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Two Swedish Hospitals Join National Nursing Skills Program

Swedish First Hill and Cherry Hill hospitals have joined the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACCN) Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy, a national quality improvement program designed to empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders.

“Involving nursing staff in a transformational leadership program such as the AACN CSI Academy truly helps inspire staff to take their nursing practice to the next level,” said June Altaras, Swedish’s chief nursing officer, in AACN’s news release announcing the program’s rollout in the Seattle region. “The evidence-based program supports nurses in their efforts to create relevant and lasting solutions for the health and safety of their patients.”

First Hill and Cherry Hill are two of the seven hospitals to offer this program in the Seattle region. Read the AACCN news release to learn more.

Swedish Nurses Honored by March of Dimes

The Washington Chapter of the March of Dimes honored local nurses at the 11th Annual 2013 Nurse of the Year Awards on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Meydenbauer Conference Center.

The Nurse of the Year Awards program recognizes exceptional nurses, creates awareness of professional excellence and promotes the future of the nursing profession, while helping advance the mission of the March of Dimes. Whether serving as a health care provider, educator, researcher, or chapter volunteer/advisor, these nurses have played a critical role in improving the health of Washington’s community.

One hundred and fifty nominations were submitted in Washington State. Twelve nurses received top honors with five award winners from Swedish Medical Center (SMC).

Inspiration in medical missions in Vietnam

I recently returned to volunteer in Vietnam for the first time in 13 years. On my first mission with One World Pediatric Care, I was still in nursing school, so I had limited clinical expertise, but being a native of Vietnam I was able to provide language skills and cultural knowledge to the team. I have fond memories of our team intro-ducing the Vietnamese doctors to Laparoscopy equipment and training them on its use. When we deprted, we left behind the Laparoscopy equipment. It was gratifying to return to Vietnam and find that Laparoscopy equipment is now readily available and in common use at Vietnamese hospitals and clinics.

This year, I joined a mission trip with Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC) from August 23-September 6. VHC is a student-led organization at the University of Washington dedicated to improving access to healthcare for underprivileged people in Vietnam, and recruits medical professionals to volunteer their services.  I joined ten medical physicians, two doctors of dentistry, one ophthalmologist and two optometrists to accompany the approximately 40 student organizers visiting small villages in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.

In Vietnam, we traveled 2-3 hours by bus from Can Tho city to remote villages to provide care. Once in the villages, the student volunteers from VHC set up the mobile clinics; our mobile clinic was usually up and functioning an hour after we arrived.  We set up different stations such as vital signs area, triage area, vision check, pharmacy, public health area and doctors’ offices.

We often served well over 300 poor and uneducated villagers in some six-plus hours of clinic work. To qualify for care at our clinics, a person’s income had to be below 400.000 dong, or about $18 a month. Many took the day off to access free health care but worried that without pay that day their family would not be able to buy food.

Upon ...

The Art of Nursing Complements the Science of Medicine

I first had the opportunity to speak with Sue Averill, one of Swedish's many incredible nurses, last year. As you may have read in her prior post, she's doing incredible work to serve in communities around the world, and shared a story from her recent work in Haiti that illustrates the art of nursing:

Last month I traveled with other nurses and doctors to Port Au Prince, Haiti, with Project Medishare, working at Bernard Mevs, the only neuro-surgical and trauma facility in the region. Project Medishare’s goal is to train Haitian doctors and nurses and to establish sustainable programs so the facility can function independently beyond the departure of expats. Among my role as ER and Triage nurse, I was anointed “The Hysteric Whisperer."

Many teenage girls and young women came to the hospital via ambulance or private vehicle presenting in catatonic states, hyperventilating or as “post-ictal seizure” patients. We soon learned that these were anxiety/panic attacks. One teenage girl was brought with ambulance lights blazing and sirens blaring for "seizures" – but made eye contact and was purposefully moving around in the gurney - not in a post-ictal state. The doctor approached the patient and shouted, "Prepare to intubate!"

Intubation was certainly not necessary. Three minutes later, I held the girl’s hands and helped her off the gurney and onto a chair.

With an astounded look on his face, the doctor asked “How did you do that? That was magic!” I ...

Nurses: At the Core of the Patient Care Team

Nurses are at the core of the patient care team. Whether a patient is diagnosed with cancer, admitted to the Swedish Neuroscience Institute or delivering a healthy baby, they receive care from a team of highly-skilled and dedicated nurses.

Many of us take it for granted that our nurses will be skilled, competent and caring. But how do new nursing school graduates learn how to be effective caregivers?

Swedish’s senior nursing leadership created Swedish's innovative Registered Nurse (RN) Residency Program in 2010, after doing extensive research on nationwide best practices for effectively transitioning academically trained RNs with bachelor's degrees to a commitment to careers in the stressful and demanding environments that nurses face in critical care settings.

The goal of the program is to address at Swedish the serious problems posed by a looming national shortage of experienced and skilled hospital critical care nurses. An important strategy for accomplishing this goal lies in reducing the troublingly high percentage of newly hired RNs who drop out of the profession during the first year or two after they are hired.

The inaugural Destination Swedish luncheon event on Feb. 11 generated nearly $500,000 for the program, which has been carefully designed to promote a culture of peer support and shared learning between new RNs who go through an intensive 12- to 24-week residency program together.

The following is an interview with Susan Jones, clinical educator in the program.

What is a nurse residency and why it is important?

Susan: Nursing school...

Making a difference, one nurse at a time

I recently had the opportunity to 'meet' one of the many great nurses at Swedish, Sue Averill. I say 'meet' because while I'm currently blogging from Seattle, she's volunteering her time in Guatemala and serving as a medical coordinator for a Doctors Without Borders project. Sue and another great nurse, Staci Kelley, are both ER nurses at Swedish Cherry Hill, Ballard, and Mill Creek. They started a non-profit organization three years ago to help nurses become involved in volunteer work at home and abroad. They offer a free directory of organizations using nurse volunteers that can be sorted to match nursing interests and skills to the needs. They also offer scholarships to help offset trip costs for nurses volunteering on international missions. 

I had the opportunity to chat online with Sue while she was in Guatemala to learn more about "One Nurse At A Time" and her passion for volunteer nursing:

You work as a nurse in Seattle, caring for patients in Swedish's emergency departments. What made you think about volunteering your extra time as a nurse?

Sue:
In 1999 a friend of mine was volunteering for Healing the Children and needed a Spanish speaking nurse to work recovery on a facial surgery team in Guatemala. I went and in one week, was hooked! I loved the work, the people, the process, the culture, the kids. I learned so much and gained far more than I gave. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done and by far, the most rewarding.



Sue Averill in Manila.

What sparked your interest in volunteering abroad? How did you find out about opportunities for nurses?

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