Archive for September, 2009

Recognition: Joseph G. Sylvester Award

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Each year, for the past 29 years, the Medical Staff of McLeod Regional Medical Center has presented The Joseph G. Sylvester Award to the new Registered Nurse candidate who best exemplifies high standards of health care and selfless devotion to the nursing profession.

Sylvester Awards08-09

Kristin O'Neal, RN and Elizabeth Wright, RN accept their Sylvester awards.


Joseph Sylvester was an Austrian born and educated physician who eventually moved to Florence in 1939 to begin his medical practice at McLeod Infirmary.  Dr. Sylvester was known for his high standards, medical professionalism and dedication to the provision of excellent health care.  The award that bears his name was established in his honor in remembrance of his high ideals. 

In order to be eligible for the Sylvester Award, a nurse must have recently graduated from of a Registered Nursing program, worked for McLeod at least one year and not have worked at any other facility as a nurse. Those nominated must demonstrate excellence in nursing practice. There is a two phase selection process for the winner of this prestigious award.  In the first phase, members of the nursing leadership team vote for the top 3 candidates for the award. The final selection of the winner is made by members of the McLeod Medical Staff.  This year, McLeod named the winner for both 2008 and 2009.

The 2008 award winner is Elizabeth Wright. Elizabeth is currently employed in MICU. Elizabeth graduated from Florence Darlington Technical College August 8, 2006, and started her career at McLeod on September 11, 2006. In January of 2008, Elizabeth was promoted to the position of Patient Care Supervisor. She has two daughters,(2 1/2) and (4 months). Elizabeth intends to return to school to obtain a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in nursing and she would eventually like to eventually become a nurse educator.

The 2009 recipient of the Sylvester Award is Kristin O’Neal.  Kristen, graduated in May of 2008, is also employed in MICU.  A graduate of Florence-Darlington Technical College, she began her career as a Registered Nurse at McLeod on June 10, 2008. Kristen is married and has four children.  She plans to pursue a Bachelor’s and Masters in nursing.  Kristen says that she intends to “evolve and learn, and be attentive to the direction my profession is leading me.”  “I want to always progress in my profession by expanding my knowledge and skill while always being able to work closely with my patients.”

Congratulations to both the 2008 and 2009 recipients of the Sylvester Award.

H1N1 Vaccine

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Soon we will be offering the H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine to all employees. The vaccine will be voluntary and top federal health officials highly recommend that everyone get vaccinated (see  The vaccine is the best defense against the acquiring and spreading the 2009 H1N1 flu.

Currently, the vaccine will be available in one (1) dose and will be free to McLeod employees who want to take the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that the following ‘target’ groups receive the vaccination first, in this order:
·    Pregnant women
·    Households and caregiver contacts of children younger than 6    months of age. This includes parents, siblings, and day-care providers.
·    Health care and emergency medical services personnel
·    Persons from 6 month through 24 years of age
·    Persons aged 25 through 64 who have medical conditions associated with a higher risk of influenza complications.
·    All persons aged 25 through 64 years of age.
·    Persons older than 65

As we have supply from the government we will make it available to these people first and then to all who would like to take the vaccine.  Our Employee Health and Infection Control departments are working to determine the most efficient way to ensure that every employee can receive the vaccine. We expect the H1N1 vaccine to be available in late October.

In the meantime, watch for signs and symptoms of influenza in yourself, relatives, co-workers, and individuals in your care. The signs and symptoms of 2009 H1N1 influenza are: fever, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, cough/head and lung congestion and possibly diarrhea/nausea/vomiting. If you develop these symptoms, contact a healthcare provider and your supervisor immediately. If you are sick, stay home. If you want more information about the H1N1 flu visit, or contact: McLeod Department of Epidemiology ext. 6421 or Employee Health ext. 5152.

McLeod Foundation Awards Nearly $1.5 Million in Grants

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Congratulations to the recipients of grants awarded this year through the McLeod Health Foundation.

We are pleased to announce that the McLeod Health Foundation has approved and supported programs in the 2008-2009 year in the amount of $1,434,734.50.  These grants requests were submitted  for projects, equipment, services and improvements to patient care. After thorough thought and review, they have been approved by the McLeod Health Foundation Board of Trustees.  The Foundation Trustees are pleased to support these programs that benefit our patients and would like to thank you for supporting the work of the McLeod Foundation.

If you have any questions or comments, please see the comment section below.


McLeod Health Foundation
Program Grants for year ending, September 30, 2009

Grants By Fund Payment Amount
Indigent Drug Fund 09 12,475.55
Beyond Beauty Orthopedics 794.00
Medical Students Training 5,000.00
Dillon Emergency D Stretches 15,733.00
Dillon Community Health Education Program 7,000.00
Radiology Equipment – Colon Insufflator 12,312.00
Children’s Hospital Grant 2007/08 51,860.00
Newborn Hearing Screening 13,780.00
Children’s Grant in honor of  Dr. Atwood 1,604.00
Children’s Hospital Grant 2008/09 466,100.00
Safe Kids 09 31,633.75
Pediatric Rehabilitation Patients 2,847.70
Infant Safety 3 bassinets 1,672.95
Infant Nutrition Medela Breast Pump 1,243.24
Hospice Program Grant 2009 100,000.00
Hospice Sensory Garden 132,000.00
Cancer Survivors Day 3,700.00
Home Health Cares Program 4,300.00
Duke Endowment Peri-natal Monitoring System for Dillon 196,345.00
Family Medicine Life Books 3,990.00
Family Medicine Honduras Medical Aide 1,500.00
Dillon Cardiac Rehabilitation Telemetry 58,900.00
Cardiovascular Ultrasound System 80,665.00
HeartReach Ambulance 124,476.00
Dillon Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients 6,281.81
MRMC Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients 3,000.00
Mammography Unit 80,000
Duke Endowment Child Obesity Initiative 15,520.50
McLeod Guest House 90,000
New Pediatric Rehab Center 179,000
Payments to McLeod 1,437,424.50

America’s Health Future Act

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

The inserted hyperlink of the American Hospital Association Advisory is a detailed summary of the America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009, a health care reform bill released last week by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).  While this is not the final bill on health care reform, this is the committee that we were advised to monitor closer than the other proposed bills from various House and Senate Committees.  If you have any thoughts or comments, please respond in the comment section below.

American Hospital Association Advisory


Recognizing Service and Commitment

Friday, September 18th, 2009

On Thursday evening, September 17,  McLeod Health hosted the second of three award banquets for McLeod Health honoring our people for their service to others.  McLeod Dillon will host their service recognition event on October 28. Each year, we pause to recognize and celebrate the anniversary of people who have continuously served at McLeod for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years. In some years, we have honored team members with the distinction of serving McLeod for 45 and 50 years, an extraordinary and long term dedication to their vocation of helping others.

Last night,  (the first banquet held on September 3), also provided an enjoyable evening for honorees and guests at the new Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SiMT) on the campus of Florence Darlington Technical College. Six of our staff were honored for their 35 years and during the previous banquet, one of our McLeod family members was recognized for 40 years of service.

service and commitment

Carolyn Mangum of the Outpatient Surgery Center at McLeod Regional Medical Center has served the organization and caring for patients for more than 40 years. She is the top honoree for her longevity as an employee at this year's McLeod Service Banquets.


During the festivities, people were greeted by their Vice Presidents and Directors as they arrived.  After a few opening remarks, Marie Segars asked for a blessing delivered by Bob Hinshelwood.  Departments sat together as teams and colleagues throughout the hall and a fine meal was served by the staff of Bizzell’s of Hartsville.  We were treated to coffee and a dessert of apple pie with ice cream, Jean Broughton called the names of those being honored for their service.  Marie Segars ended the celebration with closing remarks before final good-byes and the treat of providing those with the longest  terms of service at each table being presented with the centerpieces.

Many lingered in the banquet hall and foyer to snap pictures and talk about old times and memories of people we worked with at McLeod.  A few people mentioned our move to ‘555′ East Cheves in 1979. The  names of Mr. Charles Frenzel, Mr. Bruce Barragan, Mrs. Louise King, Dr. Sylvia Lufkin and others who we served with over the years were highlighted as people recounted important moments in their professional lives.

Serving others is a noble calling when we do it well and it is worthy of our life’s effort.

Thank you,


Thursday, September 17th, 2009

A few weeks ago, and again on Tuesday, teams from hospitals in Boston, MA, and Athens, GA, visited McLeod Health to see the work of our teams in quality and safety. 


Representatives from Emerson Hospital in Boston joined us at McLeod Regional Medical Center in August to gain insights into how McLeod has approached its quality improvement efforts. (Right) The group observes a McLeod team as they work on an operational effectiveness project.


We learn from these visitors … and hopefully they take away parts of our Clinical and Operational Effectiveness programs designed to improve quality and safety.  After the group from Athens left, my prayer was that we remain teachable. As I listened to many members of our team and our physicians, I was proud to be a part of the team at McLeod Health.  In so many positive ways we have responded to a national call to improve and add value for patients.

However, we must continue to ask ourselves these questions. ‘Do we think we’ve arrived?  Do we tend to think we’ve learned what we need to learn and now know what we need to know?  Do we see ourselves as having more answers than questions? Do we carry a hunger to know, to stabilize, standardize and improve?’ (‘A Shelter in the Time of Storm’ by Paul Tripp, pg 17) Do we want to know more and understand fully?  Do we still ask ‘why’ five times and listen carefully for the answers from the team? Do we have the approach of a Student? Are we teachable?

These can be helpful, guiding questions in our quest.  One of our four core values is Quality.  It does not mean we think we are perfect … It means we are continually striving to improve.  We measure, compare, put teams together and support them in this improvement work on behalf of our patients.  May we remain students in this work … teachable, listening and learning from one another as well as others.


Getting the Right Things Done … in Huddles

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

We have improvement work ongoing in our Case Management Department.  I have visited the ‘bed brain’ area several times in the last month to see and hear a first-hand account of the improvement work.  The ‘bed brain’ area is where the beds are assigned, tracked and managed in order to accept patients in an orderly and safe manner.  It looks a lot like an air traffic control room in a busy airport. The center of this activity is located on the second floor in the McLeod Tower.


Prior to the improvement work in this area, all disciplines of Case Management worked somewhat independently.  The work was specialized and done separately many times.  Even though the roles of the various people differ, there is one common thread – to focus on the timely and safe discharge of the patient for each episode of care.  One of the biggest barriers to that goal is a lack of ‘real-time’ usable information. 

The ‘As Is’ step in our improvement process identified that we had the expertise in terms of people and we were gathering the needed information … yet due to a lack of collaboration in the flow of the work, we were unable sometimes to bring all of the pieces together for a pro-active discharge for the patient and family. 

One solution was the ‘huddle.” The Case Management Huddle team is comprised of the Care Coordinator (team leader), the Utilization Management Nurse, the Compliant Documentation Specialist, and the Discharge Planner (Social Worker).  Each team is assigned to specific patient populations.  This allows them to be very familiar with physician practice patterns, disease processes, reimbursement and appropriate discharge plans.  A huddle of 30 to 45 minutes requires each discipline to be prepared with the most pertinent update of information in order to facilitate a more timely and safe discharge plan for patients in a particular nursing unit. Some of the information shared during the huddles … includes the needs of a patient after discharge, the home environment, approvals from insurance companies for home care, and any social issues affecting the patient at home.

In this improvement work the team has also sought to standardize the structure of the Case Management huddles in order to assure consistent dissemination of information.  Using this format developed through two Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs), we have seen an overall reduction in Length of Stay (LOS) for patients, less wait time and an enhanced level of teamwork and mutual respect among all team members.  A side benefit of the Rapid Improvement Events (RIEs) was an unexpected time savings for members of the team.  Due to the patient focus and population focus of each huddle team, data that was needed could be obtained during or immediately after the huddle.  This step further enhanced our productivity and has enabled the teams to participate in the Case Management huddles without a negative impact on their work. 

If you would like to know more about this improvement work, Larry Adams is our facilitator from Operational Effectiveness, Lesli Kennedy is our team leader,  Cassandra Brunson is the process owner and the director of Discharge Planning and Susan Pickle is our Value Stream Team leader.


McLeod Patient Placement Coordinators, Back row ( left to right): Deidra Thomas, Mercedes Little, Front row (left to right): Lisa Blakey, Sherill Hanna


Encouraging Heart Walk Participation

Thursday, September 10th, 2009
Dr. Christopher Cunningham shows his enthusiasm for the Heart Walk.

Dr. Christopher Cunningham shows his enthusiasm for the Heart Walk.

This is a picture from the Pee Dee Area Heart Walk last October, which took place on the campus of  Francis Marion University.  By supporting the Heart Walk, Dr. Chris Cunningham took an active role in the fight against heart disease and stroke outside of the Operating Room as well as in it, with a passion for people and  their well-being.  Dr. Cunningham is an accomplished vascular surgeon at McLeod.  He takes time to speak with many community groups about the disease and he helps with the Heart Walk each year.

McLeod Health has many team members working daily to improve the health of heart and stroke patients. With an extremely high incidence of heart disease and stroke in our region, there are many patients who need and rely on our services and our care.  In addition to our daily work, we join with the American Heart Association annually to raise funds to further research, prevention and treatment.  This year, McLeod Health will partner with Nucor to sponsor the American Heart Association’s 2009 Heart Walk. I have agreed and I am honored to be serving as chairman for the Heart Walk again this year.  We encourage the support of dedicated walkers from McLeod Darlington, Dillon and Florence, as in previous years.

Our goal  for the Heart Walk is to have as many McLeod team members and families as possible participate in the Heart Walk on Saturday, October 24, 2009.  The Heart Walk is scheduled for what we hope will be another beautiful fall morning at Francis Marion University. The event will be filled with fun activities and heart health education for the entire family.  

Another goal this year is to help the American Heart Association raise $45,000.  To reach our goal, we need additional volunteers … team leaders, teams and walkers.

Teams are forming in the hospital.  Ask your Director about a team in your department or contact Melissa Capps via email (or by calling her at ext. 2569) about joining a team.

I look forward to the difference WE will make in the fight against heart disease and stroke. I am confident that the Heart Walk in October will be a rewarding experience for everyone involved.  Let’s support a healthy lifestyle and walk to demonstrate our commitment.


Learning Together

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I want to make note of something our Vice Presidents are engaged with in order to listen and learn about the work ongoing in our departments.  I received this update from Teresa Anderson about her work with Nursing in the last few weeks.  Teresa has worked several shifts directly with staff to listen, learn and help leadership understand the work that is ongoing.  I asked Teresa for this update.  After speaking with her about each experience, I wanted you hear about Teresa’s own personal impressions in these areas.


This is a brief summary of my experience last Wednesday night. 

When I was given Administrative oversight for Laundry Services, I dressed in scrubs and spent a day working in Laundry.  I worked along side the team in  Laundry to gain an understanding of their work and work process.  I have had similar shadowing experiences in Environmental Services, Nutrition Services and Security.

In the past two weeks, I put the scrubs back on and spent time working with Cherry Drulis, Director of Neuroscience and Stroke Unit, and the clinical areas of Stroke and Neurology.  Time was spent with Dana Martin, RN-Neurology 3:00 p.m – 11:00p.m., Dawn Spivey, PCS-Neurology 7a – 1p and last week I shadowed Judy Caliboso, RN-Stroke Unit, 11 p.m. – 7:00a.m. 

This recent experience, reaffirms for me the importance of teamwork and relationships with others, both inside and outside of the department. In addition to the Nurses, Technicians and Physicians … Radiology, Plant Operations, Respiratory Therapy, Environmental Services, Nutrition Services, IS, and Pharmacy were members of the team that night, working with the nurse to meet the needs of the patients.  I experienced a strong pro-active team; responding quickly, demonstrating Service Excellence to our patients and to each other.  Whether implied or expressed, the team had a common goal, meeting the needs of the patient. 

The nurses I shadowed were excellent!  Each demonstrated the McLeod Values of Caring, the Person, Quality and Integrity.  What I learn each time I have done this is a better understanding of the work, the work flow and how the work impacts our patients and staff.  There is much to learn about Stroke and Neurology.  ‘Shadowing’ is just another way to listen, see, learn the work and connect with our people. 


learning together_Teresa

Teresa Anderson, Vice President of Support Services, shadows Dawn Spivey, RN, in the Stroke and Neurology unit.

What’s Next?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Your Voice  Counts….

The Mission for McLeod Health is to improve the health and well being of the people living in northeastern South Carolina.  Our Vision is to be ‘The Choice for Medical Excellence.’ We believe that words have meaning and ideas have consequences.  We want our Vision statement to continue to be a reality, so we measure it in three specific ways:  (1) we want to be the ‘Choice for Medical Excellence’ in the eyes of our patients; (2) we want to be the ‘Choice for Medical Excellence’ in the eyes of our physicians; and (3) we want to be the ‘Choice for Medical Excellence’ in the eyes of our people, those of us who work and serve in the organization every day.  We measure each of these with an independent, third party survey so that we can honestly assess how well we are accomplishing our Vision as a team.  These surveys help us answer the question, What’s Next?  What will be our goals for 2010 and 2011?

Professional Research Corporation of America (PRC), Omaha, Nebraska, is helping McLeod to assess the opinions and engagement of our people by a survey.  Beginning September 7th and continuing through September 21, 2009, all team members are encouraged to participate in the survey.  Give us your opinion, help us to see where we are doing well and where we need to improve.  Your voice counts.  Engage in the survey and help us set the course for 2010 and beyond.  The results of the survey will be shared with each department and guide all leaders in setting goals for 2010 and 2011.

To complete the survey while at work, log onto McLeod’s Intranet site and click on the PRC logo.  This will direct you to the PRC website. If you prefer to take the survey from home, you can log onto the PRC website. You should have recieved a letter to your home with instructions for accessing this site or ask your director if you need assistance. Both sites provide confidentiality your answers as you are routed directly to the PRC website.

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of our service at McLeod Health.   Much like the patient satisfaction survey that PRC conducts for McLeod, the results are confidential. With the employee survey, PRC staff members are the only individuals who will see any individual survey response. McLeod will only receive the compiled information from the survey by departments.  To improve results reporting with the 2009 Survey,  you will be asked to provide your McLeod identification number.  The need for this is to direct your results to your department’s report and will not be used in any other way.  The confidentiality of your answers is secure with PRC.  Departments that have less than 5 participants will not receive a department report but will have results rolled into another report, making the information useful.  Once again, this is established to provide confidentiality in your information.

If you experience difficulties accessing the PRC website or have questions related to the survey, you can call PRC directly at (800) 360-6379.  McLeod’s PRC survey Project Manager is Keith Schneider; he is available to assist you.

Thanks for your help in making McLeod, The Choice for Medical Excellence,