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Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Daily Nonpareil

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8A Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Daily Nonpareil

“We have a motto: ‘Every patient is my patient.’”

– Denise McNitt Chief Nurse Executive at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital

Leading those who love nursing McNitt is at home as new Chief Nurse Executive at Mercy

Who are nurses? Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers. Nurses work in emergency rooms, school based clinics, and homeless shelters, to name a few. Nurses have many roles – from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher – and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. – American Nurses Association


It was a homecoming of sorts for Denise McNitt after she took over as Chief Nurse Executive at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. McNitt has been in Council Bluffs for 18 years, she just hasn’t been at Mercy Hospital during all that time. She has, however, spent that time with Alegent Health as the operations director with Alegent Home Care and Hospice. “A lot of my time and energy has been spent in Omaha,” she said. “I’m very excited to be back in Council Bluffs, where my office was when I first started with Alegent. “It felt like coming home.” McNitt took over as Chief Nurse Executive at Mercy in February after the retirement of Connie Blietz. Blietz left after serving 14 years in the position. McNitt moved to Council Bluffs in 1994 to establish a hospice program at Mercy. She moved back to the Midwest to take the position and brought a wealth of experience with her, including a 1980 Bachelors of Science, Nursing graduate of College of St. Teresa’s in Winona, Minn., and a Masters of Science in Community Health Nursing in 1993 from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. A self-proclaimed “Iowa girl” from the Fort Dodge area, McNitt was ready to bring her family back to Iowa in the 1990s and Mercy was the right fit. “I was so welcomed by the Mercy family,” she said. “They set me on the right track and I have been with Alegent ever since.” While filling Blietz’s shoes will be no small task, McNitt said the nursing staff at Mercy will make her job a lot more easy. “Mercy has a tremendous reputation, not only in the community, but within the Alegent system and the region, for a high quality of nursing care,” she said. “It is exciting to walk into such a professional hospital with nurses who love nursing and care about patients like a family.” McNitt said she has seen a number of hospitals throughout her years in the business, but she has never seen teamwork displayed as strongly as the staff does at Mercy. “The quality of care is embraced by everyone here,” she said. “There is an incredible high-level standard of care.” Maintaining high quality of care is a priority, especially at a time when patients’ stays in hospitals are much shorter and nurses must do more things faster. McNitt said she thinks her homecare background gives her some insight into what families are dealing with once they leave the hospital. Providing tools for people to continue care once they leave the hospital is critical for future success.


A brief history of National Nurses Week

Staff photo/Erin Duerr

Denise McNitt became Chief Nurse Executive at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital in February. McNitt said she has seen a number of hospitals throughout her years in the business, but she has never seen teamwork displayed as strongly as the staff does at Mercy. “The quality of care is embraced by everyone here.” Patients have an average hospital stay of 3.5 days, McNitt said, so they – or their family – must manage their care once they leave the hospital. “We need to provide them with the tools to make good decisions and be as healthy as they can be, and not coming back in,” she said. Basically, nurses must manage a patient’s stay in the hospital and manage their transition back to their home. “Those are tough days when people enter back into their homes. Our goal is to open up and look at the continuity of care after they leave the hospital,” she said. “This will be really critical for us to succeed in the future.” The nursing staff is already involved in a shared governance model at the hospital, put in place by Blietz, that has staff-oriented groups involved in the patient decision making process.

We salute our Lewis Central School District Nurses.

Deb Blodgett

■ Total number of

licensed registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S. – 3.1 million ■ Total number of

McNitt said the process drives quality and engagement between the staff and the patients, and means that it is not just management decisions affecting patient care. “The beauty we have here at Mercy is that it is really hardwired. The staff is actively involved and have a say in things affecting patient care,” she said. “We have a motto: ‘Every patient is my patient,’ and it’s not just a slogan but something everyone really walks and breathes.” And that motto and teamwork is what has McNitt so excited about coming back to Mercy Hospital. “There are a lot of good things going on,” she said. “I want to make sure we honor the hundreds of nurses we have in Council Bluffs. We are really fortunate in this community to have such high quality care, and I think it is amazing the work these folks do everyday.”

1953 – Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of the following year. The proclamation was never made. 1954 – National Nurse Week was observed from Oct. 11-16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds. 1972 – Again a resolution was presented by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim “National Registered Nurse Day.” It did not occur. 1974 – In January of that year, the International Council of Nurses proclaimed that May 12 would be “International Nurse Day.” (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.) Since 1965, the ICN has celebrated “International Nurse Day.” 1974 – In February of that year, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week, and President Nixon issued a proclamation. 1978 – New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared May 6 as “Nurses Day.” Edward Scanlan, of Red Bank, N.J., took up the cause to perpetuate the recognition of nurses in his state. Mr. Scanlan had this date listed in Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events. He promoted the celebration on his own. 1981 – ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” 1982 – In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day.” The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” 1982 – President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982. 1990 – The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6-12, 1991, as National Nurses Week. 1993 – The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6-12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1994 and in all subsequent years. 1996 – The ANA initiated “National RN Recognition Day” on May 6, 1996, to honor the nation’s indispensable registered nurses for their tireless commitment 365 days a year. The ANA encourages its state and territorial nurses associations and other organizations to acknowledge May 6, 1996 as “National RN Recognition Day.” 1997 – The ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.

– American Nurses Association

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licensed RNs in the U.S. employed in nursing – 2.6 million ■ Percentage of

employed RNs working in hospitals – 62.2 percent – American Nursing Association

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The Daily Nonpareil

Saturday, April 28, 2012 9A

“Each day is different. Some issues are health related. Some are socioeconomic. We advocate for kids.” – Deb Blodgett Lewis Central school nurse

For school nurses, there’s no ‘typical day’ Roles inside school systems have expanded beyond caring for a feverish child DENNIS FRIEND DFRIEND@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

Marilyn Knauss became a school nurse for the Council Bluffs school district 23 years ago. “It used to be, we’d put Band-Aids on skinned knees, and occasionally take care of head lice,” Knauss said. “There have been huge changes since then. Now, we take care of a lot of kids, many with greater health needs.” Today, besides checking to see if a child is feverish, school nurses keep their eyes open for indications of neglect or abuse. They also will offer a sympathetic ear to a distraught child. “We do a lot of social work,” Lewis Central school nurse Deb Blodgett said. Blodgett’s been a nurse for 37 years, a school nurse at Lewis Central for eight. For her, there is no such thing as a typical day. “Each day is different,” said Blodgett. “Some issues are health related. Some are socioeconomic. We advocate for kids.” Blodgett and fellow nurse Amy Cook share the duties at Lewis Central with the assistance of health associates, all of whom have been trained and certified to care for more than 3,100 students in their care. “We cover all the school buildings and we always have an associate at each of the buildings,” Blodgett said, including E.A. Kreft Primary, Titan Hill Intermediate, Lewis Central Middle School and Lewis Central High schools. The staff is larger but responsibilities are similar in the Council Bluffs Community School District, where Knauss, three other registered nurses and 11 health associates han-

dle the needs of more than 9,000 students at 18 school buildings. Some students have complex medical needs. The list of health services offered to Council Bluffs students ranges from immunization clinics and blood pressure checks to seizure care and defibrillation. Asthma care, including inhalers and nebulizers, is available, as is tracheotomy care. Nurses and health care associates may administer insulin for diabetic care. “We’ve had three or four lifethreatening situations over the last eight years,” Blodgett said. According to the records for 2011-12 school year, health workers in the Council Bluffs schools saw an average of 461 students each day, administered daily meds to 227 students, made daily contact with 240 parents, dealt with seizure disorders in 49 students, offered 38 classroom presentations and offered vision screenings to 2,032 students. “We do things today that, even five years ago, we never dreamed we’d be doing,” Knauss said. The same is true at Iowa School for the Deaf. Most of the 104 students live in the dorms and a registered nurse is on duty around the clock in case a student becomes ill or is injured. “We have students with asthma, seizure disorders and other conditions that can create an emergency,” director of ISD nursing Diane Knigge said. ISD school nurses perform medical assessment and treatment, maintain health and immunization records for each student, offer short-term or overnight accommodation to ill and recuperating students, and

NURSING BY THE NUMBERS Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs)** ■ Number of RNs prepared as APRNs – 250,527 ■ Percentage of APRNs who are nurse practitioners – 63.2 percent ** Nurses who have met advanced educational and clinical practice guidelines.

Nursing education ■ Percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degree – 50 percent ■ Percentage of RNs with a master’s or doctoral degree – 13.2 percent ■ Enrollment increase in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs, 2008-09 – 3.5 percent Nursing and nursing faculty shortages ■ Projected shortage of nurses to meet health care demand by 2025 – 260,000 ■ National nurse faculty vacancy rate, 2010 – 6.9 percent ■ Percentage of nurse educators age 50 or older – 60 percent ■ Number of qualified nursing school applications turned away, 2009 – 54,991

Staff photo/Erin Duerr

School nurse Deb Blodgett helps kindergartner Casey Jones, 5, with a nebulizer treatment at Kreft Primary School. set up yearly dental and vision screenings. The ISD nursing staff offers influenza vaccinations for students and staff, can schedule in-house consultations with a sports therapist, and works with Boys Town National Research Hospital and with local audiology service providers for audio, hearing aid and cochlear implant needs. School nurses also lend a sympathetic ear to homesick students, especially to the younger children who are away from home, often for the first time. The school has its own hospital area with several beds, including a separate space for

students who may have something contagious. ISD nurses need to have some knowledge of American Sign Language. Some problems may not be life-threatening, but they are worrisome and a problem for public heath. “We had a pertussis outbreak a few years ago. We work closely with the health department, but it was daunting,” Blodgett recalled. The nursing staff sent letters to parents and closed and disinfected classroom, all the while maintaining contact with health officials. Just this past year, Blodgett added, a problem has arisen with bed bugs.

“We’ve seen kids eaten up with bed bug bites,” she said. It’s not a question of class or cleanliness, she added. “I have a ton of information on bed bugs now. We did our homework.” In the last couple of years, Blodgett and Knauss both said they have seen the needs of the students increase. “It’s socio-economic and affected by the economy,” Blodgett said. “In the last two years I’ve really noticed that what the kids eat at school in some cases may be the only food they’ll get. You go home thinking about this, about kids going home without a meal.” “We work a lot with the

counselors,” Knauss said. “If I notice a lot of absences, I’ll try to determine if the child has health needs or if there are other issues.” The best thing a child’s parents can do is to “Make it a priority to let the school nurses know the child’s health needs so they can get the very best care,” Knauss said. Even in an era in which tough economic times have prompted school districts to reduce the number of school nurses, Knauss said the work the nurses do needs to be kept a priority. In the meantime, “You do the best you can with what you have.”

Registered nurses still in demand Individuals thinking about their potential career path or a new occupation may want to consider nursing. According to WANTED Analytics, the leading source of real-time business intelligence for the talent marketplace, healthcare providers advertised more than 46,000 new jobs online for registered nurses in July 2011. There were five metropolitan areas that saw a considerable growth in the need for RNs. These included Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Atlanta. Los Angeles has one of the biggest demands for registered nurses. According to the data, recruiters at healthcare facilities in Los Angeles placed more than 1,400 new online job ads for registered nurses in July. With such an abundance of RN jobs available, individuals may wonder how to become a registered nurse. It begins with schooling and testing. Each state in the U.S. has a Board of Nursing that is responsible for setting requirements and licensing nurses who practice in that state. To earn a professional

nursing license, one must pass a comprehensive nursing test, called the NCLEX examination. To qualify for the NCLEX examination, a person must first complete a nursing education program that is approved by the state’s Board of Nursing. A search online for the Board of Nursing in your area can yield contact information and fees. – Metro Creative Connection

Thank you to our nurses and certified nurse aides for their amazing compassion, expertise and dedication to our patients and families.

– American Nursing Association

You Make Us Proud! Call to advertise: (712) 325-5700


10A Saturday, April 28, 2012


The Daily Nonpareil

Three are among the ‘100 Great’ Three southwest Iowa nurses have been selected to receive the 100 Great Iowa Nurses designation. Two selected are nurses with Hospice of Southwest Iowa: Brenda Winship and Teresa Hardy. The third is Tamra Ruff, an East Mills Community School District nurse. The two nominated nurses with Hospice of Southwest Iowa come from two different locations: Winship is with the Council Bluffs location and Hardy is with the Corning location. “Brenda’s most significant contribution to the nursing profession is her gift of a calm, quiet and understanding demeanor when she is talking with clients and family members,” supervisor Joni Vallier said. “She takes the time to listen when others are speaking and has outstanding critical thinking skills. She is able to formulate the information she has been given, and in a calming approach, assist in procedures or conversations to do what is best for all who are involved. “This is no easy task when caring for patients at the end of life. There are often many emotions from patients, families and caregivers, and Brenda is able to help them all ‘sift’ through those emotions in order that the patient is able to have a better death.” Hardy’s calm demeanor was also praised by her supervisor. “Teresa Hardy has been an RN at Alegent Health at Home/Hospice of Southwest Iowa/Adams County Public Health in Corning since August 2008,” supervisor Kathy West said. “Teresa’s most significant contribution is her gift of common sense with calming presence that is evident in her caring and gentle nursing practice. She has met many a difficult situation calmly and sensibly, and diffused the anxiety and anger with compassion. She demonstrates unrelenting unconditional regard for human life.” Ruff has been the school nurse for the East Mills/Nishna Valley Community School District for 11 years. For the 201112 school year, she serves Chantry Elementary, Nishna Valley Elementary, East Mills Middle School and East Mills High School. Ruff is a 1979 graduate of Tri-Center High School and a 1984 graduate of the University Of Iowa College Of Nursing. She is the daughter of Gordon and Ellie Kasch, formerly of Minden. Nominations are submitted by colleagues, patients and others, and the final selections are made by representatives of the Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Nurses Association, Iowa Nurses Foundation and the University Of Iowa College Of Nursing. Nurses selected for this honor represent many sectors of health care. “Those chosen for this honor are to be commended for advancing and leading the profession of nursing, and for demonstrating excellence in direct-care delivery,” program chairwoman Rita Frantz said. This year’s 100 Great Iowa Nurses will be honored on May 6, the beginning of National Nurses Week, at a reception in the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines. To learn more, go to


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The Daily Nonpareil

Saturday, April 28, 2012


“I just like being able to be there for the parents and the children.” – Nicole Dvorak certified medical assistant

On the front line Nurses, medical assistants just a phone call away

NURSING BY THE NUMBERS ■ Average age of employed RNs – 45.5 years ■ Percentage of RNs age 50 or older – 45 percent ■ Largest age group of employed RNs (5-year increments) – 50-54 years ■ Percentage of RNs from a racial/ethnic minority group – 16.8 percent


Pediatric nurses and other medical staff members are often the first people parents talk to when they have a health concern about a child. They’re the ones who answer phone calls from worried parents who aren’t sure what to give a child who isn’t feeling well, what dosage to give them and whether to bring them in for the doctor to examine. “If something doesn’t sound right or feel right, I always tell parents ‘I want you to feel comfortable – so, if you’re not comfortable trying to (treat them) at home … you need to come in,” said Nicole Dvorak, a certified medical assistant at Methodist Physicians Clinic, 1 Edmundson Place. Dvorak said she talks to others about what’s going around so she knows what to listen for. “Sometimes it’s a matter of asking more questions and gathering more information from them and putting all the pieces together,” she said. “The more questions we ask, the better picture you can get.” Parents may hesitate to call for the right dosage of an overthe-counter drug – but formulas and guidelines can change, so it’s best to make sure, Dvorak said. “You think ‘I don’t want to call just to find out the dosage,’ but it’s good to check with us,” she said. Sometimes, she needs to

■ Percentage of male RNs – 6.6 percent ■ Average annual salary –for RNs, 2008 – $66,973 – American Nursing Association

Thank You


KATHLEEN ZAJIC St. Albert School Nurse Staff photo/Tim Johnson

Nicole Dvorak, certified medical assistant, answers a question over the phone at Methodist Physicians Clinic. check with the doctor and see what he recommends, she said. Dvorak initially didn’t know if she would like pediatrics, she said. “I thought of giving children shots and being mean to them,” she said. But then she realized she

was there to help parents as well as children – especially to educate parents, in her current position. Dvorak was born and raised in Council Bluffs and graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School. She attended Nebraska College of Business

and left the area for three years and worked at a pediatric clinic in Ohio. She enjoys her job at Methodist Physicians Clinic. “I love the providers I work for, I love my co-workers,” she said. “I just like being able to be there for the parents and the children.”

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uring National Nurses Week, we recognize the dedication and achievements of today’s nursing professionals. These men and women make our community and our world a better place by providing encouragement, comfort and professional medical attention to the patients entrusted to their care. Every day, every shift, our nation’s nurses touch the lives of patients and their loved ones. We thank them for their extraordinary efforts and tireless commitment to caring.


12A Saturday, April 28, 2012

Exploring the field of nursing METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION

Enter a hospital, doctor’s office, adult care facility or medical clinic and you are bound to encounter nurses. Nurse is a broad term used to describe most individuals who perform patient-based care in a variety of settings. A nurse’s duties and title will vary depending on his or her educational background and the certifications and licenses he or she has received. The field of nursing is seemingly recession-proof. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 2.6 million nurses in the United States. No other career choice within the field of healthcare can claim such strength in numbers, both in the United States and Canada. There are many advantages to becoming a nurse, including growing employment opportunities. Over the next 20 years, the BLS predicts 800,000 vacancies in the field of nursing in the United States alone. Financial gain is to be had as well. Depending on the type of nurse, he or she has the potential to make anywhere between $43,000 and $115,000 a year, according to the BLS’sOccupational Employment Statistics Program. Furthermore, because of the wide breadth of nursing services, there is plenty of room for specialty application and advancement. Here are the common types of nurses and the type of education required to become a nurse. ■ Nursing aide/orderly: Nursing aides and orderlies help nurses care for patients and perform routine tasks. They spend most of their time with patients, serving meals, keeping patients comfortable, answering call lights, making beds, and giving baths. Most nursing aides work in a hospital setting or long-term facilities for the elderly. A high school diploma may be all that’s needed to become a nursing aide. ■ Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): An LPN studies for a year after earning a high school diploma and must be licensed in the state in which he or she will work. LPNs typically record medical histories, weigh and measure patients, record symptoms, and administer injections. ■ Registered Nurse (RN): AnRN typically pursues a two-year Associate’s degree in nursing or may receive a Bachelor’s degree in the field. RNs must pass a national exam before they are licensed. The duties of an RNare generally more varied and in-depth than those of an LPN and can include helping patients manage treatment plans. ■ Nurse practitioner (NP): Nurse practitioners are among the most educated hospital employees. In addition to their RN study, they earn a Master’s degree and may specialize in one area. Also, NPs may be able to work outside of the authority of a physician. In such instances, an NP can run a medical practice, diagnose and prescribe medication just as a doctor would. Although doctors are often thought of as the primary care providers in most healthcare settings, nurses are growing in numbers and have taken on many of the roles once reserved exclusively for doctors.

Jennie Edmundson

Nurses 1908

s, Early


Nurse undson



Welcoming. Assuring. Compassionate. For 125 years, it has been our Nurses that have made the difference to our patients. They have provided Council Bluffs and southwest Iowa with the absolute best in healthcare for generations.

Jennie Nurses of Unit K, Mobile Surgical Hospital, WW1

The Daily Nonpareil


The Daily Nonpareil

Saturday, April 28, 2012


“I learned so much about my patients from those nursing students ... It helped me take better care of (the patients) when I did see them in the office.”

– Dr. Suzanne Vandenhul, a family practitioner in Lincoln, Neb.

Nursing students learn importance of input son from reaching her goals. Earlier this year, Johnson and Djalilova sat at the Johnsons’ dining room table and talked about portion control, reducing salt intake and increasing the number of times per week that Johnson went to the fitness center to swim. Johnson said the last time she was at the center, the water was too cold. Djalilova offered to accompany Johnson on her next visit to make sure she knew how to use the center’s weight machines if swimming wasn’t an option. Djalilova also lent Johnson a book that offered ideas on how to incorporate more vegetables and fruits into meals.

Student-patient partnership puts health goals within reach BOB GLISSMANN WORLD-HERALD NEWS SERVICE

OMAHA – It’s one thing to tell somebody how to improve his or her health. It’s another to give people a say in how those improvements should come about. Students in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing have been learning the importance of patient input in an extension of a five-year, $1.6 million study. Health care providers are “really good at diagnosing and then making treatment suggestions,” said Teresa Barry Hultquist, an assistant professor at UNMC and the study’s principal investigator. “We’re not always good at partnering with (patients) to help them sort out what they can do.” The study, funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, was aimed at helping people with Type 2 diabetes. A total of 154 undergraduate students made more than 900 visits to the homes of 93 diabetic patients. Hultquist said the concept of meeting with patients to help them develop approaches to their health concerns has been integrated into the curriculum at the college’s campuses in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Scottsbluff and Norfolk. To start, the nursing students devise action plans to address their own behavior. “Maybe they’re going to exercise more,” Hultquist said. “One of them was going to give up chocolate for two weeks.” The students start out following their plans, “but life kind of intervenes. You’ve got tests, projects. Some of them forgot they even did action plans,” she said. Through the experience, students realize that if they had trouble following their own plans, patients with health problems may face even bigger barriers to success. With newly diagnosed diabetics, Hultquist said, health care providers try to educate them about the many challenges they will face regarding their weight, blood-sugar monitoring, exercise and proper eating. All the rules can be overwhelming, she said. “We’re not asking them ‘What bothers you the most about having diabetes? What do you want to work on first?’” If the patient can identify one area to tackle and be successful, she said, that can encourage them to successfully make other changes. The self-management concept expanded to other nursing courses, including a health promotion/disease prevention

Dr. Suzanne Vandenhul, a family practitioner in Lincoln, Neb., had nursing students work with young families and diabetic patients during the first four years of the project. The in-home visits helped patients stick to their goals and identified areas of concern, she said. The nursing students can spend time in the patient’s environment “where the patient is more comfortable. They’re more apt to ask questions.” The students can see what sorts of food the patients have on hand and find out how they’re doing – and offer encouragement – on their exercise and dietary goals, Vanden-

hul said. “I learned so much about my patients from those nursing students who went out there,” Vandenhul said. “It helped me take better care of (the patients) when I did see them in the office.” Djalilova and Johnson met again about 10 days ago and made plans to review Johnson’s progress in May. Djalilova said she learned from her interaction with Johnson, who has become her friend, and has used that knowledge on exams. Johnson said she looks forward to the sessions – that they keep her motivated: “You always need a little boost.”

2012Grad Greetings Graduation is right around the corner... Send a greeting to your graduate in The Daily Nonpareil on Sunday, May 13th. Let them know how proud you are of them with this keepsake of their special day! Submitted photo

Students in the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing have been learning the importance of patient input in an extension of a five-year study. To start, the nursing students devise action plans to address their own behavior. Through the experience, students realize that if they had trouble following their own plans, patients with health problems may face even bigger barriers to success. course, said Sara Goomis, also Johnson tries to eat right an assistant professor in the and to exercise but faced chalnursing college. lenges after she and her husA pilot program extended band, Dave, were forced from the time some students meet their home in Fort Calhoun by with their patients into the sec- last summer’s Missouri River ond semester of this year and flooding. beyond. Nursing student Delia Betty Johnson, a 76-year-old Djalilova and Johnson began retired nurse who meets peri- meeting in August, filling out a odically with a nursing stu- medical family tree and setting dent, had seen a flier about the goals for Johnson’s diet and program in the lobby of her exercise regimen. They also west-central Omaha apart- identified any potential probment. lems that might prevent John-

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14A Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Daily Nonpareil

“...the reason you’re here is this is something you enjoy doing. Your goal is to take excellent care of your patients, make their experience pleasant and make sure that they’re safe, that you’ve done everything in your power to make sure the everything goes well.”

– Jane Killion, R.N. Post-anesthetic care unit at Jennie Edmundson Hospital

Longtime nurses reflect years in the field MIKE BROWNLEE MBROWNLEE@NONPAREILONLINE.COM

Technology is always in lockstep with time, moving forward. Such is the case in nursing, according to longtime members of the field. “There’s a computer at every bedside, a barcode system for the safe distribution of medications, computer cards to keep track of each patients, electronic records,” said Sue Matthews, team lead on the medical-surgical pediatric floor at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital and a 14-year nursing veteran. “Technology helps streamline what I do.” Carol Deitchler of the Jennie Edmundson Hospital surgery department started in 1969 and became full time in 1980. She said advances in equipment have meant most procedures at the facility allow the patient to return home the same day. In the past, the majority of surgeries featured an open incision and a few-days stay in the hospital. Today, laparoscopic or arthroscopic procedures feature a small incision and doctors are able to look at areas of the body through a camera. “That cuts down recovery time dramatically,” she said, noting about 75 to 85 percent of procedures are of the outpatient variety. “People come in in the morning and head home at night.” Jane Killion of the Jennie Ed post-anesthetic care unit, picked up where Deitchler left off. Killion said along with equipment advances, the anesthetic drugs have improved as well. “Patients wake up quicker, there’s less nausea. And the amount of those same-day surgeries is unbelievable,” the 25-year nurse said. Outside of technology, Matthews said she’s seen an increase in patients with economic troubles. Patients, on a whole, have a greater need for financial assistance, which isn’t always available.

“We have lots of students that rotate through our floor. It’s fun to see them watch and learn and grow. Fun to teach them and help them on their way. I do my job because I love it, the rewards are great. I’d encourage people to pursue that nursing career.” Staff photos/Erin Duerr

Sue Matthews, right, team lead on the medical-surgical pediatric floor at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital, is shown above with Denise McNitt, Chief Nurse Executive at Mercy. Matthews, a 14-year nursing veteran, said “Technology helps streamline what I do.” At right, post-anesthetic care unit nurse Jane Killion, R.N., and surgical nurse Carol Deitchler, R.N., at Jennie Edmundson Hospital. Killion has been in the nursing profession for 25 years. Deitchler began her career in 1969.

NURSING BY THE NUMBERS RN population by nurse employment status, 1980-2008* 3



“Our focus is to make sure they have what they need to get well at home, and that’s a challenge at times. Our biggest need when they get home, keep them home,” she said. “But often times, they’ll have to spend money on food and utilities instead of medicine. A lot of people don’t have a car, can’t drive, so they can’t make appointments, can’t do follow up. “It’s a spinning wheel, then they end back up in the emergency room.” Something that hasn’t changed is the reason for being a nurse. “I think the basic, the reason you’re here is this is something you

enjoy doing,” Killion said. “Your goal is to take excellent care of your patients, make their experience pleasant and make sure that they’re safe, that you’ve done everything in your power to make sure the everything goes well. “People are pretty grateful for their care. That makes it nicer. You work hard for them and they seem to appreciate it. That’s the way it’s been since I’ve been in nursing.” “It’s fast-paced. There are changes in processes, we’re always trying to make it better, make it more efficient, make outcomes better for the patient and the hospital,” Matthews said.






* The totals of full-time and part-time employment may not add to the estimate of all RNs employed in nursing due to incomplete information provided by respondents on employment status and the effect of rounding.

– American Nursing Association

(From left to right) Julie Rayner, R.N., and Kathy Tremel, R.N., at Alegent Health Lakeside Hospital

Our Nurses Make a Difference At Alegent Health, we are dedicated to healing the body, mind and spirit of every person. This is made possible by the compassion and dedication of our exceptional team of nurses. Striving for an outstanding quality experience for all of our patients and families, our nurses have developed, refined and shared best practices and have standardized care delivery.

From the ICU nurse working tirelessly to improve the health of our very ill patients to the Alegent Health Clinic nurse helping our patients understand the importance of healthy living, our nurses are providing patient care that is unsurpassed. Alegent Health Nurses, we have a great appreciation for all you do, thank you.

In recognition of National Nurses Week, we salute our nurses for the difference they make in the lives of our patients and families.

1-800-ALEGENT Bergan Mercy • Immanuel • Lakeside • Mercy/Council Bluffs • Midlands/Papillion Community Memorial/Missouri Valley • Memorial/Schuyler • Mercy/Corning • Plainview • Alegent Health Clinic/70 Locations Alegent Health is a faith-based health ministry sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel.

Nurses Week  

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