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The BMC Brief

May 13, 2011                                     Volume 1, Issue 2 

BMC Celebrates National Nurses Week
A Day of Hope, Inspiration for Cancer Survivors
BMC Rounds

BMC Celebrates National Nurses Week

BMC nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) were honored for their hard work and dedication during National Nurses Week, which began on May 6. Each year, the weeklong series of events, including teas, workshops and awards, recognizes the contributions that nursing professionals make every day to help keep BMC patients healthy.

Boston Medical Center recognizes nurses for their excellence each year during National Nurses Week.
A group of the nursing award winners after the ceremony.

"Nursing is the cornerstone and heart of care delivery at BMC and National Nurses Week gives us the opportunity to consider the incredible contributions made by our nurses," said Senior Vice President for Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Officer Lisa O’Connor, RN, BSN, MS, NEAA-BC. "I am proud to represent nursing at BMC, a group whose commitment to caring is palpable at every turn."

The week got started with a daylong integrative nursing conference on May 7. More than 200 participants attended the program, which focused on healing and included workshops with holistic leaders, as well as an archival display in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

President & CEO Kate Walsh and Vice President for Nursing Operations Kim Perryman, MM, RN, NE-BC, co-hosted an afternoon tea for nurses in appreciation for their dedication to patients and colleagues. "If you have ever been a patient, you know how important nurses are," said Walsh. "It’s vital that we work together to continually find new ways to enhance that role to benefit our patients."

CNAs also were invited to an afternoon tea hosted by Perryman in collaboration with other members of nursing leadership. Additional events included Nursing Grand Rounds, which focused on how BMC nurses helped the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. A six-member improv group from True Story Theater also performed skits based on true stories told directly by nurses in Bakst Auditorium.

Establishing a new tradition, more than 25 BMC nurses contributed to the first edition of Nursing Narratives, a collection of stories about their personal experiences as nurses. According to the introduction, "Narrative nursing allows us to improve the effectiveness of nursing care by developing the capacity for our attention, reflection, representation and affiliation with patients and colleagues."

One nurse, who wrote anonymously, recounted the night a 12-year-old boy with a subarachnoid hemorrhage passed away shortly after arriving at the Emergency Department. The patient and his parents were visiting from Japan, and the young boy had been his parents’ interpreters as they did not speak English. "Although we never communicated in spoken words, I felt they knew I understood as I sat with them. I have always felt that made a difference to them," said the nurse.

The nominations for the annual peer-nominated Nurse Excellence Awards reached record numbers this year, said Perryman. "There is a tremendous amount of respect, talent and passion among nurses here at BMC and the annual awards ceremony is a time to reflect on the nurses who take wonderful care of patients everyday and carry out our mission throughout the year."

The Nurse Excellence awards recognize nurses for their outstanding contributions to nursing and patient care. When nominating a colleague, nurses are asked to think about a nurse who they would let take care of a family member and who makes working at BMC more enjoyable. This year’s winners: Elaine Barter, RN, PACU; Charles Borzilleri, RN, Newton OR; Lisa Marie Driver, RN, Labor & Delivery; Lisa L. Griffin, RN, 7 West; Bridget  P. Libby, RN, Newton SICU; Joan M. McDonald, RN, 7 East; Catherine A. McDonough McGrath, RN, Information Services; Jeanne Murray, RN, IV Nursing; Mary E. O’Brien, RN, Float Pool; and Bernadette O’Donnell, RN, 8 West.

The Lynn Ronan "Celebration of Life" Award, given annually to honor the dedication, focus and quirky sense of humor that Ronan embodied, was presented to Ann Hernon, RN, Cardiovascular Center. The annual Anne Hargreaves Award for nursing excellence was given to Endoscopy Technician Nelson Garcia. The Peggy Cenci Memorial Award, which recognizes an unsung hero, went to Patricia Corwin, RN, 6N/7N. The James Packer Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Stacy Lamitie, unit coordinator, Menino OR.

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A Day of Hope, Inspiration for Cancer Survivors

Cancer Survivors Howard Peacock and Richard Aliberti met at a cancer support group at BMC.
Survivors Howard Peacock and Richard Aliberti.

The Newton Pavilion lobby was filled with grateful patients and their families May 7 for the 7th Annual Cancer Survivorship Celebration. The event, co-hosted by BMC’s Cancer Survivorship Program and Friends of Women’s Health, honors BMC patients for courageously battling their illness. 

The Cancer Survivorship Program, a component of BMC’s Cancer Support Services, offers comprehensive services, such as support groups and workshops, to help patients and families cope with a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. The program also provides education about treatment and clinical trial options, as well as assistance with insurance, child care and transportation issues.

BMC President & CEO Kate Walsh, who also is a cancer survivor, addressed the 335 attendees at the celebration and thanked them for choosing BMC for their cancer care. "Your courage inspires us every day," said Walsh.

Michael Stone, MD, Chief of Surgical Oncology, and David Seldin, MD, PhD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology, as well as the Rev. Jennie Gould, PhD, welcomed survivors and their families to the hospital’s largest cancer support program of the year.  

Guest speaker was Kate O’Leary, who was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2008 and came to BMC for her treatment and surgery. O’Leary likened battling cancer to running a marathon, a feat she had accomplished just months before she was diagnosed with cancer. "Think of yourselves as marathon runners who are running and winning the gift of life," said O’Leary.

The event gives survivors an opportunity to meet others who have had similar experiences. For Debra Herrera, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009, that means attending events like this, as well as monthly support groups at BMC for women with ovarian cancer. "Meeting other women going through what I am going through has been a blessing," said Herrera. "I would not have been able to make it through without BMC."

Roy Davis, a BMC patient who has been living without cancer since 2005, has attended the event every year. "You are never free from cancer, and it would be hard to cope without support groups and events like this," he said.

More than 30 volunteers, including staffers, helped make the event a success. Susan Donahue, a member of the BMC Board of Trustees, coordinated the luncheon on behalf of Friends of Women’s Health. "I am humbled by the level of commitment and dedication from the volunteers and staff who go above and beyond the call of duty for these survivors," said Donahue, who has worked on this event for the past six years.

A number of local organizations and donors added to the event’s success. The Friends of Women’s Health provided each survivor with a corsage when they arrived. Atlantic Photo took portraits for survivors and their families, which they received during the event. The food, which included sandwiches, salads and deserts, was catered by Smokey’s Longhorn and the Original Gourmet Lauren Catering.  BMC Dining Services also provided sandwiches. The Bishop Family generously provided transportation for survivors and their families to and from the event, and parking was free for those who drove to the event. The table flower arrangements, donated by That Bloomin’ Place, and a number of prizes including Red Sox tickets and Elizabeth Grady gift bags, also were given away.

"This event represents a day of healing and hope for cancer survivors," said Kathleen Finn, RN, NP, director of Cancer Support Programs and Cancer Clinical Trials at BMC. "We want them to have a few hours where they don’t have to think about their next test result and can really focus on enjoying themselves during an event dedicated to them and their families."

For more information, please visit: BMC’s Cancer Care Center

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BMC Rounds

Boston Medical Center's 15th Annual Gala raised an estimated $2.5 million.
The Tufts University Beelzebubs performed at the Gala.

BMC’s 15th Annual Gala, which was held at the Seaport World Trade Center on May 7, set a new fundraising record for the signature event, raising an estimated $2.5M for the hospital. More than 1,000 guests were in attendance to honor long-time BMC supporters U.S. Ambassador to Spain Alan Solomont and his wife, Susan Lewis Solomont, and pay tribute to the hospital’s services to the Greater Boston community. Gala guests enjoyed performances by the Tufts University Beelzebubs and a Berklee College of Music flamenco ensemble, featuring pianist Ariadna Castellanos Pliego. View photos from the Gala.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is disseminating a single-question screening tool nationwide, which was developed at BMC under the direction of Richard Saitz, MD, and Peter Smith, MD, Internal Medicine, to help physicians identify and briefly counsel drug-using patients in primary care settings. Called the Quick Screen by NIDA, the question prompts the patient to inform the provider about their illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse over the previous year.

For the fourth consecutive year, Ashley Zolenski, Development, ran the Boston Marathon for Team BMC. This year Ashley ran to raise money for cancer care services to benefit people like her friend Jamie Riehle, a BMC patient who has battled cancer since 2004. Ashley surpassed her $10,000 fundraising goal, and has raised $11,787.64 to date. Way to go, Ashley!

A group of congressional staff members came to BUSM and BMC on April 27 as part of the Project Medical Education (PME) program, coordinated by the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH). This program educates congressional staffers about the importance and benefits of medical education so that they can better counsel congressional members on legislation pertaining to medical education and health care. Program participants, who represented Massachusetts Congressmen William Keating and Jim McGovern among others, spent a half day on campus, as well as at other COBTH institutions to experience what it is like to be a medical student and resident. They started their day at BUSM, where they experienced a White Coat ceremony, a tradition for every medical student, followed by lectures and simulated activities with faculty members, and culminated with Match Day. Then they came to BMC where they spent time as "residents," shadowing Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine residents in the ED and inpatient units.

BMC received the Silver Medal of Honor from the Health Resources and Services Administration for the hospital’s organ donation efforts, which was presented to staff members, including Chris Andry, PhD, executive director of cancer care services, by representatives from the New England Organ Bank on April 28. In recognition of National Organ Donor Month, Rosemary Saraiva, whose daughter passed away in 2006 and donated her organs, spoke about the care and compassion she and her family received at BMC. "I might not remember the words, but I remember the kindness," said Saraiva. Her daughter Rachel, who was 23 when she died, had decided a short time prior to the fatal car accident that she wanted to be an organ donor. Both of Rachel’s kidneys and her liver were donated to recipients. View a photo from the event.

BMC employees celebrated Earth Day on April 2, where they had the chance to recycle empty ink cartridges, old batteries and pick up energy-efficient light bulbs. Representatives from Zip Car, Farmer Dave’s, Starbucks and Stericycle were here to answer questions and hand out samples, and TranSComm provided employees with information about "green" commuting options, including bike riding and carpooling. The events were organized by BMC’s Green Committee.

Awards & Accolades

Lewis E. Braverman, MD, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, was presented the H. Jack Baskin, MD, Endocrine Teaching Award from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). The award is given annually to a member who has made a profound impact in teaching fellows-in-training and who is actively involved in teaching either in a university setting or through AACE.

Catherine J. Brown, RN, BSN, MSN, ONC, CLNC, Nurse Manager of NP 7West, was selected to participate in the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives’ Leadership Academy, a two-month program, focused on expanding the knowledge, practice and character of nursing leaders for the benefit of patients and nurses across the continuum.

Bettina Lum, RN, BSN, has been appointed Assistant Nurse Manager for the Center for Infectious Diseases; Pulmonary, Asthma and Allergy Clinic; and the Geriatric Clinic. Tina has experience in home care, emergency medicine and acute care as a staff nurse and supervisor.

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