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: 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.

Empathy and Nursing: Human Connection

By Elizabeth Maish, TMC Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer

Tom BergeronWhat is nursing?

What is it that we do every day?

We follow a lot of orders, give medications, and look for supplies.

We respond to the interminable call lights.

We worry and wait…

We rarely take the time to ponder what it is that we do besides what is right in front of us at the time. Some of us head home after work and wonder how it got so complicated…and how we have arrived at this place, doing this work. Our thinking is usually peppered with life decisions, alternate paths taken and yet to take, and a past full of change.

So what does a nurse do? We optimize life changes: the good, the sad, the successes and the losses. Incidentally, a lot of what we see is made up of all these things! We carry through, we carry water, we carry on. We shield, protect, and soothe pain. In the process of caring, we bind to the human condition ‑ the inexplicable and sacred.

We are present in the unwelcome moments, the quiet moments and final moments. I’m describing empathy. This is what it looks like.

Many find that being with the sick and the dying is hard or impossible; to stare at your own mortality can be discomforting – you know the future that everything passes, including you and everyone you love. As nurses, we’re right there watching and helping life play out at the bedside. This empathic way that nurses have means simply being there, showing up, with intent.

Can you recall a patient who righted your bearings, hit you in the heart or gut, changed your practice, or poured gasoline on the smoldering fire that was your passion for caring?

I can. She was 88. She liked to line dance and work in her garden. As she grew very old, she didn’t want to give these things up and decided on surgery to fix a very tired heart. I met her after surgery, knowing she wouldn’t leave the bed she was in. She would never stand, cut a flower or make herself some food. I grasped her hand during a position change and suddenly she was wide awake, smiling around an ET tube.

We looked at each other and in her eyes I saw a mixture of sadness, resignation and mostly peace. None of this had turned out the way she thought it would. But it was alright. She was facing her end with calm and was ready. Regrets? Maybe a few, but no matter, the time had come. The thoughts and feelings that passed between us in a few seconds re-ignited my sleeping brain, formally consumed with mostly petty things that had to be done that day. She re-ignited my heart, where she lives as a hero. For some reason, I was there with her to share this moment of our humanity.

There is nothing more important than this work.

The next time you pause to think about what to do next, call on the patient who sent a divine lightning bolt through your heart and soul. We all have some patient memory inside that awakened us! Silently thank this patient for reminding you, centering you to care, to show up and to connect. It’s a tough world out there ‑ nurses make it bearable and many times, joyously livable.

Please accept my sincere congratulations on the 2014 Nurses Week.

Flexibility, friends, food choices – keys to one RN’s active lifestyle

TMC nurse Karina Bechtold hiking in Sabino Canyon on her day off.

TMC nurse Karina Bechtold hiking in Sabino Canyon on her day off.

When Karina Bechtold was a university student working as a fitness instructor she didn’t understand how people weren’t able to prioritize their lives to make sure they had an active, healthy lifestyle.

Admittedly, the Float Pool nurse had always had a side fun job that focused on fitness. She had an edge to staying active, but still, couldn’t anyone find the time they needed to work out?

“I didn’t get it when I was a college student,” said Bechtold, a five-year RN at TMC. “Why would people give up the workout?”

Then the realities of life set in – a nursing career, a husband, a house and then a baby.

“Fitness is definitely a priority, but I’ve had to change my ideas,” she said. Now she has to be flexible, surround herself with active friends and be more mindful of her eating.

The 28-year-old no longer has the luxury of spending an hour or more at the gym every day. Instead, she’s committed to doing something active on her four days off each week.

Some days it means getting up early before her husband heads off to work. He can watch their 15-month-old son while she spends 45 minutes on the treadmill. “Sometimes the baby is banging on the door the whole time,” said Bechtold, who is also in graduate school to become a doctor of nursing practice.

Other times, it might be a hike up Tumamoc Hill with the now 21-pound baby on her back. “We go slowly, he enjoys the view and my husband runs ahead.” As a nurse and a mom, flexibility is a key to healthy living.

“You have to do whatever works,” she said. “Our schedules fluctuate from week to week, even day to day.” It helps, too, to have a diverse group of workout buddies whom she calls on for exercise dates – some for hiking, some for morning workouts, others for afternoon exercise. “Everyone has friends to go to lunch with, I have friends I can exercise with,” she said, “I have options depending on what my week might look like.”

She has a couple nurses in this group because they also have crazy schedules. “I might know that one of my friends has tomorrow off, too, and could be up for a hike at 2 in the afternoon.”

Exercise is only part of the health equation. Bechtold is also mindful of her eating. “I try to make a good decision at every meal, every day,” she said.

For example, she prefers not to drink her calories and instead water is her drink of choice. “If you don’t get to the exercise, at least you’ve eaten well.”

Bechtold has had to change her mind set with her changing lifestyle, but she’s still committed to her health and she keeps a positive focus. “You don’t want to beat yourself up. If things didn’t work out today, there’s always tomorrow.”

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