DiversityNursing Blog

Warmth spreads through hospital after son leaves message in snow

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Feb 12, 2014 @ 01:15 PM

By Lolly Bowean

For Sharon Hart, the third day after her chemotherapy treatment for acute myeloid leukemia is always the hardest. That’s when she feels weak and sometimes discouraged.

“The blood levels are depleted and I get tired and sick to my stomach,” said Hart, of Bolingbrook.

She was feeling that way Saturday afternoon at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center when she looked out the window and found reason to smile.

On top of the hospital parking lot, her 14-year-old son William had stomped out a message in newly fallen snow, in letters the length of two cars: HI MOM. The ‘o’ was made into a smiley face.

When he left the hospital hours later, William and his father and uncle added: GOD BLESS U! The gesture not only lifted Hart’s mood, but warmed the spirits of other patients, families, nurses and doctors as news of the message quickly spread. People posted pictures on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, drawing national attention.

“My son has never done anything like this before,” said Hart, 48. “He is a very caring child andmomgod resized 600 very loving. ... He acted on instinct and from what was in his heart. I’m glad so many people got to see the message and that it touched so many. It shows how big God is.”

Hart was admitted to Rush after she was diagnosed with leukemia on Feb. 3. William arrived at the hospital to visit her and noticed the expanse of fresh snow on the garage. He stomped out the message, then called his mother and told her to look out the window.

“I wanted to send her the message because I thought it would brighten her spirits and help her get through this,” said William, a freshman at Bolingbrook High School. “I would love for her to be happy.

“This has been rough. I’ve been praying a lot and trying to not think about what’s going on so I can do good in school. I keep my hopes up and pray every night that my mommy gets well.”

With the help of a nurse, Sharon Hart climbed out of bed and opened the blinds. That’s when she saw that he had written, ‘HI MOM.’

When William left the hospital hours later with his dad and uncle, the three decided they would extend the message to all the patients. It was viewable from the east side of the hospital from the 9th floor to the top of the building.

“They wanted to write ‘God Bless U All,’ but they ran out of room,” said Deb Song, a spokeswoman for the hospital. So they wrote ‘GOD BLESS U,’ instead.

William said his first message was specifically for his mother. But after the visit, he thought about all the other families. As he and his father and uncle pushed around the snow with their feet, they noticed people gathering at the windows, waving, jumping and taking photos.

“It was very cold out there, but I didn’t care,” he said. “I wanted to get it done and let people see it. It’s amazing because just to see people feel happy feels good.”

A nurse who works the third shift noticed the message because a patient’s daughter was watching the men stomp it in the snow and became emotional.
When Angela Washek, 26, a registered nurse in the surgical intensive care unit, looked outside, she thought the men were just playing in the snow, she told the hospital staff. Then she realized that they were shaping letters.

Song said Washek emailed pictures to the medical staff.

“We don’t always get to see the good side of things in ICU,” Washek said. “People come out of surgery and they are in pain and feeling bad. When they feel better they go to another floor. This gave us a glimpse of people at their best. It boosted our morale, that’s for sure.”

Within an hour, staff from other parts of the building were coming over to get a peek at the message, Washek said. Then the story went viral.

“I still can’t believe this,” she said. “People have called from Pittsburgh and Cleveland and said they saw it. People want to care about the good side. A story, even a small one, makes people feel good. We all want to feel good at the end of the day.”

“We got such an overwhelming response from our doctors, nurses and staff who saw it and thought it was wonderful. The gesture was so simple, but so creative and nice,” Song said.

By Monday morning, the snow -- and the message --- had been cleared from the parking, Song said.

But through photos and stories, the power of the gesture has endured.

“She said it was really heartwarming, especially since she works with acutely sick patients, which can be tough,” Song said. “The gesture was so simple, but so creative and nice.”

Source: Chicago Tribune

Topics: chemo, heartwarming, snow, cancer, Rush University Medical Center, message

DiversityInc Top 10 Hospital Systems

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, May 03, 2013 @ 01:31 PM

By Debby Scheinholtz and Shane Nelson

2013 Top 10 Hospital Systems

As the Affordable Care Act phases in, up to32 million individuals—mostly lower-income Blacks and Latinos—should have first-time access to health insurance by the beginning of next year.

The link between culturally competent patient care and hospitals’ increasing commitment to diversity management is escalating dramatically, evidenced by a doubling of the number of hospitals participating in the DiversityInc Top 50 competition this year. With more hospitals doing this well, we were able to expand our Top Hospital Systems list from five to 10.

The DiversityInc Top 10 Hospital Systems list is based on the same criteria as the DiversityInc Top 50. Here are some facts about why this top 10 is so outstanding and some examples of individual excellence:

CEO Commitment

  • Eighty percent of Top 10 Hospital Systems CEOs meet regularly with resource groups—up from 67 percent last year.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital President Dr. Peter Slavin serves as chief diversity officer. He holds department heads accountable through individual diversity plans, and he started the Multicultural Affairs Office Advisory Board to create an inclusive work environment and recruit and retain physicians underrepresented in medicine.

Cultural Competency

  • At University Hospitals, all residents participate in a two-week training rotation that includes a cultural competency module. Topics cover what to do when patients’ religious beliefs prevent them from following doctors’ orders, or how to respond to cultural concerns regarding food/nutrition recommendations or restrictions.

Addressing Health Disparities

  • Henry Ford Health System’s Institute on Multicultural Health conducts research on health disparities, develops community-based programs aimed at improving the health of underrepresented populations, and provides cultural-competency training to researchers and healthcare providers.

Disability Initiatives

  • Rush University Medical Center has an ADA Task Force that oversees extensive efforts to make the medical center and university more accessible. Some of the hospital’s efforts include the Hospital-to-Home Program, designed to keep people from being readmitted to the hospital; a buddy program for patients with intellectual disabilities; and the Thonar Award, given annually since 1991 to recognize Rush individuals whose efforts “turn a disability into a possibility.”

Ensuring a More Diverse Pipeline for Medical Professionals

  • The North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Hofstra School of Medicine’s Medical Scholars Pipeline Program prepares students from traditionally underrepresented groups for college and medical school. The five-year summer academic program gives students support to become physicians or other health professionals.

Patient-Focused Resource Groups

  • Mayo Clinic’s 13 resource groups, known as MERGs (Mayo Employee Resource Groups), work to improve cultural competency and patient engagement. MERGs at Mayo’s Rochester, Minn., location have helped initiate its Destination Medical Community initiative, a joint effort between Mayo and the City of Rochester to welcome patients and families who travel to use Mayo’s services.
  • Cleveland Clinic has 10 resource groups, each focused on employee development and patient experience. For example, ClinicPride, Cleveland Clinic’s Gay & Lesbian Resource Group, provides a network that supports the recruitment, professional development and retention of LGBT employees, and provides insight on gay and lesbian patient-health and -wellness issues.

Patient-Focused Diversity Council:

  • University of New Mexico Hospitals’ Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion has a steering committee and four taskforces, focusing on patient care, cultural competence, community and compliance. The community taskforce includes several representatives from New Mexico’s Native American community—11 percent of the hospital system’s patients are Native American.

Mentoring Programs:

  • Continuum Health Partners Diversity Mentoring Program is cross-functional. As it moves into its fourth round, it will include more clinicians and middle managers to pair with senior leaders.
  • More than half of the managers at SSM Healthcare participate in formal mentoring, an effort that started in 2000 with the development of the pilot Diversity Mentoring Program, designed to increase the number of people of color, of different ethnicities or with disabilities in SSM’s management ranks.

Supplier Diversity:

  • University Hospitals was on pace to meet construction supplier-diversity goals of 15 percent MBE and 5 percent WBE spend in 2012.
  • Henry Ford Health System is recognized locally and nationally for its supplier-diversity initiative and is considered “best practice” among the healthcare industry. Ten percent of its prime contractors are Minority Business Enterprises.

Topics: Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Continuum Health Partners, DiversityInc Top 50, Henry Ford Health System, North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System, SSM Health Care University Hospitals, University of New Mexico Hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital, Rush University Medical Center

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