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The BMC Brief

April 10, 2014 Volume 3, Issue 5

BMC Strong: One Year Later

April 15 marks the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy. BMC will commemorate the anniversary with a variety of support resources and programming planned for the week of April 14.

Boston Strong

“Each of us will likely experience a range of emotions around this date, but for all of us this is a time to reflect on the incredible work of BMC staff from throughout the hospital and to remember and honor those affected by the tragedy,” says BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh. “This anniversary also provides us an opportunity to recognize that every day we provide exceptional care, without exception, to all our patients, including many who are victims of violence throughout the year.”

All staff are encouraged to care for themselves by taking advantage of the resources below and participating in activities that feel right for them. The full list of programming and resources is available on the intranet. A printed anniversary guide will be available at the BMC Strong flag raising ceremony April 14.

Monday, April 14

  • BMC Strong Flag Raising
    President Walsh will host a BMC Strong flag raising on the Moakley Green at 11 a.m. The brief ceremony will include:

    • Remarks by a Marathon patient

    • A performance by famed Irish Tenor Dr. Ronan Tynan

    • Sections of the America 4 Boston Prayer Canvas on display. The canvas, which includes artwork and signatures from more than 50,000 people in all 50 states and 30 nations, honors the Boston Marathon tragedy and is a massive symbol of America's unity and humanity. Staff will be able to sign a special BMC section of the canvas that will be displayed on Boston Common and Fenway Park later this month.

    • BMC Strong wristbands

  • Free coffee in Menino and Newton Cafeterias
    From April 14-20 staff can enjoy free coffee in the Menino and Newton Pavilion cafeterias from 6-10:30 a.m. and after 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 15 (Anniversary)

  • Pet a Puppy
    The North Shore Animal League of America’s puppy van returns to BMC and will be parked in the Shapiro driveway from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Staff can board the van to play with puppies and therapy dogs during this time.

  • Remembrance Service for Victims of Violence
    Pastoral Care will conduct a remembrance service for all victims of violence at 1 p.m. in the Newton Pavilion Chapel (second floor).

  • Moment of Silence
    At 2:50 p.m. BMC will announce a moment of silence over the loudspeakers in the Menino and Newton Pavilions to acknowledge the time the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon finish line. Staff are encouraged to gather with their colleagues to honor the moment.

  • Blessing of Hands
    Pastoral Care staff will round from 6-9 p.m. in the Menino and Newton Pavilions to conduct a “blessing of the hands” for caregivers.

Wednesday, April 16

  • Renewal Fair
    A Renewal Fair will be held from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. in Hiebert Lounge, located on the 14th floor of the BU School of Medicine Instructional Building. Staff can enjoy these services:
    • 8-10 a.m.
      • Labyrinth meditation exercise
        Walking a labyrinth is an ancient sacred meditation tool for reflection and spiritual enlightenment.

      • Music provided by BMC music therapist Linda LaSalle

    • 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
      Healthy snacks will be available.
      • Acupuncture

      • Aromatherapy

      • Blooms of Hope (floral arranging)

      • BMC and BU Employee Assistance Programs

      • Massage therapies, including chair massage, hand and arm massage, and M technique

      • Meditation (Qigong and yoga)

      • Narrative medicine/journaling

      • Reflexology

      • Reiki

      • Therapy dogs (BMC Healing Paws)

    Thursday, April 17

    • Caring for Each Other and Ourselves: No Step is Too Small
      How do we accept the new normal? A discussion on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will be led by Kermit Crawford, PhD, Director, Center for Multicultural Mental Health and Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology and Associate Professor of Psychiatry. The discussion will be held in Keefer Auditorium from 8-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.

    • Team BMC Day
      Staff are invited to show their support for members of Team BMC who are running the 2014 Boston Marathon to raise funds for BMC. From 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on the Talbot Green, staff can participate in activities and giveaways, including free food starting at noon (while supplies last).

    • Mindfulness Meditation
      BMC Chaplain Intern Maggie Lowe, PhD, will facilitate a session on mindfulness meditation with a focus on simple techniques for stress reduction. The sessions will held in the Newton Pavilion Chapel at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

    Ongoing Staff Resources

    • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
      BMC offers on- and off-site confidential counseling services, free of charge for up to five private sessions, to employees and their family members through ValueOptions, BMC’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP counselors will be on-site from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for confidential, one-on-one meetings. Contact EAP counselor Peter Manzo, LICSW, directly at 617-797-1559 or the EAP 24/7 line: 1-800-435-1986 to request an appointment.

      For BU employees: EAP services are provided by the Faculty and Staff Assistance Office on-site (85 East Newton St., M-1007) and on the Charles River Campus (270 Bay State Road). Contact BU EAP at 617-638-5381 or FSAO@bu.edu.

    • Looking Back: Marathon Responders Support Meetings
      The BMC Social Worker Support Team is hosting support sessions to provide staff with an opportunity to discuss the Marathon experience in a confidential setting. The sessions are for all staff who were involved in responding to the needs of the victims, their families and the hospital. Visit the intranet for details on schedule sessions.

    • Staff Wellness
      Self-care is vital to one’s well-being. A listing of BMC programs and health and wellness resources is available on the wellness website.

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BMC Showcases Diversity in Weeklong Celebration

In what has become an annual tradition, Celebrating Diversity Week (formerly Multicultural Week), held the week of March 17, honored the diversity of staff at BMC. The week featured musical performances from a variety of countries in building lobbies and culminated in the signature Celebrating Diversity Fair, where BMC’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) highlighted the different interests, cultures and ways of life that employees bring to BMC.

Celebrating Diversity Week
Lance Martin Band Performs in Menino Pavilion Lobby

“Given the recent introduction of employee resource groups to BMC, it was a natural fit to partner with them to demonstrate the unique qualities each employee brings to the hospital,” says Anna Chun, Recognition Events Manager, Human Resources, and co-chair of the Celebrating Diversity Week Committee. “The Fair was a great opportunity to build awareness and pride for each employee resource group, as well as educate employees on the value of being a part of one.”

Food also was a key theme of the week, with the Menino, Newton and Shapiro cafeterias featuring ethnic cuisines from Caribbean jerk pork to Persian lamb stew, each day highlighting a different culture. Live musical performances were held in the lobbies, with musicians performing Latin, Asian, European and North American songs.

The signature event, the Celebrating Diversity Fair, brought staff together in the Shapiro lobby to learn about the different resources available for BMC employees. The Multicultural Group, Pastoral Care, Kickball, Women’s Networking and Working Parents groups were stationed around the lobby to distribute information to curious staff. The Gay/Straight Alliance set up a display showcasing famous lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) celebrities and thought leaders. The Young Professionals group demonstrated how working style differs over generations from baby boomers to millennials, while the Military Connected group handed out American flag pins and more.

Celebrating Diversity Week
Bellydancer Aurel D'Agostino

The Celebrating Diversity Fair featured three performances to highlight cultural diversity. First, Sidi “Joh” Camara, immersed the crowd in West African culture with dance lessons to accompany the beat of his African drums.

Then Aurel D’Agostino mesmerized the crowd with her belly dancing. Her performance, featuring props such as a jug and a tray with candles balanced on her head, included a variety of folk dances from Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.

Lastly, the Silver Leaf Quartet, an a cappella gospel group founded in 1945, celebrated spirituality with a number of old gospel songs not usually heard today. The last of the original founders, 92-year-old Deacon Randy Green, led the group through its performance.

“Celebrating Diversity Week at BMC has become an annual event that our staff and patients look forward to participating in each year,” summed up Barbara Catchings, co-chair of the Celebrating Diversity Week Committee and Director, Community Outreach and Student Internships, Human Resources. “This year was no exception, whether it was dancing or singing along with performers, or enjoying the delicious international food selections. Providing the opportunity for staff to celebrate their culture resulted in a very successful week and we look forward to it next year.”

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Stories of Strength: One Year Later

One year ago, we asked staff to share their experiences in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary, we reached back out to these individuals to reflect on their feelings, their healing process and any lessons learned since that day.

I have always loved April. The weather is unpredictable but spring has finally arrived. There are daffodils, crocuses and tulips. There is my birthday and Easter and Passover and the Boston Marathon. And then there was last year and April changed. Maybe it’s the steady escalation of marathon-related media news stories corrupting my love of April. Or maybe it’s the daily emails: the ones from the Memorial Tribute, the Schwartz Center Rounds for Caregivers, the requests for interviews, and the ones from the Boston Athletic Association with information about volunteering at the marathon again this year. Or maybe it’s the many fundraisers for marathon runners or perhaps the daily sightings of runners training, often in Boston Marathon jackets from prior years. This ever-present reminder of the events of last year’s marathon has made it nearly impossible to think about much else, or to move forward, and I have begun to think that until the 2014 marathon has passed, we will all be holding our breath, waiting to reclaim the Boston Marathon as a celebration instead of a time when we were under terrorist attack.

I would like to believe that life will go back to normal, but I have come to the conclusion that we will never be quite the same. There was before the marathon, and there is after the marathon. Before the marathon we were a little more innocent and a little less worried. Now we are wary of crowds, big events and the possibility that this will happen again. I have been undone by a backpack left alone too long on a restaurant chair. The sound of thunder is no longer comforting. And the disaster roll-call twice daily in the Emergency Department has taken on a new seriousness. But there are also welcome changes. There is greater respect for pre-hospital providers. There is a sense of community. Not just the community of Boston, but the community in which we live and work. At BMC we are proud of the work we did during the disaster. We pulled together for the patients and for our city and for our workplace and it has had a lasting effect. Because of last year’s bombing we will be better prepared for future disasters. I would like to believe that it won’t happen, but I know that there is that possibility.

Have we healed from the wounds of the attack on our city? Certainly the immediate shock and horror of that day and the following week has waned. I can only speak for myself, but it took months before I felt any sense of normalcy return to my daily life. The sounds, smells and sights from that event eventually turned into memory, but the scar that remained has been made raw by the upcoming anniversary. Despite this I believe that those of us who were affected by the marathon will move forward, one foot after another, just as those whose lives were permanently altered by their injuries have inspired us with their courage to move on.

A few weeks after the marathon, when I found I couldn’t bear either normal social chatter or more talk of the bombings, I found escape in a cabin in Vermont. Alone with my dogs, no Internet or cell phone, hiking in the woods, I was able to find some solace. I will be relieved when the anniversary of April 15 is past, and the 2014 Boston Marathon finishes, as it should, in celebration. Only then will I head back to that cabin, on my birthday, for some well-deserved peace and quiet.

Elizabeth Mitchell, MD
Emergency Medicine

To view Mitchell's previous story of strength, click here.

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Stories of Strength: Stronger Still

One year ago, we asked staff to share their experiences in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary, we reached back out to these individuals to reflect on their feelings, their healing process and any lessons learned since that day.

As the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy approaches, the echoes of that day still swirl in this city and in our own memories, for on a day when evil was intended, a city sparkled more brightly than seemed possible. And the tiny buds of kindness and hope that first shot through the darkness of that haunting day have long since flourished and spread, and taken root in this city and in this hospital. We are a community and a hospital forever bound, not by the scope of the tragedy, but by the eloquent and seamless scope of our response.

Boston Medical Center shone on that April afternoon when uncertainty and chaos were the only things of which we could be certain; when we found we had only to look to the person next to us to find a hero. And quietly heroic acts abounded.

“I’ll find your family. I promise,” one nurse whispered to a terrified patient as another tenderly washed the blood from a wedding ring to spare a family member the sight, and still another found a ride home for a wounded runner from far away. And as the madness swirled just beyond the ambulance bay, and as patients were saved and soothed and comforted, and tiny rays of hope and light broke through the darkness, the staff of Boston Medical Center, with characteristically quiet and unassuming grace, shone a light on the darkness, and helped a city to heal.

And now, one year on what remains is this: an event that may have wounded the heart of this city and this great hospital instead has guided us to our best selves, to a place where we’ve always excelled—doing the impossible under impossible circumstances.

Today, the cries have faded to whispers, but if you listen—you can hear their echoes still.

What’s your name? I’m your nurse. It’s okay. Hold my hand.

What do you need? What can I do? Let me help.

And it is in those echoes that we see clear reflections of who we are—a true team dedicated to this city and to one another, and it is there we will find the heart of Boston—not just strong, but stronger still.

Roberta Gately, RN
Emergency Medicine

To view Gately's previous story of strength, click here.

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Stories of Strength: Springtime Brings Reflection

One year ago, we asked staff to share their experiences in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary, we reached back out to these individuals to reflect on their feelings, their healing process and any lessons learned since that day.

It’s nearly mid-April and spring is just settling in. Buds appearing on the trees, crocuses blooming, and the sun has finally started to warm us. As I make my way to work I ponder all that has happened over the last 12 months since the Marathon bombing. In the initial days it was organized chaos as our BMC community cared for the patients and families victimized by a senseless tragedy. Well-wishers visited patients and staff, all wanting to provide some sense of comfort and support through gifts and words of hope and encouragement. It seemed that staff in every department felt connected through a common mission to care for this group that had been so grievously injured in body and spirit by a random act of unbelievable cruelty. As April ended and then May, our last patient from the bombing was discharged to rehab. It was then I sensed that the staff could take a breath and feel relief that our patients were on to the next phase of their recovery. As the year progressed there were opportunities to follow some of our patients’ progress through media stories and social media. All seemingly doing well and adjusting to their post-marathon lives. Just as our patients were healing, we were healing, too.

During the Marathon bombing aftermath and even today, we continue to care for our own community of patients, many of whom suffer terrible injuries from violence, accidents and illnesses; their families equally distraught and wounded. But along with tragedy and loss, we also witness the joy of new lives entering our world and the remarkable recoveries all made possible by the collective effort of a staff dedicated to the mission of BMC. This is our everyday work, our pride, and our mission. It is that strength that carried us through the bombing and continues to carry us all today.

Christine Butler, RN
Surgical Intenstive Care Unit

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Stories of Strength: We are Boston Strong

One year ago, we asked staff to share their experiences in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. Now, as we approach the one-year anniversary, we reached back out to these individuals to reflect on their feelings, their healing process and any lessons learned since that day.

I still can’t believe it has been one year since the Boston Marathon tragedy. Within the year so many lives have been affected, lives have been altered and yet we still continue to LIVE. Live with the fact that so many lives were compromised due to a malicious act that has caused so much pain and grief, but we live.

We live with a fact that Boston is OUR city…a city STRONG!

Healing is not an easy process, there is struggle, there is fight and there is determination, all combined into ONE is what makes YOU, ME, US … STRONG! When I feel myself reaching my weakest point I find myself reflecting back to the Marathon survivors who have all rights to be weak but yet they have remained STRONG…so why shouldn’t I?

The Boston Marathon tragedy has taught me that family is not just the family that you are born into; family is a bond that ties people, a community and nation together. Family comes in all different shapes, sizes, colors and creed.

On April 15, 2013, I was adopted by a city and I adopted a city that will forever be my family, an unbreakable nation intertwined through every disaster. UNITED we are STRONG!

We aren’t just STRONG…we are Boston STRONG!!!

Kristin Jeffes
Support Services

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What do you do, Karen Hogan?

Name: Karen Hogan, RN
Title: Staff Nurse
Department: Emergency Department
Time at BMC: 25 years

Karen Hogan, RN
Karen Hogan, RN

What brought you to BMC?
I came to Boston City Hospital (now BMC) in 1989. At the time the hospital was doing a huge push to recruit new graduates. I knew another nurse who worked here, heard her stories about her experiences and it sounded so interesting to me. I left the hospital in 1993 and went to San Diego with my friend to work as a travel nurse. While it was a fun time in my life, eventually I made my way back to the East Coast and back to Boston City Hospital later that year and I’ve been here ever since. They say if you leave BMC, you always come back. I know so many nurses who left and came back, and it was true for me, too!

What do you do here?
As a nurse in the Emergency Department (ED), you have to be able to do it all – triage, trauma and emergency nursing. In our ED we have an A side, B side and C side and typically we have four nurses assigned to each section. If you are assigned to work trauma for your shift, you’ll typically work in one of these sections until you are called for a trauma case. If you are assigned to trauma, you have to be ready to act quickly. Today my assignment was triage, where I evaluated patients who came in and, based on my assessment, decided what type of emergency or urgent care they need. I try to be as thorough as possible during these assessments so that each patient receives the best possible care.

What do you like most about working at BMC?
Without a doubt, I like that each day is never the same. I am constantly learning and relearning the best ways to care for our patients, who always keep me on my toes. The stories I hear every day range from zany to funny to sad, and it’s these stories that motivate me to come into work and do the best job I can. BMC is a colorful place and I am thankful that I get to experience this piece of the world that not everyone gets to see every day. I have four kids at home, ranging in age from 15-9, and I use my experiences interacting with our patients to teach my kids to make good choices.

We hear you are running the Boston Marathon for Team BMC. Awesome! Can you tell us about it?
Running is one of my favorite things to do. I have run the Boston Marathon three times before as a “bandit,” or a runner who isn’t officially registered to run. This year I entered a lottery for a bib number and was lucky enough to be chosen. There are 11 of us here in the ED who are running to raise funds for BMC, and we’ve been having fun with the fundraising by selling T-shirts and candy. We recently hosted a benefit auction with a live band for entertainment. Adrianne Haslett-Davis, one of our Marathon patients, was one of our honored guests and she lit up the whole room.

What does the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy mean to you?
As you can imagine, our department played an important role last year, and it can be overwhelming at times. As someone who loves running and who grew up watching the Marathon, it actually angers me that the day has been tainted by such a terrible thing. It has always been such a beautiful event for the city of Boston, and I am eager to get to the point where it is a nice, safe, beautiful day for us again. The events last year changed so many lives, some for worse, some for better, and I know my department was not alone in trying to cope with it and comprehend what was done. I just want it to be happy again. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t acknowledge it, but I am eager to get this first anniversary over with because moving on will help us all heal together as a community.

Visit the Team BMC Marathon Fundraising Page to donate to the Emergency Department Nurses running the Marathon this year.

Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to communications@bmc.org .

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In Their Words

I am a longtime nurse at BMC. My husband's cousin is a captain for the Boston Fire Department and I received an email from him about the recent tragedy on Beacon Street in Boston. He says:

"The staff at Boston Medical Center was beyond fantastic the night of the fire. I want to say thank you from our department to all of those that helped us that terrible night from the medical staff to security staff. Thank you all on behalf of the Fire Commissioner and our whole department."

I thought you would like to see his words. I am a proud BMC employee of 30 years.

Jeannie Hanlon, RN, BSN, 5East MICU

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News of Note

BMC Volunteers Jeffrey Santos (left) and Sebastien Paul (right)

BMC Celebrates National Volunteer Week April 6-12
National Volunteer Week is April 6 through the 12. Since 1974, National Volunteer Week has taken place as a way to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by volunteers. In the past year, 520 volunteers contributed more than 30,350 hours in various departments throughout the medical campus. Volunteer Services is committed to providing dedicated and effective volunteers to serve the patients, staff and the community of BMC with services that support the hospital’s mission while providing an enriching experience for the volunteer. Please take the time to thank the volunteers in your area and around campus who are wearing a sky blue and silver lanyard.

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Awards and Accolades

The Department of Pediatrics has been selected to receive the annual Academic Pediatric Association Health Care Delivery Award. The award recognizes an innovative and effective program that provides health care in the context of a teaching setting. Pediatrics is being recognized for its outstanding leadership in the area of child health, for its years of program development for underserved populations and for the department’s commitment to education both locally and nationally. The award will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting May 5.

Contact Office of Communications

Communications Staff
Media information after hours: 617.638.8405

Boston Medical Center
Office of Communications
85 E. Newton Street
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Fax: 617.638.8044

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