Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Celebrating Our Resident Physicians

Last Friday, I had the great pleasure of attending the GBMC annual dinner dance to honor the house staff. Once every year, we take time to celebrate the accomplishments of our trainees and to thank them and their faculty for all that they do for our system and our patients.

Dr. Brian Kaplan, the Chair of our Graduate Medical Education Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies. After I welcomed those in attendance and thanked them for all that they do, John Saunders, MD, our Chief Medical Officer and DIO (while dio means “God” in Italian, here it signifies Designated Institutional Official- our senior representative to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) made some comments and reminded us that one of the reasons for the creation of GBMC in 1965 was because the two predecessor organizations were at risk of losing their residency programs because they were not general acute care hospitals.

Dr. Paul Foster, the program director for Internal Medicine, presented the resident award to Sarah Finn, MD, the categorical intern award to Gurkeerat Singh, MD, and the preliminary intern award to Laurel Cummings, MD. The Internal Medicine faculty award went to Rudolf Pullmann, MD.

Next, Dr. Mary Louise Collins, the site program director for the Department of Ophthalmology, recognized our out-going Chair, Dr. Pat Wilkinson, for his many years of outstanding service. Dr. Collins then presented the resident awards to Angelique Pillar, MD and Roomasa Channa, MD. Dr. Pillar then presented the faculty award to Dr. Collins.

Dr. Kaplan then presented the Department of Otolaryngology resident award to Marietta Tan, MD. Dr. Kenneth Fletcher received the teaching award in Otolaryngology.

Bing Grumbine, MD, our Chair of the Department of Gynecology, then presented the OB/GYN resident award to Stephen James Martin, MD. The Gynecology teaching award went to Robert F. Pegues, MD.

It was a beautiful evening in all respects. The weather was perfect but the affection and admiration for their attending physicians by the residents, and for the residents by their teachers, was a thing of beauty as well. Having a teaching hospital is a significant reason for GBMC being the great care system that it is and we must never forget this.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It’s Hospital Week! Reflecting on the Value of Our Hospital in the Community

For 50 years, Greater Baltimore Medical Center has been serving the healthcare needs of our community. From the moment we opened our doors, our people have worked hard to meet our mission of health, healing and hope.

This is National Hospital Week. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate our hospital and acknowledge all that it means to the people we serve. In a two-week span this winter, we had two emergencies in our family and I was so grateful that GBMC was close and our team was so well prepared, hard working and caring.  On those two occasions, I was reminded that it takes the whole team, from parking lot attendants, grounds crew, patient access reps, and billing staff, to transporters, environmental services workers, food service workers, security personnel, social workers, care managers, physicians, nurses, clinicians, volunteers, and all other non-clinical and administrative employees. All of the GBMC family is very important to get the job done.

As GBMC celebrates its 50th anniversary caring for our community, this week is a great time to reflect on some of the things that make our hospital a great place to come to for care and a great place to work.

So, as we observe National Hospital Week, I want to sincerely thank all the members of our staff, Board of Directors and volunteers and everyone who has helped us improve our designs and make our system of care more reliable to move us closer to our vision: to every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.

I invite all employees to take part in the Hospital Week celebrations planned this week including:

Wednesday, May 13 - Ice Cream Social Event – Enjoy a delicious ice cream today:

  • 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. at the Emergency Department (ED) Entrance and in Civiletti Conference Center
  • 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. at the ED Entrance Only
  • 11 p.m.-12 a.m. at the ED Entrance Only

Thursday, May 14 - GBMC Mug Giveaway – Each employee and volunteer will receive a commemorative GBMC 50th Anniversary mug as a token of our appreciation.  Managers will receive an email with the location to pick up mugs for their staff.

Thursday, May 14 - Employee Wellness and Information Fair -- I know you are very busy caring for our patients and healthcare system, but please take some time to focus on your own health and wellbeing by joining us for the fair anytime from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. in the Civiletti Conference Center.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Honoring our Nurses During National Nurses Week

Each year, GBMC celebrates National Nurses Week and National Nurses Day (celebrated this year on May 6th). During this week, we reflect on the tireless caring that our nurses demonstrate daily in their work with our patients. I often write in this blog about how we at GBMC are transforming to fix the main issues affecting our national healthcare system.  I can assure you that nursing is not one of those issues.  This country has the best prepared and hardest working nurses in the world.

Our nursing staff is a phenomenal group – well-trained, smart and resilient. In fact, the resiliency of our nursing staff never ceases to amaze me.  Nurses are at the bedside 24 hours per day, 365 days of the year. They deal with whatever problems come their way and are the face of our healthcare system to thousands of patients annually. Nursing requires self-sacrifice and dedication. Through major snowstorms and other calamities, our nurses are there for our patients, whether they have to sleep on cots in the hospital so that they don’t miss a shift, or come in early to make sure shifts are covered. We in the GBMC HealthCare system are blessed to have phenomenal nurses in our inpatient units, in our operating suites, in our outpatient areas, our physician practices and in our hospice.

One of the hallmarks of nursing is compassion but over the last 50 years nursing has become a very technologically and scientifically challenging field. During my time at GBMC, I have seen just how talented our nurses are and how good they are at problem-solving. Through Lean Daily Management (LDM), I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of our nurses and have observed directly their dedication to improving care and moving us closer to our vision.

Last evening, as part of our 50th Anniversary Celebration, we held a reception for all of our nurses who had served GBMC for 10 years or more. I addressed the group and reminded them how GBMC had always been known for outstanding physicians and outstanding nurses. I thanked them for their dedication to our patients and for their efforts to continually improve our care. This beautiful power point presentation (below), displayed during our event, clearly demonstrates the value of our nurses and what they mean to GBMC and our patients. http://www.gbmc.org/workfiles/NursesWeek.pptx

Our Board Chair, Bonnie Stein, told them of how GBMC had become her hospital and health system even though she lives some distance from our main campus. She had initially been referred to a prominent GBMC physician who treated her very well, but it was the nursing care that helped convince Bonnie that she should get all of her care at GBMC!

Our CNO, Dr. Jody Porter recognized each of the nurses in attendance and also thanked them for their commitment and excellence. It was then fitting for us to also recognize Jody for her outstanding leadership as she prepares for her retirement. It was a great occasion!

So during Nurses Week, please take a moment to thank our nurses for all of their care and caring.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Time for Reflection

This has been a sad week for Baltimore. We have seen our city erupt in violence after the death of Freddie Gray. On Tuesday morning I saw a young GBMC colleague who is an African-American male and he looked a little tired. I asked him how he was doing and he told me that he hadn’t gotten much sleep because of the commotion in his neighborhood. I told him that I was sorry and that I was glad that he was safe and I thanked him for coming to work. I saw the same colleague the next day and he looked much better. He told me that he had gotten a better night’s sleep. He told me that the combination of the curfew and the presence of the National Guard had calmed his neighborhood. I again told him that I was glad that he was safe and I was happy to see him at work. What he said next stopped me in my tracks and had an immediate emotional effect on me. He apologized to me for what some people were doing in our city.

I felt very small and I didn’t know what to say. I live in the city, too, but my neighborhood was safe. There were no burning cars and no state police or National Guard. I agree with my GBMC colleague and President Obama that the people involved in looting and setting things on fire are in essence people who have perpetrated a crime. But, why did I deserve an apology? Why did my colleague believe that he owed me an apology? My young colleague appeared to want to take responsibility for the behavior of others. What was I willing to take responsibility for? So I asked myself what had I done to make our city, state, and country live up to the commitment of justice for all? What had I done to assure that all are treated with fairness and some are not singled out for abusive treatment? My answer was clear: not enough. The words of my young colleague caused me to rededicate myself to work for social justice, understanding, inclusion and helping others. I ask all in the GBMC family to do the same reflection.  To make an immediate impact, visit this webpage set up by the Mayor. It directs volunteers to specific areas where help is needed. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1sgvVWQkAO_OD20_veYNwWpkCbZKp9SMFEWhidcMqubg/htmlview?usp=sharing&sle=true.

A few months ago we setup a diversity and inclusion task force. I hope that this group can help us break down barriers to dialogue and make GBMC a better place to work and by extension, our community a better…and safer….place to live.

The GBMC Cares Program

Doctors, nurses, and other clinicians are sometimes involved in episodes that hurt patients. We have become pretty good at racing to the aide of the patient, the “first” victim, and at improving systems to assure that the error can never again result in patient harm. But what have we done to help the “second” victim, the caregiver who now bears the emotional burden of the error?

When patients experience harm as a result of an error, It is also stressful for the caregivers—those who have dedicated their lives to helping others.  Caregivers, whether directly or indirectly involved, often feel tremendous guilt and isolation, which can lead to serious mental health issues.

Second victims are left feeling responsible for the event, sensing that they have failed or questioning their clinical judgment. It is critical to get timely support after such events. Earlier this month, under the direction of Carolyn Candiello, we launched a pilot program, called GBMC CARES, whose main goal is to provide “psychological first-aid” to our caregivers involved in a stressful patient event.   The program, developed by the Maryland Patient Safety Center in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Hospital Armstrong Institute, includes a rotating group of 20 volunteers from our hospital staff, who offer peer support for any staff member who encounters a stressful, patient-related event. CARES team services are free, confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the team is here to help:

• Increase awareness of the second victim problem
• Equip staff with healthy coping strategies to promote well-being
• Reassure and guide staff to continue thriving in their roles
• Identify other support 

I am proud to have this important program in our hospital.  We realize how critically important it is to have a mechanism in place to support our staff and improve our culture of safety. Help is now only a call or text away. To utilize the peer support services of the CARES team, call 443-849-CARE (2273).

A Well-Deserved Award

Congratulations to Colleen Moore our SAFE program’s Domestic Violence Coordinator!  Colleen will be awarded the Governor’s Victim Assistance Award: Outstanding Contribution to Victim Services.  The award recognizes outstanding work done in the area of victim advocacy and services that exceeds expected work responsibilities, and exemplifies a high level of commitment and dedication to the field of victims’ rights and services and to the victims themselves. Thank you for all your hard work at GBMC, as well as out in the community, Colleen.  Your recognition is well deserved!