Nurses Run for their ‘Heart Kids’

By Jen Arrington, MS, RN, CPN, and Kristen Fantel, BSN, RN, CEN

On Oct. 12, 17 nurses and friends of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) will be running in the Baltimore Running Festival to raise money for the UMMC Children’s Heart Program. When people ask us why we run, there’s one easy answer. We run for patients like Brandon Kerrigan and all of the heart kids that we care for everyday.

When Brandon celebrated his 15th birthday on Aug. 16, no one had any idea that two days later he would be fighting for his life. Brandon was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, and went into cardiac arrest while being flown from Easton to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Once Brandon was stabilized, his family was told that he would need a heart transplant. Since his arrival to the PICU, Brandon has been determined to get strong while he waits for his heart. He charms the nurses and staff with his bright smile and Nerf guns, just trying to be a normal 15-year-old, while cooped up in the hospital. You can see how charming he is in this picture of us with him at the bottom of our team page.

Brandon is only one example of a patient we are running for. We care for many cardiac patients in collaboration with the Children’s Heart Program. This program provides comprehensive cardiac care for children with a wide range of conditions — from rhythm abnormalities to childhood hypertension, from heart murmurs to serious birth defects requiring complicated heart surgery. While we care for these complex patients, they quickly become a part of our unit – we offer an encouraging smile to their parents in the hallway, we say our silent prayers. And on good days – we dodge Nerf guns as we enter the patient’s room.

The strength and resilience of these children, who battle against all odds, is simply inspiring. As nurses, we are often left with the feeling of wanting to do more. We carefully assess these patients for any changes in condition, we give medications, we advocate for their every need, and we attempt to play and create normalcy whenever we can. But we want to do more.

This is why we decided to run as part of the Children’s Heart Team. We don’t have a miracle drug and we can’t take away the heartache in the eyes of the parents of these patients. But we can run.

As with all of the patients we care for, the teamwork involved in the care of these patients is also inspiring. The team includes Nurses, Doctors, Child Life Specialists, Respiratory Therapists, OR and Cath Lab Staff, Rehabilitation Services – and many, many other people who deserve to be celebrated.

This strong team work was the inspiration for our fundraising efforts. We created a T-shirt that recognizes this team effort, and we are selling the T-shirt around the hospital in order to raise money for the Children’s Heart Program.

In addition to the shirt, we are also hosting a fundraiser at a local restaurant. Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at Blue Hill Tavern in Canton. The restaurant will be donating 20% of its proceeds from the day to our cause. Schedule a lunch with your co-workers, dinner with your family, or join the PICU nurses for Happy Hour – and help an important cause.

Want to join us in our effort to do more? Contact us! Maybe today we can give back a little bit of the inspiration that we have received from these amazing children.

To make a donation: http://www.ummsfoundation.org/picuheart

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 communications@umm.edu.

 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!

Ringing in Hope for Cancer Patients

For David Taylor, ringing the bell on the wall in the main waiting area of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center marked the end of 42 days of radiation treatments for prostate cancer – and the beginning of a new chapter in his life.

The Department of Radiation Oncology treats nearly 1,000 patients at the cancer center each year. Several times a day, the waiting area erupts in cheers and applause as patients, joined by family members and radiation oncology staff, ring the bell to celebrate their final day of radiation treatment.

Read the entire story here

Brain Attack Team Marshals Forces to Save a Stroke Patient

Six weeks after suffering a stroke while driving on the Baltimore Beltway, Paul Sargent, 45, is back on his feet, speaking normally and continuing physical therapy. A sprinkler fitter with the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters, Local 536, he often worked on ladders and aerials lifts that put him 100 feet in the air. While he has not yet regained enough balance to work atop a ladder, he is hopeful.

 “It’s amazing, considering what I was like that night, that I’ve been able to recover this much,” Sargent says, pictured here with his wife, Tammy Sargent, during a follow-up visit.

By Anne Haddad

During a heavy rainstorm the week between Christmas and New Year, Paul Sargent, 45, was driving his truck on the Baltimore Beltway. He exited onto I-795 toward his home inManchester. Within minutes, a convergence of difficulties forced him to pull over.

For one thing, he had been feeling increasingly sick for the last few miles. For another, the rain was coming down in sheets, making visibility difficult. His cell phone rang, and he could see the call was coming from his son, Curtis. But he was unable to coordinate his hands and fingers to answer the call.

Sargent didn’t realize it, but he was in the early stages of a stroke. He had been experiencing some occasional dizziness for about a month, but now it was disabling him. Somehow, he managed to dial the magic number – 911 – and talk with the dispatcher. Paramedics arrived and took him to a community hospital, where the emergency staff realized he was having a stroke.

Because the University of Maryland Medical Center is a designated primary stroke center, the community hospital called the Maryland ExpressCare offices to consult with physician specialists here — the Brain Attack Team.

As a primary stroke center, UMMC is equipped to deal with the most advanced treatments and the serious risks that are associated with those treatments. The conference call included Marcella Wozniak, MD, PhD, interim medical director of the team and associate professor of neurology, and John W. Cole, MD, MS, associate professor of neurology.

The Brain Attack Team arranged for the local hospital staff to begin the time-sensitive administration of the clot-busting tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA). While that drug, administered intravenously, made its way to the clot that was impeding blood flow in his brain, Sargent was on his way to UMMC via ground ambulance.

On the Neurocare Intensive Care Unit (NCICU), charge nurse John Pfeifer, RN, updated staff nurses who would be waiting to care for Sargent and accompany him to the MRI suite. Staff from Housekeeping Hospitality Services were making sure the room was cleaned and ready for the new patient, while nursing staff reviewed his case to be ready to care for him when he arrived.

Seconds after Sargent arrived, nurses and physicians moved him from the stretcher to his bed, while Ermias Aytenfisu, MD, a neurology fellow at UMMC, introduced himself to Sargent and began asking questions to assess his condition.

“What is your name?”

“How old are you?”

“What month is it?”

“Can you hold your right hand up like this while I count to 10?”

“Where am I touching you now?”

Sargent was able to answer most questions, but with enough impairment that an MRI would be needed to determine whether and where he had a clot impeding blood flow in his brain, and which path of treatment was most appropriate.

“We’re going to do an MRI, so we need to take your jewelry off,” Aytenfisu told him.

Another physician had been standing by since Sargent arrived: Joao Prola Netto, MD, a fellow in neuro-interventional radiology, was following Atyenfisu’s assessment to help determine not just whether they could get an image of the blood clot on the MRI, but whether they could use the latest interventional radiology techniques to remove it, should that become necessary. And when Cole became concerned that Sargent’s condition was becoming worse, he called for anesthesiologist Joshua M. Tobin, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology, to come quickly to the MRI suite to secure Sargent’s airway with an endotracheal tube.

Nurse practitioner Karen L. Yarbrough, MS, ACNP, acute care nurse practitioner and programs director for the Maryland Stroke andBrainAttackCenter, was observing and making notes to determine whether Sargent qualified for inclusion in any clinical trials, should he choose to participate.

One of the reasons Sargent was transferred was that he received t-PA, the clot-busting drug that must be administered within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, or the treatment becomes too risky. Even when administered within that three-hour period, t-PA carries a risk of hemorrhage. But after three hours, the blocked blood vessel is weakened from lack of blood flow. A sudden return of blood flow could cause it to bleed. Because of this risk, the patient must be in a hospital with intensive care nurses and vascular surgeons when t-PA is administered, so they can manage any complications.

After his MRI, Sargent was taken back to the Neurocare Intensive Care Unit, where the nurses specialize in the vigilant care required during a stroke. In fact, several nurses from the NCICU accompanied him to the MRI to care for him before and after the imaging procedure. They included: Betsy Raine, BSN, RN; Olga Pranov, BSN, RN; Ann Adams, RN; and Naomi Crosen, RN.

Once Sargent was out of danger, UMMC rehabilitation staff – occupational, physical and speech therapists – began working with him.

“As soon as someone is stable medically, we want them to start rehab,” says Cole. “The sooner, and more consistent, the better the outcomes.”

After 10 days in the hospital, he was discharged to Kerman Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital that is part of the University of Maryland Medical System, for 14 days of intensive physical, occupational and speech therapy to regain his strength, balance, coordination and ability to speak and swallow. On Jan. 20, he went home with his wife, Tammy, and their son and daughter — Curtis, 19, and Heather, 17.

Today, Sargent continues to improve. His speech betrays none of the impairment of those first few days. He has returned for follow-up visits with the neurologists at UMMC, but has continued physical and occupational therapy closer to home in Carroll County. He has aced speech therapy: He talks animatedly and a mile a minute, just like before the stroke.

“I’m walking by myself, and I can make myself a grilled-cheese sandwich on the stove without burning myself, but I don’t think I can get back up on a ladder yet,” Sargent says.

Whether or not he can go back to his trade, installing fire sprinkler systems in such Baltimore landmarks as the Hippodrome Theatre and airplane hangars that required him to be 100 feet up in the air, he doesn’t know. But he does believe he’s lucky.

“It’s amazing, considering what I was like that night, that I’ve been able to recover this much,” Sargent says.

 

Snowpile: Santa Sets Up a Satellite Workshop at the UM Children’s Hospital

By Shannon Joslin, MS, CCLS

Child Life Manager
University of Maryland Children’s Hospital

Being in the hospital at any time is a challenge, but especially so for young patients during the holidays.  Children miss their family, friends and their traditional holiday activities.

Here at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH), it’s a little easier thanks to some generous people in the community — grateful families of current and former patients, companies, local businesses and other individuals who open their hearts and checkbooks to allow the Child Life Program to host the second annual Snowpile event for children and families in the hospital over the holidays.

The Child Life team sets up a toy workshop from Dec. 21 to Dec. 23 each year and invites parents of children who are in the hospital over the holiday to come shopping (for free) for their child.

In addition to the toys, every parent is able to “stuff a stocking” full of goodies for their child in the hospital as well as stockings for any siblings at home so they don’t feel left out while their brother or sister is hospitalized.

We have volunteer gift wrappers to help with wrapping the gifts and we have coffee, cookies and snacks for parents so they can take a moment for themselves in the midst of their child’s hospitalization.  Last year, we had Girl Scout cookies donated through a troop whose leader works at UMMC. This year, we got donated food and drinks from the Au Bon Pain restaurant in the hospital lobby and The Penn Restaurant nearby onPratt Street.

Parents either take their gifts with them if there’s a chance their child is being discharged before the 25th, or they leave them with our Child Life team for delivery on the 25th.  Parents who have participated have commented on how this was such a help, for two reasons — finances are usually tight and their time to go shopping is limited because they want to stay at the hospital with their child.

If you would like more information about the Child Life Program at UMCH or how to help support children and families in the hospital, please visit our Child Life Web site.

Blue Holiday Service Acknowledges Darkness While Seeking Growth and Hope

By Susan Roy, DMin, BCC
Pastoral Care Director

As hospital chaplains working with patients, families and our fellow staff members, we know that the stream of cheerful holiday messages and images might only make it harder for individuals experiencing grief or loss. Each year, we offer a series of services for people who seek a more reflective way of coping with the holidays.

I am just finishing the program for our Blue Holiday services later today (12:45 p.m.; 5 p.m.; and 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.) and hope that it will be meaningful for anyone who is feeling a bit blue this holiday season. Around the country, similar services might also be called a Longest Night service because it occurs on the winter solstice — Dec. 22, the day of the year that has the fewest hours of sunlight. Regardless of the name used, these programs acknowledge the darkness that may also be part of our holiday season.

Arranged in four parts, the service is reflective – not depressing – and moves from darkness to light while keeping a balance between the two. The four parts are loneliness, death, growth and hope. Each of the four parts includes lighting a candle, a reading, and a musical selection. During each of the four parts of the service, participants will be invited to come forward to place flowers in a wreath to represent those whom they remember.

For example: during the first music segment – about loneliness — I might place a flower for my frustration at work; during the second, I might place four flowers to remember three people who have died and a friend who is estranged from me; during the third, I might place a flower for the way I am growing in my faith; during the fourth, I might place two flowers, one for world peace and another for hope.

The service acknowledges the darkest night of the year and symbolically allows us to acknowledge the darker parts of the human condition and our own lives. In the midst of darkness, we still experience moments of light and hints of hope.

In addition to the spiritual help needed, here are some practical tips from two physicians at UMMC.

Celebrating “Great Stories” in Style

By Chris Lindsley

Great employee stories occur every day at the University of Maryland Medical Center. On Monday, October 10, UMMC’s Employee Engagement Team, a part of the hospital’s Commitment to Excellence program, celebrated four such great stories in a moving ceremony that reunited patients and their caregivers and other hospital staff. The stories came from letters or e-mails sent to UMMC. Here is more information on the four stories recognized at this event:

A cancer patient and his wife, who described the “miracle” of leaving UMMC cancer-free after a five-month stay, and of the “exceptional care” they received from all hospital staff they interacted with.

The parents of a 14-month-old patient with a MRSA infection who arrived on Christmas night and left happy and healthy 11 days later and who, in describing the service they received at UMMC, said “we were treated as if we were royalty.”

A woman who suffered a leg injury in the Inner Harbor four hours before needing to catch a flight home. She was taken to UMMC’s emergency room via ambulance and was able to catch her flight pain-free thanks to some outside-the-box thinking by hospital security staff.

A co-worker who took the time to recognize a colleague for his dedication and work ethic.

If you have a great UMMC story you’d like to share, please send it to us at GreatStories@umm.edu.

UMMC Employees Celebrate Leapfrog Recognition

This one-minute video showcases footage from the Leapfrog celebration held on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 to honor the Medical Center being recognized as a Leapfrog Group “Top Hospital of the Decade.” UMMC was one of only two hospitals in the U.S. to receive this honor, which it earned as a result of being named as one of the nation’s best hospitals for patient safety and quality of care for the fifth year in a row. The celebration gave employees the opportunity to be photographed with the Leapfrog award and frog, as shown in the slideshow below.

Related Information:

Construction Update: Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

By Marianne Rowan-Braun
Director for the Campaign for the Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower

Six months into the construction of our new Shock Trauma Critical Care Tower, this photo captures one of an endless stream of helicopters arriving with someone from Maryland in need of life-saving care. The Shock Trauma team is here 24 hours each day waiting to respond. Our new building will be opening for you in 2013.

As the work progresses, inside and out, we look to the community to help us meet a $35 million goal to expand and sustain the first and only integrated trauma hospital in the nation.

Every gift helps to enable our mission of serving people in Maryland during their time of great need.

To help, please click here, and donate what you can.

Employees Celebrate Under the Big Top

Yesterday was a day of celebrations at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The morning featured the official groundbreaking ceremony for our new, 9-story trauma/critical care building project, while in the afternoon the focus shifted to an employee celebration. The event featured food, carnival games, dancing and much more, with smiles and fun being the order of the day, as seen in the video and photo gallery below.