TMC: Getting its kind on

mural 1 Triple digit temperatures didn’t dampen enthusiasm for dozens of Tucson Medical Center employees and volunteers who took shifts over Friday and Saturday to install a “Be Kind” mosaic mural in a patio near the Gift Shop.

The Kindness Patio was the latest evolution in TMC’s participation in the Ben’s Bells Kind Colleagues program, which asks businesses and organizations to place a priority on building a positive workspace.

The mural’s roots date to 2014, when TMC agreed to accept a Ben’s Bells kindness challenge and document 1 ,000 acts of kindness. Employees, patients and volunteers helped TMC surpass its goal, with 1 ,240 acts of kindness.

Earlier this year, Ben’s Bells Founder Jeannette Mare led a conversation on kindness for TMC managers, directors and executives, touching on scientific research around the power of kindnemural 2ss to heal, and tailored to the specific opportunities available in health care to practice self-kindness to reduce stress and boost productivity.

During Hospital Week at the beginning of May, staff volunteered to make the tiles that would become the mural. Hope Thomas, the director of community programs for Tucson Medical Center, said the choice to put the mural inside the campus, instead of on an exterior wall with greater public visibility, was a conscious one.

“We know our employees appreciate our relationship with Ben’s Bells and the work we’ve done to become a kind colleague in the community,” she said. “We wanted to find a space where they would have a chance to see the mural and where it could reinforce the work that we do here every day – particularly since the practice of kindness is already reflected in our mission and our values.”

Click for mmural 3ore information about Ben’s Bells’ Kind Colleagues program.

1,000 acts of kindness and counting…

ResizedKindnessWith a party, a song and a dance, Tucson Medical Center accepted the Ben’s Bells Be Kind Challenge last month as it pledged to record 1,000 acts of kindness. As of Monday afternoon, TMC had 1,014 acts recorded with more than half the month to go.

Let’s see what the next couple weeks bring as momentum continues to build. Visit the #BeKindChallenge to see what other businesses, schools and organizations have accepted the challenge and to learn more about the endeavor.

1,000 acts of kindness by April? Game On!

Last month, Tucson Medical Center accepted Ben’s Bells Be Kind Challenge. Catch a view of our fabulous party hats and tremendous spirit in the video below, which highlights what it means to be a kind workplace, as we attempt to record 1,000 acts of kindness by the end of April.

Since there are probably 1,000 acts of kindness that occur here at TMC every single day, we’re convinced we can make it!

Visit the #BeKindChallenge to see what other businesses, schools and organizations have accepted the challenge and to learn more about the endeavor.

TMC volunteer touches community, earns Ben’s Bell

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Volunteer Bob Kridler has a long list of charities and nonprofits he supports, so it wasn’t surprising that there was a long line of admirers there to cheer him on when he was “belled” on Friday, Feb. 6.

“I’m speechless,” a smiling Kridler said, as Ben’s Bells founder Jeannette Maré gave him a handmade bell, a symbol of connection and the myriad ways recipients spread kindness throughout the community. In Kridler’s case, he donates his time serving mobile meals and sitting on the foster care review board, as well as assisting his church and Casa Maria Free Kitchen. He also volunteers at Tucson Medical Center, where he is involved with Seniors Helping Seniors, a program in which volunteers offer companionship and one-on-one support to older adults in the community.

“The care you put into this community ripples out in ways you can’t possibly know,” Maré said.

TMC Senior Services coordinator Anne Morrison, one of about 40 in attendance, said Kridler has made a difference already for a Vietnam vet who had few social connections. “He’s just one of the kindest men I’ve ever met,” Morrison said. “He has such a big heart and just wants to make the lives of others better, regardless of who or when or where.”

His pastor, Gayle Bintliff of Tanque Verde Lutheran Church, agreed. “He just does everything with the heart of a servant,” said Bintliff, who has served as lead pastor for the past 3 years. “He has so much compassion and kindness, that he is always ready to do anything he can to help someone else.”

Kridler will be featured on the MIXfm and KGUN on Feb. 13, as well as the Arizona Daily Star on Feb. 17.

Kind acts touch many as TMC takes the #bekindchallenge

bekindchallengeSince Tucson Medical Center kicked off its #BeKindChallenge a month ago, more than 50 acts of kindness have been reported. The effort, part of Ben’s Bells Project “Kind Colleagues” program, is based on the belief that everyone has the capacity to be kind, and that it is ultimately a skill that can be cultivated. TMC’s goal is to record at least 1,000 acts of kindness before the end of the school year in May.

Here are some of the best acts of kindness reported so far:

Nicole Durazo and Amy Hill

Nicole Durazo and Amy Hill

Nicole Durazo – We had a patient who was wheelchair-bound, writes patient-care tech Amy Hill, who works on the adult telemetry unit. He just wanted to go outside. When he was Nicole Durazo’s patient, she would take him outside. One Sunday when he WAS NOT Nicole’s patient, she took the time to come over to the other side of the unit to take him outside so that he could see the moon.


Amy Duschinski

Amy Duschinski

From the other side of the hospital, we have this:

Amy Duschinski – a registered nurse on the mother/baby unit, Duschinski was recognized by the unit’s assistant manager, Angelica Hibbs, for stepping up. “Amy offered to help one of her co-workers with a less than glamorous task,” Hibbs wrote. “She helped her co-worker administer a hi/lo enema that took over 40 minutes. Not only did she help the patient feel better, but she was also there to support her co-worker.”

Hibbs also awarded a kindness coin to Maria Romero, a patient care tech also on the mother/baby unit. Hibbs writes:

Maria Romero

Maria Romero

I had a wonderful experience helping Maria get a patient up to the bathroom. Maria has truly mastered the art of getting up patients in the most gentle, non-rushed and KIND way. The patient was in a lot of pain after her tubal. When the patient stood up she hugged Maria and started crying on her shoulder. You could tell that she had developed trust in her. Maria was so encouraging and patient with her. The patient told Maria she reminded her of her mother. This is not the first time Maria has heard this. She hears it from her patients often. Maria was also my PCT 12 years ago when I had my son and I still remember the great and kind care she gave me. Gracias Maria!

Sue Taylor, M.D., who specializes in hospice and palliative care medicine, shared the following:

I recently did family conferences with Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez and Gina Luna, all registered nurses, and can attest to their kindness.

Neva, Lisa and Gina

Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez and Gina Luna

In each case, families were unable to accept their loved one’s terminal condition, and unable to face the inevitable grieving. In each case, the care had reached a level deemed non-beneficial, which was causing distress. I asked these bedside nurses to attend the family conferences. Then, I asked them to share their opinion. After all, they are the ones who bear witness to the suffering, to the pain, to the daily/hourly decline, to the burdens of treatment, and to the immense faith, hope and love of families.

These nurses responded with truth telling, and tears, and, most importantly, clear and heart-felt direction that it was time to lovingly transition to care directed at comfort. They spoke honestly, using plain language, and with a level of detail that comes from hours and hours and hours of hard won experience. They knew what the consultants had said; they knew the conflicts; they knew the issues. I didn’t. Families respect that.

Amazingly, each family member agreed. They trusted these nurses, and wanted to work with them to do the best, and right thing. One mentioned that he could see through the curtains, and had been watching the entire unit. He was so impressed by the staff, and how they treated everyone. He knew he could let go now, because he knew that everyone was handled with gentleness.

Please thank Neva Corbell, Lisa Vasquez, and Gina Luna for their exemplary contribution to the mission of TMC.

TMC thanks these nurses and all the staff for the kindness the show towards patients, families, visitors and each other.

At TMC, the goal of is to create a kind workplace, thereby reducing employee stress, increasing productivity and creating a better environment for both staff and patients. TMC is the first hospital in Tucson to participate in this program, which is quite an honor, and it is a great opportunity for TMC to embed kindness into the core of our culture.

Always Remembered. Always Loved.

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The baby books, photo albums and family pictures showed love-filled images of those lost too soon. An early page in one baby book declares “It’s a boy!” in gold metallic script next to the identifying sonagram. Other familiar poses: expectant mother in profile, father with head down and hand on baby bump. Snapshots told of birthday parties, Christmas mornings, trips to beach and special times.

These treasured keepsakes were from some 30 families gathered together on Saturday at TMC for Always Loved, a pediatric memorial event to share, remember and honor the short lives of their children. This the first semiannual memorial was a way to support the families and to remember these TMC children who have passed away and to recognize that these families will always be tied to the hospital.

Some were born too soon or born with medical issues that would shorten their lives. Others would pass from unexpected illness or injury. While their deaths left holes in the hearts of many, for a couple hours on this sun-filled warm spring day, their families and the doctors, nurses and staff who cared for them, remembered and celebrated their lives.

Speaking to the more than 100 people in attendance was Jennette Maré, who founded Ben’s Bells, following the death of her son more than 10 years ago. Kindness was at the root of her recovery from the devastation of losing her 3-year-old son from croup.

“I looked ordinary on the outside, but I was shattered on the inside,” she said, sharing a feeling she knew most in the audience could understand. And she discovered how small acts of kindness were “amazingly powerful” in her grieving. She recalled how a student at the university where she taught opened the door for her, smiled and wished her a good morning. “I wanted to tell him that his gesture of connection saved me in that moment.”

It was those acts of humanity that inspired her to create the Ben’s Bells Project to support intentional acts of compassion. “The walking wounded are all around us,” she said. “Every time we offer a gesture of kindness we have no idea how meaningful it can be.”

After she spoke, the names of more than 160 children were read one by one. Drew Cooper set an uplifting, centering mood with his acoustical guitar.  Each family in attendance came forward upon the reading of their child’s name to receive a Ben’s Bell from one of the chaplains at TMC.

Hearing the name of one family, pediatric hospitalist Rebecca Egbert, M.D. stepped up to personally bestow a bell on a mother whose daughter she had cared for. “It was a chance to connect and to honor that girl,” she said later. The memorial, she explained, “helps me re-center and reminds me of why I do what I do.”

At the end of the reading of the names, one mother bravely stepped forward to share the name of Alexander Flurer, her son, who passed away four years ago. Shannon Flurer,  who works in the TMC Emergency department, wants to help others who have lost a child, and has agreed to speak at the next Always Loved event in October.

After a moment of silence, enthusiastic bell ringing commenced and then it was playtime. Stations were set up for beading with Beads of Courage, painting river rocks with Tu Nidito and painting kindness coins for Ben’s Bells. Two pet therapy teams ventured by. The canines provided tail-wagging affection while sniffing out morsels of donated cinnamon rolls dropped by distracted children.

People congregated again near the memento tables. Families and staff hugged. They asked after each other, shared stories, laughed and shed tears. There’s the memory book of a handsome baby boy, born some 14 weeks early, weighing less than 2 pounds. His tiny body has small tubes attached. Photos show his parents tending to him in his isolette and the look of joy when they finally get to hold him all swaddled in a blanket.

His photo album is little more than half filled before it ends. Some final photos and handwritten consoling words before his birth certificate, then his death certificate end the book of his short life. This little one may be gone, but like the rest of these children, he will be always  remembered, always loved.

Ben’s Belling for family that has provided Christmas dinner at Peppi’s House since 1999

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On Christmas Day 1998 Susan Teitelbaum was at TMC’s inpatient Hospice unit, Peppi’s House, sitting with her mother who would pass away a few weeks later. Susan and her family were unable to find any place to eat because everything was closed.

She decided from then on she would provide food so other families would not face the same frustration. And so she and her family have faithfully brought in food on Christmas Eve for the last 13 years so families will have a meal on Christmas.

In recognition of Susan’s generosity and kindness Hospice nurse, Jill Fuller, R.N., nominated her for a Ben’s Bell, for those who promote kindness and community. “Her and her family’s generosity on behalf of our families is truly appreciated, and it comforts family members.”

After receiving word from Jeannette Maré, mother of Ben and executive director of Ben’s Bells, the Hospice staff invited Susan and her family to Peppi’s House this past Wednesday to thank them for their support over the years. Susan didn’t know she would be belled.

Each week a person who betters Tucson is “belled.” Go to to submit a name. Go to or call 628-2829 for information. Recipients are featured on Friday’s Morning Blend on KGUN 9 and Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star.

A number of Susan’s family members, all of whom have helped deliver the food over the years, were on hand for the recognition. They included Susan’s brother, Dobie Frazier, his wife, Kathy, and Susan’s children Eric Teitelbaum, Shelby Teitelbaum, Nichole Foutz and Johnna Hall. Susan and Dobie’s brother, Jeff Frazier, was not able to attend.

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