Redwood Pharmacy Moves to a More Prominent Location

By Jeffrey Cywinski, RPh

UMMC Ambulatory Care Pharmacy Manager

You could say the new UMMC Pharmacy at Redwood has taken the community by storm. Although Hurricane Sandy threatened our neighborhood with flooding and high winds on our opening day Oct. 29, pharmacist Charles Donohue, RPh, and pharmacy technician Vernette Neely stepped up to open the pharmacy in its new location despite the hostile weather.

Our newly designed and easily accessible pharmacy has been relocated to the corner of Paca and Redwood streets — across the street from the Redwood Building. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pharmacy includes an expanded prescription processing area and a larger variety of over-the-counter products for our patients.

The new storefront entrance also means quick access for staff and students throughout the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, and for West Side residents and others who work or shop in the neighborhood.

Pharmacy technician Shawnta Toney stocks the empty shelves with topicals at the new pharmacy.

Moving a pharmacy is a complex endeavor that requires attention to detail. Support from other departments is also crucial.

Because an extra layer of security is necessary when moving controlled substances, the Baltimore City Police, University of Maryland Campus Police, and UMMC security officers ensured safe passage for the medications from one building to the other.

The relocation involved more than 12 total hours with the assistance of about 30 staff members, which included a team of pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, assisted by Bret Elam, pharmacy business and operations manager, and Marc Summerfield, MS, director of Pharmacy Services for UMMC.

Everyone had a specific role. The technicians stocked shelves and organized the pharmacy supplies, while the pharmacists performed inventory counts on narcotics and controlled substances.

Our pharmacy department is known for using innovative technology: The Script Pro Robot counts over 40 percent of prescriptions filled and the Omnicell securely stores narcotic medications and documents any access to them. The Pharmacy IT team connected the point-of-sale cash registers and the rest of the technology. We also had the support of Agnes Ann Feemster, PharmD, assistant director of clinical pharmacy and investigational drug services, and Deborah Fay, project manager.

Thanks to our dedicated staff and partners, we were able to finish the move ahead of time.

We’re here for you. Whether you need to fill a prescription or just buy a bottle of OTC headache medicine, come visit us on the corner of Paca and Redwood streets!

Super Staff Beats Super Storm — Every Time

The forecasts and predictions around Hurricane Sandy had much of the eastern third of the country braced for disaster. Baltimore saw heavy rains, wind and flooding. But the University of Maryland Medical Center didn’t skip a beat, thanks to the dedication of staff members who planned ahead or braved the elements to get to work. Their inspiration: hundreds of patients and colleagues were depending on them.

 We heard about staff taking extraordinary steps to be available for patients and to one another. If you have a story of your own, or you know of something that somebody else has done, drop us a line at

 In the meantime, here are a few:

 From Karen E. Doyle, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, vice president for nursing and operations at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center and for emergency nursing at UMMC:

“While I was making rounds yesterday [Oct. 29], I stopped and spoke to Darlene Currin, a housekeeping staff member in Shock Trauma working on 6 North.  I thanked her for being here, and told her that her work was really important.  She told me that she had just arrived (it was around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.).  Darlene had walked all the way from East Baltimore to UMMC.  But, she knew she was needed and made the trek anyway.  Really unbelievable.  I was so inspired.”

 Currin (pictured above) said she doesn’t think she did anything that most of her colleagues wouldn’t do. “We all work here, we know it’s 24/7,” she said. On Monday morning, she was unable to get a taxi or sedan service (public transportation was shut down), so she decided to walk. It took her about 90 minutes.

 “I was soaked when I got here,” Currin said.

 From Monika Bauman, MS, RN, CEN, nurse manager for women’s and children’s ambulatory services:

“The hospital-based clinics officially closed on Tuesday due to the storm, but Ometriss Jeter, a scheduling and preauthorization coordinator who works in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, reported for duty Tuesday morning at about 6 a.m.  She rounded in all of the outpatient registration areas offering her services and making sure they had adequate staffing for the day. Once she determined all was well, she reported to our clinic, even though it was closed, to be sure we were ready for operations as usual for tomorrow [Wednesday].”

 From Karen Cossentino, MS, RN, CCRN, senior clinical nurse II and charge nurse in the Cardiac Care Unit:

“I was in charge in the Cardiac Care Unit on Monday, Oct. 29, and it was an exceptionally busy day. So I would like to thank all the staff for working together. Two nurses deserve an extra thank you, but they asked that I not use their names. One of them had a vacation scheduled this week but offered to work for a nurse who is a new mother who would not have been able to get home after work on Monday to her 3-month-old baby.  Another nurse from Professional Development came to the unit and asked if we needed any help. I immediately took her up on her offer and she stayed most of the day and went from room to room and nurse to nurse and offered her assistance.”

From Rehana Qayyumi, MLS (ASCP), medical lab scientist, Microbiology Laboratory:

After making up my mind to stay [at work during the storm] on a very busy Monday, I did not have time to think about where I would stay after my shift. Then, our wonderful Microbiology Technical Specialist Donna Cashara, MLS(ASCP), asked me what I was  going to do.  I just told her, ‘Yes, I’m staying somewhere,’ while very busy with my assigned work.  Anyway, she personally walked two blocks away to the Marriott [as phone calls were not helpful] and reserved a room.  She was like an angel for me when I finally reached the room around 7 p.m. and took a shower and my medicines and bowed my head down for my unexpected landing in full luxury. Did I deserve it? Yes, I think all of us who decided to pay for comfortable accommodations to be ready for the next busy day deserved it.  We deserve all the best to provide the best services. TeamWORK works!”

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Rehana Qayyumi and Donna Cashara

Cashara said it was tough to get a room at an affordable rate that night at the downtown hotels, but the Marriott finally came through. She said many other seasoned lab staff know when storms are coming, they need to look out for each other. She and another staff person led a department-wide effort to make sure the hospital had enough lab staff and that those employees had either safe passage home or a place to sleep. The hospital provides dorm-like accommodations, but some staff prefer to split the cost of a nearby hotel room.

From Cassandra Bembry, MLS ASCP, outreach customer service supervisor for the Clinical Pathology Laboratory:

Jamillah Johnson, my front-end coordinator of the Clinical Pathology Laboratory (a.k.a. “Accessioning”) volunteered late Sunday night to pick up more than 80 percent of our day-shift staff for Monday who rely solely on public transportation.  She also took these employees home and picked up our evening shift crew.  Jamillah has consistently shown a great deal of care and concern for our staff that is unparalleled, in my opinion, and acts of this nature are routine for her.” 

 From J.V. Nable, MD, NREMT-P, clinical instructor and chief resident in the Department of  Emergency Medicine:

“The [physicians in the] UniversityofMaryland Emergency Medicine Residency met the challenges posed by Hurricane Sandy head-on. Despite the incredibly inclement weather, residents continued to provide vital services at emergency departments and other hospital units throughout the region, including: UMMC, the Shock Trauma Center, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Bayview Medical Center, and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Because some residents have lengthy commutes, those who live near the medical facilities invited them to their homes for dry and safe shelter during the storm. Many residents volunteered to rearrange their schedules, taking extra shifts to cover for those stranded by the storm. As part of the backbone of clinical services at UMMC, emergency medicine residents demonstrated unwavering dedication throughout this unprecedented event.”

From Shawn Hendricks, MSN, RN, nurse manager for 10 East (Acute Medicine Telemetry Unit) and 11 East (Medicine Telemetry Unit):
During Hurricane Sandy, the dedicated staff on 10 & 11 East showed up ready to work, with smiles and a determination to provide excellent care despite the weather outside. I gave personal thanks to patient care technicians Theresa Hicks and Danielle Brown for coming to assist with the patients on 11 East after completing their care on 10 East, until help arrived from Monique Thomas, a student nurse who had been off duty but came in to help. And, also, to Jocelyn Campbell, one of our unit secretaries, who came in even when she wasn’t scheduled, to help with secretarial duties and other tasks on 11 East. Finally, a big “Thank you” to all my staff who stayed late or came early to ensure the shifts were covered! These staff members showed loyalty, teamwork, and caring when it was needed the most!

More Staff Storm Stories: Just “Another Ordinary Day”

Editor’s Note: Below are two stories from staff about their experiences during the recent blizzards.

By Kathy Berge
Senior Occupational Therapist, Psychiatry

There have been many ordinary days in the midst of extraordinary circumstances due to the snow this year. Each storm has become a bit more challenging to navigate, but with a little thought and planning and several dedicated coworkers there was no disruption of Occupational Therapy services in Psychiatry. I can truthfully say that this experience has really made me take note of how our department exemplified the Commitment to Excellence (C2X) initiative and the “WE CARE” standards.

When the predictions were made for this last storm, we were all told to make our best effort to make it into work. After the 1st smaller storm of snow and ice transformed my just-shoveled walking path and road into a snow covered mess, I began to shovel again to prepare for the ride to work. I then set my alarm for 3:45 a.m. Driving 10 to 15 miles an hour for about 1½ hours, I was able to arrive to work safely and on time.

The next challenge was navigating from the garage to the hospital on foot through all the ice and snow. After watching my coworker fall and break her ankle the day before, I must admit that I was feeling a bit vulnerable. As I entered the turnstile door, I gave a sigh of relief and was greeted with a usual smile by security. “So good to see you,” he said. Just a reminder for me that this is another ordinary day in the midst of extraordinary circumstances, as I am typically greeted this way each day I arrive.

When I entered the units, I found life as usual and many familiar faces. People carried on with their jobs and worked as a well-oiled team to assure best patient care. I was thrilled when 3 others from my small department appeared from behind the white crystals that were adhered to their eyelashes, hair, coats and bags. You see, they walked to work through all the ice and snow, taking short breaks when they could no longer see due to the ice assaulting their face! What an incredible staff!!

Together we were able to strategize as to how to provide services for each patient attending in-patient and day-hospital programs with only 40% of our staff! All the services were provided as usual with no interruption in care. When our work was done, we were informed by our director that the governor declared a state of emergency and that we should make arrangements to stay at the Marriott. In appreciation for a job well done, our director paid for our rooms so that we would be safe and comfortable!

In the midst of my ordinary day, I realized that the extraordinary was not the snow but all the special and dedicated people that I work with, making UMMS my destination employer of choice.

By Lijie Wang, RN, BSN, CNII
Nurse on the Surgical Acute Care Unit

I would like to share my inspiration during the snow emergency.

Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Rowen really earned my respect. I was called to work in the first snow emergency because I live close to UMMC. On Saturday afternoon, Lisa showed up in our unit to make sure everything was fine and to thank us. I was extremely surprised to see her, and asked her how she came to work during the blizzard. She told me she stayed at UMMC on Friday night. Around 8 p.m., I went to pick up my food voucher and met her again in the learning center, where she was helping to arrange meals and lodging for others.

I was deeply inspired by Lisa. She not only motivates the nursing team to deliver the very best health care to our customers, creates a work environment that allows us to achieve goals like the Magnet Designation, and helps us advance care through innovative research and education, but most importantly, she leads the nursing team by example.

On Sunday, I was inspired again by another two leaders: [Director of Safety] Jim Chang and [Clinical Practice Coordinator] Michael Harrington. They came to our floor as volunteers to clean the trash from patients’ rooms due to the shortage of housekeepers. They demonstrated the values of respect, integrity, and service through leadership by example, especially in the crisis situation.

Thank you very much for Lisa Rowen, Jim Chang, and Michael Harrington for inspiring me.

Photos of UMMC During the Blizzards

Photos By Jim Chang
Director of Safety

Editor’s Note: These are photos of what was going on inside and outside the University of Maryland Medical Center during the past week, when two blizzards dropped more than 40 inches of snow on Baltimore.