though I knew it wasn’t going to change the outcome and it was going to be a late evening, I wanted to take the time to sit with her and go through numbers with her so that she had peace of mind that she was making the right choices for herself and her family,” Brown said.

She makes her personal phone number easily accessible on social media – and has become a bit of the go-to guru on insurance for her family and friends as well.

Brown is so committed because she knows all too well the difference that insurance can make for a family.

“As a young single mother of small children, having to provide coverage by myself for my kids, there was one time my daughter jumped off the bed and cracked her head on the dresser,” Brown recalled. “I was so thankful I had budgeted to have insurance – so I know firsthand how important health coverage is and I also know there are so many consumers out there are in need of information.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Mission Moments: Missing tennis shoes meet a bulldog of a nurse

After an elderly patient left Tucson Medical Center following a stroke, her sister called in a panic.
The patient had compromised movement with partial paralysis of the left side that required special shoes to help with her mobility. They would be important in physical therapy sessions to help rebuild her strength.

And they were missing.

Will Bascom was the charge nurse that evening in the Emergency Department when the frantic call came in. He promised to track them down.

They weren’t in the Emergency Department and they weren’t in the room she recovered in. It took a bit of sleuthing, but ultimately it turned out they already had been brought back to the patient’s care home and were waiting for pickup.

The patient’s sister called later to say how appreciative she was. “Amidst his busy scheduled, he hunted them down. I can’t say enough about how he treated me when we were going through such a hard time.”

For Bascom, of course, he was going to help.

“More often than not, we see people in some of the worst times of their lives. It’s as simple as that. So if I get a request like this – to help someone out at a time when they’re going through this life-changing event and even a small thing means the world in that moment – I’m like a bulldog,” he said.

Bascom said people typically get into health care because they have compassion and empathy for others. “I treat everyone like my own family. I don’t care why you’re here and where you’re from. I’m not a judge. My job here is to take care of you. I think many people just lead such busy lives that it’s hard to have time for anyone else. I’ve always done what I could to help others.”

Tucson Medical Center earlier this year adopted a new mission statement. To celebrate, we are sharing an ongoing series of “mission moments.”

What are mission moments? They aren’t necessarily dramatic stories of heroism, although our medical staff saves lives every day. These are moments that breathe life into words – moments that are profound or powerful or touching and that remind us why we do the work we do. Hundreds of these reminders happen every day. Thank you for letting us share some with you.

Do you have a TMC mission moment you’d like to share? Send it to Communications@tmcaz.com.

Because medicine is not static: Meet Lacie – authentic obstetric simulator

obstetric simulator obgynTMC for Women is the lead provider for childbirth in Southern Arizona. Whether a mother is seeking a natural birth with no interventions or a high risk pregnancy that requires interventions and everything in between, the staff at TMC is constantly updating their knowledge to be prepared. Thanks to the support of the TMC Mega Raffle, a lifelike training simulator is giving techs, nurses and physicians realistic preparation to best address birthing complications and challenges.

During childbirth, serious health risks can arise suddenly and clinical staff must act quickly to protect mom and baby. “The better the training – the better the patient outcomes,” said Stacie Wood, clinical nurse educator at TMC for Women. “Our simulator is a bridge between classroom learning and real-life clinical experience.”

Just what is an advanced obstetric simulator and how real is it?

“The simulator is a wireless, robotic mannequin that can talk, breathe, blink, and respond,” said Wood.

The authentic simulator, which the TMC for Women staff named Lacie, is intended to be as human as possible – even her skin texture is strikingly realistic.

Yet, there is more to this mannequin than a realistic appearance. Lacie can give birth, react to medications, simulate bleeding and record metrics, such as the force of CPR compressions.

“We are able to train for all obstetrical scenarios and emergency care,” Wood explained. “Lacie offers unrivaled realism and versatility for clinicians to practice high-risk scenarios.”

TMC has taken full advantage of the unique training opportunities that Lacie offers. Lacie is housed in her own simulation suite, built to resemble TMC’s patient rooms. There is an adjacent control room with a one-way mirror, through which specially trained nurses operate Lacie using a laptop computer.

The control room also serves as a debrief room. Debriefing is the most important part of the training exercises. Participants are asked to reflect on their actions and discuss key learning points, which can then be applied to real-life situations.

Why is training with Lacie better than a standard training?

“Lacie is interactive and that makes the clinical participants more than observers,” said Wood. “The clinical staff engage the emotional and sensory components of learning that are beneficial for critical thinking, decision-making and delegation.”

TMC is the only hospital in Southern Arizona with the advanced simulator and one of very few hospitals to have the in-depth training available on campus. “Going forward, we will provide quarterly simulations using Lacie, because enhancing staff education and proficiency means enhancing patient care and safety.” Wood said.

 

 

TMC receives Dietetic internship accreditation

dietetic internship tucsonTucson Medical Center has been granted accreditation for a Dietetic Internship Program by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). TMC will accept four interns per year to complete the 1,200 hours of supervised practice in order to be eligible to take the exam necessary to become a Registered Dietitian.

“For this first year what we really wanted to do is give back to TMC, so we did an internal candidate selection. We wanted either an employee or a volunteer,” says Beth Dorsey, director of food and nutrition services. The interns starting Jan. 2 are Zoe Schroeder and Lance Kokot, both Food and Nutrition Services Associates. TMC will participate in the national match program for the next round of interns.

“You have to complete an accredited supervised practice internship in order to sit for the examination to become a registered dietitian. There aren’t enough internships in the United States and of those internships, there is only a 60 percent match rate,” said Dorsey.

To be eligible for the nine-month TMC internship program, candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition with a Dietetics emphasis from an accredited institution.

“While precepting interns is a time commitment, it encourages us to stay up to date on the most current research and nutritional practice. All of our clinical dietitians are qualified to precept dietetic interns because they are credentialed through CDR and maintain a current registration,” said Dorsey. “We have precepted interns in the clinical portion at TMC for years for other organizations; we’ve just never had our own baby, we’re really excited.”

The full dietetic internship program includes community, clinical, research and food service. To build the program prior to applying for accreditation, Dorsey and Patient Food Services Manager, Ruth Halter, reached out to consultant Apameh Bashar, “Her expertise was essential to the creation of this program and we are so grateful for her,” said Halter. After guiding them through the development and application process, Bashar joined the TMCOne staff as a certified diabetes educator.

Dorsey says, “Ultimately, it’s good for the Tucson community. The reason that we did this is because the University of Arizona has so many graduates in nutrition, approximately 150 a year, and there are very few spots in Tucson to get an internship … maybe ten spots for all of the graduates. And if they don’t get an internship in Tucson that means that we lose them and we want to keep them in the community of Southern Arizona.”

TMC resale boutique holds big sale to celebrate five years of helping patients

resale, tucson, thrift, sale,What’s better than a great sale on quality clothing and household items?

A great sale, combined with the knowledge that all proceeds go to help patients and families in need.

The Teal Saguaro, Tucson Medical Center’s resale boutique across from the hospital, is holding a fifth anniversary sale on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., with a whopping 50 percent off most items!

When TMC opened the Teal Saguaro, it was envisioned as another way to raise revenues to serve the community, with all proceeds directly support TMC and its services.

The retail space also serves as a family resource center, where families can pick up free booster seats and bicycle helmets for children. And because families can’t plan for emergencies, the shop accepts vouchers from the hospital so that families who dropped everything to come to a loved ones’ side, can pick out clothing or other necessities to help during their stay, which can sometimes be days, depending on a patient’s condition.

“The Teal Saguaro vouchers bring a lot of comfort – providing a fresh pair of clothes for child patients and parents who have had an unexpected hospital stay,” explained Jamie Antrim, a child life assistant at TMC for Children.

Director of Community Programs Hope Thomas, who opened the shop five years ago, applauded it as a great example of a volunteer-run business. “I think it’s been such a success because it really combines creativity, a clean shopping environment and a fabulous group of dedicated volunteers working to support those in need,” she said. “We are thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with our community.”

 

 

 

TMC wraps up summer challenge asking employees for their best ideas

Tucson Medical Center five years ago embraced the Lean management process, which works to eliminate waste and tap the knowledge of employees to make steady improvement every day.

The Summer of Ideas challenged employees to channel their creativity and share their suggestions across the hospital.

More than 250 ideas were submitted since the July kickoff. Awards were given for the team and the individual with the most ideas, as well as the best “out of the park” idea.

Some of the ideas included a TMC-specific rideshare program, new software for clinicians and an app to help patients and visitors navigate the campus.

LeanAmyThree of the four finalists – and the winner of the category – for the most ambitious idea generators work in Unit 750, an adult medical unit. Unit clerk Amy Hill, who came to TMC six years ago, won a reserved parking space for a month.

“What I really appreciate about TMC is that there is an acknowledgment that those who are closest to the work often have the best solutions to improve a process,” Hill said. “I appreciate that whether it’s finding root causes of a problem or finding the where efficiencies are, we can all have some ownership of making things better.”

Janet Heckman, the manager of Unit 750, applauded the efforts of her staff. “Taking ideas from the front line staff who actually do the work is very important as I may not realize there is an issue,” Heckman said. “I also believe being heard is a huge employee satisfaction point as they feel empowered and heard.”

Ideas were logged on a Lean tool known as an “idea board.” There are 120 idea boards throughout TMC as well as at TMCOne locations and TMC Hospice.

It’s different from a suggestion box in that ideas – as well as any outcomes or solutions – are visible to the entire team, who can contribute to the idea as it matures, said Pat Ledin, the manager of Lean and quality efforts at TMC. “We hoped the Summer of Ideas would serve as a fun catalyst to continue driving engagement and we were really pleased with the participation across so many of our departments, from environmental services to information technology to clinical staff.”

lean ideas

Medical librarian Marni Dittmar, who picked up an extra day off as an award for her most “out of the park” idea, is an example of how the process worked. She not only came up with her idea for new clinical software, but then researched it to determine the benefits and feasibility.

Click here to see a short video about how idea boards are igniting creativity and empowering staff at TMC.

TMC receives prestigious national procurement recognition

procurement team

Tucson Medical Center was one of only 242 hospitals and health systems nationwide that were recognized for significant supply chain savings through efficiencies in procurement.

“As a community hospital, Tucson Medical Center knows the importance of efficiency in managing health care costs, even while never compromising on the ability to deliver high quality care,” said Kim Moon, TMC’s supply chain director.

The recognition is particularly special, Moon said, because of the 3,000 members participating in Vizient Inc’s group purchasing organizations, only 500 are even eligible for the award by participating in Vizient’s Impact Standardization Program, which helps drive down costs through group buys.

Only hospitals that earn at least $250,000 in rebates on an annual basis are eligible for an award. TMC, which has received this recognition annually since 2010, reduced its costs by achieving nearly $400,000 in rebates in 2016.

The program works through capturing rebates and reducing variation through standardization – which helps with bulk purchasing prices, but as an added benefit, improves inventory management and provides greater consistency across the hospital.

“This is not an easy bar to meet, which is why we’re so proud to receive this award,” Moon said. “Through thoughtful sourcing and standardization, we’re able to drive quality patient care, while getting the best value at the same time.”

The effort dovetails with TMC’s other work around building efficiencies throughout the hospital. The hospital introduced Lean management practices in 2013 to help root out waste and streamline processes. And TMC participates in two accountable care organizations that reward value – not volume – in health care.

“As a community hospital, TMC is responsible for the health of the people who live in this community, but we must also maintain the financial viability of our organization and keep healthcare costs under control,” said Steve Bush, TMC’s chief financial officer. “Leveraging our purchasing power is just one of the strategies we are using to do that.”

vizient award

 

Tucson Medical Center certified as a great workplace

Tucson Medical Center was certified as a great workplace in early September by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®.

Tucson Medical Center earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/tucson-medical-center.

Overall, 80 percent of surveyed employees characterized their workplace as “great,” with 92 percent saying they feel good about the ways they contribute to the economy and 91 percent crediting TMC with a great atmosphere.

“We work hard every day to build a culture in which our employees are valued and supported in doing the best work they can every day for our patients,” said Alex Horvath, vice president and chief human resources officer. “We like to say we’re a family here. And to get to that place, you have to build relationships with each other and with the community you serve.”

Nearly 90 percent of employees said they were proud to work at TMC, which has 600 beds and has been providing quality health care to the community for more than 70 years. In addition to strong connections to the community, TMC is an award-winning hospital with an advanced information technology footprint, innovative programs to support new nurses, and a management philosophy that taps the expertise of all employees to drive improvements.

“We applaud Tucson Medical Center for seeking certification and releasing its employees’ feedback,” said Kim Peters, Executive Vice President of Great Place to Work’s Certification Program. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with Tucson Medical Center should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

Tucson Medical Center employees completed 701 surveys, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.77.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list.

Courageous TMC nurse takes on suicide stigma

Jason CuttingSeptember 10 – 16 is National Suicide Prevention Week – reduce the stigma, start a conversation and #StopSuicide.

Jason Cutting wanted to be in the middle of it all. He loved the arts and entertaining. RENT was his favorite musical, and he knew every word to every song. He put his heart into everything he did, whether crushing a performance in My Fair Lady or advocating for equal rights, regardless of sexual orientation.

Through it all, he struggled long and hard with mental illness. Even though Jason was lost to the disease when he died by suicide, he will always be a brave big brother to his sister, Sarah. She decided not to allow stigma to steal the focus from Jason’s beautiful memory.

Sarah, an Emergency Department nurse, is leading the effort to eradicate the stigma that surrounds suicide as the TMC champion for Tucson’s  Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide StigmaHard to say, hard to hear

The heart-wrenching loss of suicide – and the stigma around it – make conversations about it difficult.

“I didn’t even know how I was going to talk about it, because I was afraid people would judge, or react with shock or pity,” she said.

Sarah, though, was determined to make a difference and put aside her fears, directly challenging stigma. The open dialogue had an unexpected and positive result. “I found healing in talking about my brother, and I was surprised how many people approached me who have also lost someone to suicide.”

Better understanding, better prevention

Sarah also explained that more discussion brought about a better understanding of suicide.

Sarah Cutting“When survivors share their experiences, people will hear that suicide is not a selfish act,” she said. “Rather, people hear just how intensely someone was suffering, how they truly felt hopeless and believed they were a burden to all around them.”

Sarah believes that better understanding will lead to action. “With this knowledge, people will be motivated to learn the warning signs and feel more comfortable talking to someone they think may be having suicidal thoughts.”

 

 

You can have an impact

Out of the DarknessThe Tucson Out of the Darkness Community Walk is open to all, and free to attend. “This is a way to honor the memories of those we have lost to suicide, and the best way to start discussions and spread awareness,” said Sarah. “Join us!”

 

Walk Date: 10/14/2017                                                                 

Walk Location: Reid Park 

Check-in/Registration Time:  8:00 am

Walk Begins: 10:00 am

Walk Ends: 11:00 am

Donations can be made via Sarah’s donor page. Please note that all proceeds go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Resources:

Suicide warning signs and risk factors

Pima County assistance resources

AZ Department of Veterans Services resources

National suicide hotline

The Trevor Project

Pima County Crisis Response Center: (520) 622-6000 or 1-866-495-6738

 

“Most Wired” designation shows TMC continues leading the way in information technology

MostWired2017_smlIncreasingly, technology is helping patients become more engaged in their own wellness and more active in their care.

For the sixth year running, Tucson Medical Center has secured a place among America’s “Most Wired” hospitals. The distinction recognizes hospitals that leverage information technology to provide stronger care for patients, to improve quality, to reduce costs and to streamline operations.

TMC was the only Tucson-area hospital to achieve recognition in HealthCare’s Most Wired® survey, released by the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Health Forum.

“We know that data-driven decisions help us to better serve our patients, our employees and our community,” said TMC’s Chief Information Officer Frank Marini. “This designation recognizes that it’s not just about having the technology in place: It’s about using it effectively as we continue to strive for clinical excellence.”

“We also know that today’s patients are increasingly comfortable in a digital environment so it’s critical to provide mobile tools to increase convenience, access and engagement.”

Survey respondents demonstrate technology usage throughout the hospital industry is creating a new dynamic in patient interactions, although there is continued room for growth.

“The Most Wired hospitals are using every available technology option to create more ways to reach their patients in order to provide access to care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “They are transforming care delivery, investing in new delivery models in order to improve quality, provide access and control costs.”

Detailed results of the survey and study can be found in the July issue of H&HN. For a full list of winners, visit www.hhnmag.com.

TMC Lactation Services receives prestigious award for breastfeeding support

Tucson Medical Center was recognized for excellence in lactation care recently by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and International Lactation Consultant Association.

Only those programs that employ lactation consultants five to seven days a week and provide yearly education to medical staff based on evidence-based guidelines are eligible for the recognition. In addition, the program must have completed a project in the previous two years that has the goal of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

The TMC Lactation Services team – the only recipient of the award in Southern Arizona – established as its project an Outpatient Breastfeeding Support Clinic to meet the lactation needs of the community, including those unable to afford services.

A $30,000 grant from the TMC Foundation helped make possible the opening of the Lactation Outpatient Clinic in September 2015. The clinic serves new mothers in Southern Arizona who need additional help with breastfeeding after release from the hospital. TMC staff members, all of whom are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, staff the clinic, providing one-on-one assistance for breastfeeding needs and challenges.

In 2016, 406 women and infants were assisted to establish and maintain breastfeeding.  These women exceeded national breastfeeding goals established by Healthy People 2020. Outpatient clinic clients accomplished an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 70 percent at 3 months compared with the national goal of just above 46 percent. And the gains at six months were no less impressive, with 55 percent of mothers nursing at 6 months – more than double the national goal.

“TMC is honored to achieve this recognition of the work done to advance nursing,” said Damiana Cohen, manager of the Mother-Baby Unit. “The success we’ve had with our mothers demonstrates the impact that professional help makes on extending the amount of time that a newborn exclusively breastfeeds.”

TMC now offering scheduled appointments for Pediatric Emergency Department visitors

TMC now offering online appointmentsEmergencies and convenience don’t often intersect – but for those who can wait to seek medical care, Tucson Medical Center now offers scheduled pediatric appointments to make emergencies just a little easier.

Emergency Department appointments are not appropriate for those children with emergent medical conditions.

But for others, the new service offers a convenient alternative that allows them to rest in the comfort of their own home while waiting for a prescheduled time.s.

The new tool, which is easily accessible on the TMC website at www.tmcaz.com, allows patients to go online to review a list of open appointment times and secure that time slot.

Patients should know that although TMC strives to see patients as close to their appointment time as possible, projected wait times may be impacted if patients with more significant emergencies present for emergency care or if their case is determined to be more serious after a medical screening exam by a provider.

For more information, please visit www.tmcaz.com

Tired of renting? TMC hosts Homebuyer Expo May 31

TowerresizedDozens of lenders and housing professionals will be available to provide free information to those exploring the path to homeownership at an upcoming event designed specifically for homebuyers.

The Expo, organized through the office of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, will be held Wednesday, May 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. in TMC’s Marshall Conference Center, 5301 E. Grant Road.

Attendees can learn about mortgage options, find out how to improve their credit score and determine whether they might quality for down payment assistance programs.

Members of the public are welcome to join TMC employees at the event.

“We know homeownership strengthens neighborhoods. When residents have an investment in the community, they engage with the community, which is why this is an important priority for the city,” said Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. “We also know there are more homebuyer assistance programs out there than people are aware of, so this is one tool we can use to help get the word out.”

Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC, noted the economic, civic and social benefits of stable home ownership are well documented. “We are pleased to participate in an event in which provides local community members an opportunity to explore whether homeownership is for them, in a friendly, one-stop experience,” she said.

Parking is available in the Catalina Garage just north of the northeast entrance.

For more information about the Expo, please contact Jaimie Galayda at 791-4201.

 

TMC adopts new testing system to rapidly identify infections, allow targeted antibiotic treatment

Accelerate Diagnostics 4Tucson Medical Center has adopted a new technology developed by local biotechnology firm Accelerate Diagnostics Inc. that is expected to save precious time in identifying the source of bloodstream infections and determine which antibiotics would be most effective in treating them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late February allowed Accelerate to move forward with sharing information about the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit, which is designed to help save lives and reduce complications by initiating antibiotic treatment significantly more quickly in cases of bacterial or yeast blood infections.

About 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually in the United States and at least 23,000 die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because these infections escalate very quickly, physicians concerned about a delay in treatment may sometimes employ a more broad-brush treatment. Over time, however, that builds resistance.

Accelerate Diagnostics“When we talk about heart attacks, we say that time is tissue, which is why we need immediate medical intervention,” said John Allen, director of TMC Laboratory Services. “When we talk about sepsis, time is life.

“We’re very excited by the promise of this test to help us find more targeted therapy as quickly as possible to improve patient outcomes and potentially save lives.”

TMC has worked closely with the company since it was recruited to Tucson in 2012, from providing specimens to helping run testing prototypes. “We’re very proud to work with the team at TMC,” said Lawrence Mehren, president and CEO of Accelerate Diagnostics. “Their dedication to providing the best care possible to our community is evident in the work they do each and every day.”

The company, which at the time pledged to add 30 jobs, has experienced rapid growth and now employs more than 100 people in leased space in the Abrams Public Health Center. “In addition to the life-saving work this company is doing, TMC is pleased to foster the biotech presence in our community and support local, ongoing economic development efforts,” Allen said.

Accelerate Diagnostics 3Traditional test results may take up to 48 hours after infection is detected in a positive blood culture. In a fraction of the time, the Accelerate PhenoTest BC Kit can identify more than two dozen species of bacteria and yeast that can cause infection, and help indicate its responsiveness to 18 different antibiotics, according to the FDA. It can also help identify whether the infection is showing indication of antibiotic-resistance.

FDA approval was based largely on a review of a primary clinical study, which determined the test correctly identified strains of bacteria or yeast more than 95 percent of the time in a sample of 1,850 positive blood cultures.

 

TMC celebrates the economic impact of hospitals in building healthy communities, healthy economy

Hospital WeekWhat does $740 million in total economic impact look like?

It comes in the form of:

  • Salaries for 5,800 jobs
  • Vast deliveries of office supplies and medical equipment
  • Nutritious ingredients for 3,200 meals served each and every day
  • Technological innovation and capital investment

In short, it looks like Tucson Medical Center – the area’s sixth largest private employer – and its total annual economic impact, most of which occurs at home in Pima County.

Hospitals play a strong role in improving the physical health of a community, from caring for people in emergencies, performing healing surgeries and welcoming babies into the world.

Hospital Week 2Beyond that important work, National Hospital Week, starting May 7, is an appropriate time to celebrate the economic contribution hospitals make. The sector is the largest employer industry in the state, making up 13 percent of Arizona jobs and contributing $22 billion in direct economic impact.

Last year, TMC invested $58 million back into the community, in the form of providing charity care, engaging the community in wellness and helping to fund Medicaid expansion. In fact, nearly 80,000 people were touched by TMC outreach and education programs in 2016, spread across 751 events.

“As one of this region’s largest employers, and as Tucson’s locally-governed nonprofit community hospital, TMC is proud to play an active role in supporting our local economy and helping improve the community’s health and wellness,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of community benefit.

New manager called out by her peers for being the Heart of Hospice

Stephanie Carter, center, is honored as Heart of Hospice with bereavement specialist MK LeFevour, left, and director Alicia Ferguson.

Unbeknownst to the new TMC Hospice manager, many of her colleagues had already tossed her name into the hat for the program’s quarterly recognition award.

“She holds the bar to the highest level and is always there to help you,” said Alicia Ferguson, director of TMC Hospice.

After a blind judging, Ferguson explained, Stephanie Carter, the home-care supervisor turned manager was named the Heart of Hospice last Thursday during a breakfast ceremony.

“It’s very telling you all voted your new manager to be your new Heart of Hospice,” quipped Alicia Ferguson, noting that nominations had closed prior to Carter getting her new role.

“Stephanie plays the role of RN, supervisor, case manager, EPIC super user, teacher, student and voice for the team,” according to one of the nomination forms. “She stands up for what is right for her patients, families, employees and peers and will not take ‘no’ for an answer with her patients and the team’s best interests at heart.”

In addition to her own caseload, according to those who nominated her, “she picks up visits to help out the team. Not one to complain, she works tirelessly to ensure patient and family satisfaction as well as to take care of her teammates. She has a willingness to learn more about hospice and leadership and is always open to doing more.”

Almost as if on cue, Carter is doing more in a leadership role, taking her new position two days prior to receiving the award. Carter has nine years at TMC and seven and a half with TMC Hospice, and, in her new role as clinical manager, she leads both the inpatient and outpatient areas of hospice.

The Heart of Hospice is someone who embodies the hospice philosophy and represents all that is good in health care:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

In addition to being recognized among her peers, Carter has her name and photo displayed on a plaque in the entryway to Peppi’s House, received a “key” pin to wear on her ID badge representing the key to the Heart of Hospice, and parks in the designated Employee of the Quarter space at Peppi’s House.

Meet Holli, a TMC Hospice home care volunteer

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, Tucson Medical Center celebrates the passionate work of nearly 700 volunteers in TMC Hospice, TMC for Senior, Pet Therapy and the TMC Auxiliary. The dedicated patrons log more than 90,000 hours every year helping TMC patients have the most comfortable and pleasant experience possible, whether in the hospital or at home. Find more stories about TMC Hospice volunteers on our Facebook page.

Briefly describe yourself.
I’m Holli, and I am so fortunate to have been able to retire early and do more of those things that there was never enough time to do during my working years. I’m loving it! I’ve been traveling with my husband in our little camper/van and seeing lots of this beautiful country. I enjoy hiking with my friends (we call ourselves “a girl scout troop”), reading and doing volunteer work. I spent my career as a mental health therapist and I continue to work on the weekend at a behavioral health hospital. I am finding my retirement to be an exciting and fulfilling chapter in my life.

How long have you been a volunteer with TMC Hospice?
I have been a Hospice volunteer for two and a half years.

What role are you currently in?
I am a homecare volunteer.

Do you volunteer anywhere else currently? If so, where?
Yes, I am a reading coach with Reading Seed, a program through Literacy Connects. I spend time, weekly, reading 1:1 with 1st and 2nd graders with a goal of instilling in them a love of reading. I also volunteer each year at the Tucson Festival of Books.

Why did you choose hospice volunteer work?
During my years as a therapist I had the opportunity to help several clients’ deal with issues at the end of their lives. I found it to be some of the most rewarding work I did over the years.

I also experienced Hospice as a family member when my father and mother-in-law were dying. I found the Hospice staff to be so helpful; for me and my family. I am grateful that they were part of our support network.

What keeps you coming back? I love to hear people’s stories. I feel so privileged when patients’ and their families invite me into their lives.

Is there an experience that you have had through your volunteering with hospice that stands out? Please explain…

My first patient was a vivacious 96-year-old woman. When I met her she was feeling stronger after several months of being in and out of the hospital. She was very circumspect about her prognosis and had some things she wanted to do while she still could. #1 on her list was to feed a giraffe. We went to the Tucson Zoo and did just that. Her face lit up as the giraffe gently took the food from her hand. She was thrilled! There were other things on her list but in the week following our zoo visit she began to decline and died soon after. I am so honored to have shared that day with her.

When people say “I don’t know how you can volunteer at hospice, isn’t it sad?” What is your response?

Sad: yes, but so much more!

Any tips or suggestions for new volunteers coming in to hospice?

Be open! You may have some ideas about how you want your experience to unfold but set those expectations aside. If you allow yourself to be open to whatever presents itself, you may find the journey to be even more than you expected.

Would you like to add anything else?

Working with dying patients’ helps me to feel less fearful about the end of my life. it really clarifies how I want to make decisions about my care at the end of my life.

TMC Chief Medical Officer selected as an honorary commander for the Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing

Rick AndersonThere are a few things you may not know about the 162nd Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, our neighbor adjacent to the Tucson International Airport:

  • From its roots as an adobe farmhouse and dirt-floor hangar 60 years ago, it has grown to be one of the largest Air National Guard wings in the country.
  • The 162nd Wing trains the world’s best fighter pilots and has graduated more than 7,000 pilots from 28 countries since 1969.
  • The unit’s Reconnaissance Group has remotely piloted more than 65,000 hours to support of efforts overseas.

For all of those reasons, Tucson Medical Center is proud that Dr. Rick Anderson, senior vice president and chief medical officer, has been selected by the commanders to serve as the honorary commander for the 162nd Medical Group for a two-year term.

The doctors, nurses and other medical personnel at the Medical Group work diligently to support the missions of the wing.  Many of these citizen-airmen work full-time in our community and serve our country part-time as guardsmen.

Dr. Anderson said he was humbled by the opportunity. “I believe this is an excellent way to connect with a vital part of our Tucson community,” said Anderson, who served four years active duty in the U.S. Army and is board-certified in family medicine. “As a veteran myself, it is an honor to better serve and connect with members of our Armed Forces.”

“The program is designed to educate community members about the mission, rigors, demands and camaraderie of the wing, as well as the Air National Guard,” said First Lieutenant Lacey Roberts public affairs officer for the 162nd Wing.  “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Anderson to our team and believe his knowledge and expertise will be a valuable asset to the program.”

Booster seats, bike helmets & ChooChoo Soul! TMC’s 13th annual Be Safe Saturday: March 18

Be Safe Saturday 045Becoming a parent brings a new focus to child safety.

Suddenly, you see your vehicle and your neighborhood swimming pool through a new prism. The same goes for bicycles and scooters and even everyday areas in your home.

TMC’s Be Safe Saturday, now in its 13th year, is designed to help parents and guardians create the safest environment for their children.

It will run from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on March 18 on the TMC campus,  parking lot #11.

The event typically draws 13,000 people and provides families with free bike helmets and booster seats, as well as roughly 100 interactive booths to provide education and resources to help improve safety. Safe Kids Pima County and the Tucson Police Department will offer car seat checks from 9 a.m. to noon to make sure they are properly installed.

As a special treat, Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve will be performing throughout the event and food trucks will be on hand for families looking to purchase delectable goodies from a variety of mobile kitchens. A “happiness wall” will also allow families to pledge small, simple acts of kindness they can perform to give meaning to the upcoming International Day of Happiness on March 20.

“TMC is here to provide care when you need it, but our commitment is to empower the community to be partners in wellness and safety,” said Hope Thomas, director of community programs at TMC. “Events like this one are one of the many ways TMC shows its dedication to serving as this region’s community hospital.”

 

 

Peppi’s House celebrates Bogey’s 15th birthday

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Bogey first visited Peppi’s House, TMC’s inpatient hospice unit, when he was a wee pug pup of 6 months. Penny Lundstrom, his human companion, had him certified at as a therapy dog at 18 months, the minimum age. And the two have been visiting patients and families at Peppi’s House ever since. Today, Lundstrom and the staff at Peppi’s House celebrated Bogey’s 15th birthday.

“At this age he can barely walk up the street,” Lundstrom said. “But we come here and he runs!”

Bogey has soothed agitated patients and calmed nervous family members.

Once he was taken into a room with a woman who hadn’t communicated since she had a stroke two weeks prior. Her hand was placed on Bogey and she began to pet him. When he was taken away, she vocalized as best she could indicating she wanted the dog back.

The patient was one of thousands of people Bogey has visited over the years. While he might not run — or hear — as well as he did in his youth, Bogey puts on the charm as he greets people, sneaks a lick of icing and brings smiles to all he meets.

Love retail? We’re looking for you!

volunteers-needed-for-the-tmc-gift-shop-and-teal-saguaroTucson Medical Center is currently recruiting retail volunteers for the TMC Gift Shop and our resale boutique, the Teal Saguaro.

Both shops support the medical services and programs through Tucson’s locally governed, not for profit community hospital.

The Teal Saguaro, which offers quality, gently used items at 5395 E. Erickson Drive, is also accepting donations. Needed items include clothing for the entire family, footwear, household items, small appliances, books and more.

All funds raised directly support TMC and its services. The Teal Saguaro also serves as a resource center for families in need, providing booster seats and bicycle helmets for children, as well as emergency clothing for patients who weren’t able to prepare for their visit.

“Whether you are looking for a way to donate to TMC or on the hunt for a great buy, both stores offer a truly unique shopping experience,” said TMC Auxiliary President Dan Bailey.

Information about volunteer work at TMC and the application to become a volunteer is found at www.tmcaz.com/volunteers. Information about the Teal Saguaro may be found at http://www.tmcaz.com/tealsaguaro.

 

Hospice RN recognized for commitment to Benson community

The Southern Arizona community of Benson has one of TMC Hospice’s most dedicated nurses in Mary Ann Young.mary-ann-young-heart-of-hospice

Last week, Young was recognized as the Heart of Hospice, a quarterly award where Hospice staff can recognize their peers. Over the years, Young has had hundreds of patients in the Southern Arizona community of about 5,000 located an hour east of Tucson. She is on call around the clock, does the admissions work for her patients and is there following their deaths. She delivers medications and supplies, and she runs a bereavement support group, said Wiley Baker, a TMC Hospice social worker who nominated her.

“Mary Ann has been a steady dependable nurse for TMC Hospice for the last 22 years,” Baker said, acknowledging that Young is the reason Baker continues to cover Benson as a social worker.

Because of the foundation Young has helped to build in her community, patients are better able to stay in their homes at the end of their lives, and their families are also able to receive the support they need.

“Mary Ann certainly has heart and I’m pleased that she’s being recognized for her work in our community,” said Benson Mayor Toney D. King, Sr. “Because of her compassion and dedication, many families are able to keep their loved ones comfortable at home for the time they have remaining. That is just such a gift that can’t be understated. We are grateful to have her as a neighbor.”

The Heart of Hospice is someone who embodies the hospice philosophy and represents all that is good in health care:

Everything he or she does is for our patients and families and personifies compassion, kindness, empathy, a great work ethic and knowledge. The Heart of Hospice is also someone who is calm under pressure, is respectful, is detail-oriented, is a critical thinker, and has great communication skills. This person is someone who is always there to help his or her peers and does so with grace and skill. Being able to nominate someone for this award is a gift because it means you have observed greatness, not just once, but every time you have interacted with this individual.

In addition to being recognized among her peers, Young has her name and photo displayed on a plaque in the entryway to Peppi’s House, received a “key” pin to wear on her ID badge representing the key to the Heart of Hospice, and parks in the designated Employee of the Quarter space at Peppi’s House.

Celebrate movement, beauty through TMC’s Healing Art Walk

butterfly-bridge-part-of-tmc-healing-art-walkWhat better way to revel in the lengthening of the days and nature’s response to new warmth than taking a walk?

On Feb. 8, join TMC Senior Services, TMC’s wellness team, artist Gail Roberts and the Healing Art Program on a walk that will feature the newly installed Butterfly Project bridge on campus, which commemorates the children lost in the Holocaust through hand-painted ceramic butterflies.

The .7 mile walk, one-way, will also celebrate the Women of Honor courtyard at TMC, where guests can enjoy the sculptural garden and light refreshments. Guests can walk back to the starting location or hop on a courtesy shuttle for the one way return.

“TMC has long believed that patients, staff and visitors respond to surroundings that inspire, encourage and cheer them, whether through art or nature,” said Maya Luria, director of TMC Senior Services. “This walk is also an opportunity to make new connections and enjoy the outdoors, which is an important part of wellbeing.”

For more information or to register for the event, please visit https://www.tmcaz.com/body.cfm?id=324&registration=true&action=detail&ref=4090

“Yarn bomber” knits arts, dreams at TMC for Children

Why wouyarnbombingld an artist known internationally for large-scale fiber art installations travel to Tucson to drape the entire façade of TMC for Children in colorful displays of yarn from around the world?

Think of it as a big, cuddly embrace, rooted in Tucson’s response to the shooting tragedy of Jan. 8, 2011, and honoring the community spirit that brought people together to grieve, reflect and move forward.

yb2With Tucson Medical Center a major, lead donor of the January 8th Memorial Foundation, and a longtime supporter of Beyond, an event each January designed to promote the community health and well-being, Stephen Duneier found a natural alliance, given his own passion for drawing people outside to play.

Duneier has collected more than 10,000 square feet of yarn art, sent from knitting enthusiasts all over the globe, from Tasmania to Kuwait and Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

yb3He has wrapped giant eucalyptus trees and massive boulders in remote natural areas. Now, his “Dreamer” installation, in reference to the John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” will be his largest installation ever, accessible to patients, visitors and staff at TMC, as well as to members of the community who are participating in an art walk on the TMC campus as part of the Jan. 14 Beyond event.

“There is something magical about people of all ethnicities, colors, races and religions, wealthy and poor alike, joining together from every corner of the map for a collective experience of pure whimsy,” Duneier said, of his first urban installation. In moments like that, you realize you’re not the only dreamer after all.”

Duneier’s visit as “artist-in-residence” was initiated at the request of Mary Reed, a survivor of the Jan. 8 shooting attack and the organizer of TEDx Tucson. “We were looking for an artist who would knit the community together and he did!” she said, noting there are contributions from all 50 states and several countries sending their love in the form of knitted and crocheted objects.

Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC, said as a community hospital, TMC has long believed that art and nature promote a healing environment. “This collaborative effort threads together community art and healing and we are pleased to celebrate that connection and to serve as a canvas for Duneier’s inspiration.”

Becker’s Hospital Review names Tucson Medical Center a top 100 Hospital

tmc-monument-signBecker’s Hospital Review has named Tucson Medical Center as one of the 100 Hospital and Health Systems with Great Neurosurgery and Spine Programs, featuring hospitals and health systems leading the way in neurosciences and providing treatment for patients with various brain and spine conditions.

Hospitals and health systems included on this list are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and provide patients with access to renowned experts in the neurosciences field capable of delivering comprehensive care for a variety of complicated conditions that affect the brain and spine.

“TMC is proud to be recognized – our dedicated physician leadership ensures our neuroscience teams utilize advanced technology to provide expedient and sincere care to the communities we serve,” said Julia Strange, TMC’s vice president of community benefit.

The TMC neurosciences program has received additional recognition from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, including the Gold Plus award and the Target:Stroke Elite Plus award. TMC is also certified as a Primary Stroke Center by the HealthCare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP.)

The Becker’s Hospital Review editorial team selected hospitals for inclusion based on national rankings and accolades awarded by several institutions, including U.S. News & World Report, CareChex national and regional rankings for neurological care, BlueDistinctionCenter for Spine Surgery designation, Healthgrades awards and Magnet designation for nursing excellence.

About Becker’s Hospital Review

Becker’s Hospital Review is a monthly publication offering up-to-date business and legal news and analysis relating to hospitals and health systems. Articles are geared toward high-level hospital leaders, and we work to provide valuable information, including hospital and health system news, best practices and legal guidance specifically for these decision-makers.


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