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DiversityNursing Blog

Pat Magrath

Recent Posts

Recruiting a More Diverse Workforce: It’s About Telling a Story and Backing It Up with Actions

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jan 28, 2021 @ 02:39 PM


Pat Magrath, National Sales Director,

Our country and the world is experiencing a huge awakening and changing attitude toward bias and racism and it is about time! It shouldn’t have taken these recent tragic events to bring about this ground swell of emotion and passion for change, but here we are.

It is time to channel this passion to create positive and lasting new initiatives in our society. A big part of this change falls to employers to review what they say about their organization, how they hire new employees, and how they treat and communicate with their existing staff, patients and visitors. Now, more than ever, your recruitment communications need to reflect an honest and thoughtful narrative about your organizational commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

Diversity Recruitment means reaching out to ALL diverse communities including people from various racial/ethnic backgrounds, ages, gender identities, religions, education levels, national origins, sexual orientations, veteran status, marital status, disabilities, and physical characteristics. However, it is much more than just words on paper or a clever equal opportunity line. It is about telling a story and demonstrating through your actions why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are important.


Diversity Recruiting Steps & Strategy

Get Started

Diversity Recruiting is about your core company beliefs, employment strategies and your ability to look at the big picture when it comes to expanding the diversity within your employee population. Look at the patients your organization serves. What is the population makeup of your community? Do your employees reflect your patient population? Do they understand how culture and family structures can impact healthcare decisions? Do they understand nuances in language? Have they been taught how different religious backgrounds impact how and when people seek care? If not, you are probably losing market share or certainly will in the near future.

Patients want and often need to be taken care of by someone who can look at much more than just physical or emotional symptoms. A more diverse employee population leads to the collaboration of different cultures, ideas, and perspectives and is an organizational asset that brings forth greater creativity and innovation in your workplace.

Define Your Company Culture

valuesWe often hear the term “recruitment brand”, but can you honestly say you have one that reflects Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion? Your “recruitment brand” is NOT what you aspire to be. It is who you are NOW and a big part of that is how others experience or perceive your organization.

Can you articulate and explain your company culture, beliefs and perception in the community? Do you have a clear, inclusive mission statement? If not, start working on it now. Who are you as an employer? Would a diverse candidate feel comfortable working there?

Put together a team of internal people from various backgrounds to get their input and help you define and promote your company culture. Once you’ve defined it, believe it, commit to it and act upon it. It should be a comprehensive effort from the top down.

Embrace It

What do the leaders of your organization say and do about your DEI initiative? It is imperative your senior leadership is committed to your DEI mission. If they don’t stand behind it, nothing will change. People pay attention to what you say AND what you do. There are many ways to monitor how an organization delivers on its promises. If your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts don’t match up with what you say, then you have lost credibility and it will be very difficult to build it back.

Get Your Message Out There – How and Where You Reach People

megaphoneAssess what you’re currently doing. What’s working and what isn’t? Where can you improve? What’s your budget? What are your competitors doing? Once you’ve answered these questions, you must develop a strategy about how and where you’re going to consistently communicate your message through ALL of your internal and external channels including…

  • Your Website – particularly your Career Pages
  • Community Involvement – get out into your community and spread your DEI message. Your community comprises your patients, visitors and employees.
  • Signage throughout your buildings
  • All Recruitment Communications should outline your DEI message including:
- Career Pages
- Electronic Communications including radio, TV, social media, etc
- Print Communications
- Employee Referral Programs
- Collateral & Conference materials – brochures, giveaways, etc
- Business Cards
- Job Postings


Climbing the Career Ladder & Diversity

In addition to recruiting diverse employees, mentoring and promoting them is equally important to your DEI commitment. You not only retain committed employees as you promote them, but your staff sees what you’re doing and is encouraged.

Dr. Stefanie Johnson is a professor at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder, an expert in the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) space, and the author of the recent Wall Street Journal bestseller, Inclusify. As an executive coach and consultant to large corporations on the development and succession of leaders, Dr. Johnson explains the "employee lifecycle" from recruiting to executive advancement. This lifecycle starts with the hiring of talent at companies, continues onto the engagement and development of them through teams, and then moves to the potential promotion of diverse employees into higher leadership roles.

Following these steps will help you achieve an appropriate Diversity Recruiting strategy. Remember, it is imperative that your senior leadership is on board and committed. Your employees, patients and community will be watching.

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Topics: diversity in nursing, recruitment, recruiting, Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, diversity recruitment, nurse recruitment, workplace diversity, diversity nursing, hiring diverse candidates, hiring diverse workforce

Thankful For Nurses

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Nov 19, 2019 @ 10:11 AM


We love our Nurses and with Thanksgiving being celebrated next week, it is only appropriate that we give thanks to all you awesome Nurses!


I’ve spent some time as a patient, parent, and decision-maker of a gravely ill parent, in doctor’s offices, ER’s, OR’s, ICU’s, school nurse offices, nursing homes, etc. Every time, I’ve been amazed at the professionalism, understanding and compassion of the Nurses I’ve encountered over the years, both personally and professionally. I appreciate how hard you work and how much you give of yourself. You’ve seen it all. It is not a job for the weak or selfish.


Every day, in every kind of healthcare facility, you save countless lives day in and day out. This should be enough to be thankful for, but there is so much more you do.


Here are some of the reasons we Appreciate and Thank You…


1)       Terrific Listening Skills. With great communication skills, you listen to your patient’s questions, concerns, pain, complaints, etc. You always do your best to address these concerns, get answers, and show you care.


2)       Sense of Calmness. Panic isn't an option. You know how to remain calm in chaotic situations and provide the best care possible. You know time spent panicking is critical time wasted. This sense of calmness is felt by your patients and helps to keep them from panicking. What a wonderful gift!


3)       Empathy. You work with patients when they are worried about their health. Perhaps they just received a scary diagnosis, are facing surgery or painful medical treatment. The point is, you often see patients when they are at the lowest points in their lives and are most vulnerable. You empathize with them.


4)       Patience. Some patients, or their loved ones, lash out at those who are trying to help. It’s difficult not to take it personally, but you understand it is their stress, pain or grief that is responsible for their behavior. You understand and dig deep continuing to give care. Your patient attitude also comes in handy when fellow staff behave inappropriately under stressful circumstances. 


5)       Super Smart. There’s no doubt about it. Nurses are very intelligent. You might be just starting or continuing your education. Or, you worked hard in school and passed the NCLEX. You’re always learning and discovering better ways to get things done. Your critical thinking skills and ability to think on your feet are truly impressive!


6)       Passion and Dedication. Many of you push through 12+ hour shifts on your feet, skipping bathroom and lunch breaks to make sure your patients are getting everything they need. You are dedicated to being the best Nurse possible.


7)       Best Teammates. People can sense and feel a hostile work environment. You do your best to support and help each other get through the toughest times. Being part of a team is essential in making things run smoothly in any healthcare setting. Having each other's backs makes a pleasant and productive work environment.


8)       Sense of Humor. This will get you through many difficult times, both inside and outside work. There’s nothing like a good joke to share!


In conclusion, thank you for all you do for your patients, students, and families. There would be no Healthcare without YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Topics: thanksgiving, thank nurses, thank you nurses, thankful for nurses

Frontier Nursing University President Dr. Susan Stone Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Frontier-Nursing-1One of our School of Nursing “Proud Partners”, Frontier Nursing University, announced earlier this week their President, Dr. Susan Stone has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine. We are very happy to share this news and congratulate Dr. Stone on her achievement. Here’s a bit of the press release.

Versailles, Ky. – Today, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) president Dr. Susan Stone, DNSc, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Dr. Susan Stone has served as President of Frontier Nursing University since 2001. NAM states the election recognizes Dr. Stone’s achievements that have opened the door to more than 5,000 nurses to achieve graduate education and positively impact the accessibility of quality health care for rural families across the United States.

“I am deeply honored to be elected to The National Academy of Medicine,” said Dr. Stone. “I am so grateful for this opportunity to work collaboratively with and learn from other leaders across many other medical professions and disciplines. I am eager to join the Academy’s ongoing efforts to improve health and healthcare.”

You can access the full article here 

About Frontier Nursing University:
The mission of FNU is to provide accessible nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education to prepare competent, entrepreneurial, ethical, and compassionate leaders in primary care to serve all individuals with an emphasis on women and families in diverse, rural, and underserved populations. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom. Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post-Graduate Certificates.

To learn more about Frontier Nursing University, check out their Employer Profile

Topics: Frontier Nursing University, Dr. Susan Stone, National Academy of Medicine


Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Apr 05, 2018 @ 11:43 AM

Pope-FrancisTo be appreciated for who you are and what you do makes us feel good about ourselves. It affirms that we’re doing a good job and we’re being recognized for it. Appreciation goes a long way at work, at home and how we connect with each other. We thought you’d “appreciate” reading this article because someone pretty special thinks Nurses are amazing and we do too!

"I thank her and I want you to know her name: Sister Cornelia Caraglio,” said Pope Francis as he remembered the nurse who saved his life at 20 years old. 

"When, at the age of 20, I was on the verge of death, she was the one who told the doctors, even arguing with them, 'No, this isn't working. You must give more,'" the Pope said during a meeting with thousands of nurses - members of Italy's national association of nursing professionals.

“And thanks to those things [her suggestions], I survived,” recalled the Pope. 

The Pope Thanks Nurses

Pope Francis thanked all nurses in attendance, "you are there all day and you see what happens to the patient. Thank you for that!" he continued, “many lives, so many lives are saved thanks to you!”

He spoke about the importance of the nursing profession and the unique relationships nurses form with all members of the healthcare team - patients, families, and colleagues. Pope Francis stated that nurses are at “the crossroads” of all these relationships. 

Furthermore, Pope Francis acknowledged the “truly irreplaceable” role nurses play in the lives of their patients. “Like no other, the nurse has a direct and continuous relationship with patients, takes care of them every day, listens to their needs and comes into contact with their very body, that he tends to,” stated Pope Francis. 

The Pope called nurses, “promoters of the life and dignity of the persons.”

He spoke about the sensitivity they acquire from “being in contact with patients all day," and addressed the healing power of listening and touch. Calling touch an important factor for demonstrating respect for the dignity of the person. 

He praised nurse’s continuous and tiring commitment to their individual patients despite the patient’s societal status. Calling a nurse’s care particularly important in a society which often leaves weaker people on the margin, only giving worth to people who meet certain criteria or level of wealth. 

Pope Francis called the nursing profession “a real mission,” and referred to nurses as, “experts in humanity.” 

When speaking of touch, Pope Francis told the story of when Jesus healed the Leper through touch. Encouraging the nurses, "we must recognize the importance of this simple gesture," Pope Francis said. "Mosaic law forbid touching lepers and banned them from approaching inhabited places. But Jesus went to the heart of the law, which is summarized in love for one's neighbor," stated Pope Francis.

While acknowledging the difficulty of the nursing profession, Pope Francis encouraged patients to have patience with nurses, to not demand things from nurses and to smile more at their nurses.

The Pope reminded nurses, "a caress, a smile, is full of meaning for one who is sick. It is a simple gesture, but encouraging, he or she feels accompanied, feels closer to being healed, feels like a person, not a number.”

Pope Francis encouraged nurses, to not forget the “medicine of caresses.”

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Topics: Nurse appreciation

Join Johnson & Johnson and to Help Beat Cancer

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 01:00 PM

give a spit.png

We’re posting this information about the “Give a Spit About Cancer” campaign to help spread awareness regarding healthcare disparities in bone marrow transplant recipients. As usual, white patients have a greater chance of finding a donor match than people of color. If more bone marrow donations are given by people of color, the % of matches in this population will increase. Please help us spread the word.

Since 2011, Give a Spit About Cancer has mobilized more than 8,000 young people to change patient lives through registering to become a bone marrow donor. Last year, Johnson & Johnson teamed up with and the Give a Spit About Cancer campaign to help amplify those efforts.

Give a Spit About Cancer was established to help address a staggering health disparity that exists among bone marrow transplant patients: 77 percent of white patients have a chance of finding a viable donor, while black patients only have a 23 percent chance. By increasing the diversity of donor registries and targeting donors between 18 and 44, the campaign aims to do what nurses strive for every day: give all patients an equal chance, regardless of race.

Throughout this year’s campaign, and Johnson & Johnson will take to social media to spread awareness and mobilize the community to take action. However, the campaign is much more than a social media movement – it is truly saving lives. Young people can help make a tangible difference by simply swabbing their cheeks with the provided swab kits, which adds them to the partner organization Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.

For donors like 19-year-old Veronica, diversifying the bone marrow registry is essential to providing life-saving operations, like those that could have saved the life of her friend Demarco, who had bone marrow cancer and passed away after a transplant rejection.

“I want to help people like my friend because he deserved to live his life and go to college, but wasn't able to achieve his dreams,” Veronica shared with “I'd hate to see more young people suffer from cancer when they are more than able to make this world a better place like Demarco did. For his memory - this is why I want to donate, to change someone’s life."

The Give a Spit About Cancer campaign launched on March 27 – now is the time to get involved. Visit to find out how you can get a swab kit, start a drive on your campus, encourage your peers, and get involved in the movement. 

Topics: bone marrow donor, cancer awareness

Are You Worth Your Salt?

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

Values-1.jpgHappy Summer! We hope you’re enjoying your work, perhaps some time off, the weather, and your friends and family. I received this article in my inbox and thought it was perfect for you, our Nursing community, because it’s about how we approach our work and life. It’s about our principles, being appreciated, having balance in our life and more. Sometimes you just need to read something that makes sense and makes you feel good. Enjoy!

This article was written by Ron Culberson

Several years ago in Golf Digest magazine, I read a story about a young golfer named Charlie Siem. He was playing in a tournament and after making the winning putt, he bent down to retrieve his ball from the cup. Immediately, he realized that the ball in the cup was not his. At some point along the course, he had played the wrong ball.

Hitting the wrong ball in a golf tournament is grounds for disqualification. However, in Charlie’s case, no one else knew he had hit the wrong ball. Still, he presented the ball to the tournament officials and was promptly disqualified from a tournament he had just won.

This was a case of a young man’s principles guiding his decision—even though it was not an easy decision to make.

When I think of behavioral principles, I’m reminded of a phrase I heard as a child but had no idea what it meant. The phrase was, “He is worth his salt.”

As someone who cooks quite a bit, I didn’t think being compared to a cheap commodity like salt seemed particularly complimentary, but the phrase supposedly has its origins in ancient Rome where soldiers were paid in salt. At the time, salt was quite valuable.

And in the Christian
Bible, there are numerous references to salt. Most use salt as a metaphor about enhancing our lives the same way salt enhances food. Christians are supposed to be the “salt of the earth”, or to bring value to the world. Perhaps salt, like principles, is more valuable than I realized.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said, “Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value.”

Principles are the way we carry ourselves through life and work, and essentially, they are our salt. Our principles are the seasoning that makes life better. So, I thought I would spend the next couple of articles focusing on the principles I have chosen to guide my life and work. Hopefully, by seeing them, you will think more purposefully about your own principles and how they season your life. Then, hopefully, we can all be worth our salt.

One morning, after getting dressed for a presentation, I got my second cup of coffee from the free hotel breakfast bar. As I sat the cup down on the desk in my hotel room, the lid slipped off of the cup. The cup bounced onto the desk back up in the air and then coffee spewed all over me and the floor. I did not have much of an “attitude of gratitude” at that particular moment. In fact, I recall a few “salty” words that were brewing in my head. And yet, after my initial irritation, I realized that there were many things for which I was grateful.

On that particular morning, I was grateful to be working. I was grateful to be in a decent hotel with a free breakfast. I was grateful for my client and the audience who ultimately appreciated my presentation, despite their wondering why the sleeve of my shirt was brown.

Here is the funny thing about appreciation. Sometimes it’s offered too routinely and we fail to recognize the sincerity. Just like the person who salts their food without tasting it, it’s automatic and not purposeful. True appreciation is sincere intentional gratitude for the good things in our lives and by reminding ourselves of this on a regular basis, life tastes a little better.

The simple truth is that when we have balance, we don’t fall down. And we need balance in most areas of our lives. We need balance between work and play. We need balance between people time and alone time. We need balance between our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual experiences. Otherwise, just as too much salt can mask the flavor of our food, we don’t get to experience the full variety of flavors in our lives.

One year, I had taken on too many volunteer jobs in my Rotary club, my church, and my professional association. I was spending nearly 15-20 hours each week just keeping up with my duties. It was affecting my work, my family life, and my health. So, I had to cut back a bit and become more selective in the roles I took on. This balance helped me to do a better job in each area of my life.

There is a common meditation practice called “Loving Kindness” which encourages us to both receive and give compassion. As someone who has a pretty active cynicism gland, this meditation is a wonderful reminder of the importance of compassion. In every situation, a compassionate attitude will give us more success and add substance to our relationships. Whether we’re opening a door for someone, saying “thank you” for a kind gesture, or just offering a smile to a stranger, kindness born out of compassion connects our hearts to others. Whenever I remind myself to consider what someone else might be experiencing, I always feel kinder towards them.

A few days ago, I mentioned to a women tending a hotel buffet that the sausage gravy was really good. And as a southerner, I told her that I know my sausage gravy. Her face lit up as if I had given her a great gift. She worked hard on her buffet items and was grateful that someone noticed.

We live in a world where negativity and aggression get the most attention. We can turn that around with a kind word and a generous spirit. Instead of “give me the salt,” perhaps we can say, “please pass the salt…and thank you.”

As the author of
Do it Well. Make it Fun., I chose excellence as the foundation of my book. If we seek excellence in everything we do, we create a platform of integrity on which to build our success. But we may not always know what we need to do to achieve excellence.

When I took a motorcycle safety course in 2001, I assumed that I knew everything about riding a motorcycle because I had owned one in college. And since a motorcycle only has two wheels, I couldn’t imagine that there was that much to learn. Once I got into the class however, I discovered there were things I didn’t know I didn’t know. The class opened my eyes to my knowledge deficits.

Unless someone gives us feedback or points out our mistakes, we will never discover where we need to improve on the road to excellence. When I worked as the Director of Quality Service at Hospice of Northern Virginia, we used a 360-degree performance evaluation process. In other words, for my yearly review, I was evaluated by my boss, my peers, and the people I supervised. It was certainly an unnerving process but it was one of the most helpful ways to find out my strengths and where I needed to improve. In all areas of our lives, if we strive to determine where we need to get better as employees, parents, partners, neighbors, etc., then we really can enhance the days of our lives…like salt through the hourglass (a few of you will know that obscure reference!)

When I was offered my first management job, I realized that two of the people I would be supervising were my peers from a previous job. In order to manage the department effectively, I needed to make sure I treated them fairly and that the other employees felt they were also being treated fairly. So, we talked about it before I took the job and agreed we could make it work. However, if my other staff had felt that I favored my former colleagues, my ability to supervise would have been compromised.

The concept of justice is based on fairness. None of us wants to be treated unfairly. We don’t want someone else to get a discount at the store when we’re not eligible. We want our children to get the same opportunities as other children. And we don’t like it when people who have more seem to get away with even more. Fairness is the basis for effective organizations and relationships. Every time we make a decision that affects other people, we might ask ourselves, “Is this fair to everyone involved?” It’s an ideal embraced by Rotary International and a good principle for the rest of us. When someone treats us fairly, we believe that they really are worth their salt.

Hopefully, these principles will help you think about your own principles and how you can “walk the talk” in your own life. Please know that my own process of living my principles is a work in progress. But isn’t that what life is all about? We’re on the journey just trying to make the next day a little better…or saltier! 

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Topics: appreciation, compassion, values, principles, balance

Frontier Nursing University Awarded $1,998,000 Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jul 25, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

blobid1_1500648981783.jpgHyden, KY -- Frontier Nursing University (FNU) has been awarded the Nursing Workforce Diversity grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant totals $1,998,000 in funding in support of a four-year project that will be led by FNU with assistance from several key partner organizations.

The goal of the Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) program is to increase access to high quality, culturally-aligned advanced practice nurses and midwives that reflect the diversity of the communities in which they serve. The grant, which provides $499,500 per year, supports a proposed project in which FNU will implement a comprehensive systems approach to implementing five evidence-based strategies to support disadvantaged advanced practice nursing students from recruitment through graduation. The social determinants of education will be used as a framework to assess student needs and guide activities throughout the course of the project.

The overall aim of the program is to increase the recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through education and training in Frontier Nursing University’s advanced nursing and midwifery programs, these students will be prepared to provide advanced practice nursing and midwifery health care services across the U.S.

Findings from an American Association of Colleges of Nursing policy brief (2016) found that racial and ethnic minority groups accounted for 37% of the country’s population, yet minority nurses represent only 19% of the total registered nurse workforce (National Council of State Boards of Nursing Survey, 2013).  As minority population growth rises, so does the likelihood of these populations experiencing greater health disparities such as increased rates of maternal morbidity and mortality related to childbirth, infant mortality, chronic diseases, and shorter life spans compared to the majority of Americans. There is growing evidence that greater racial diversity in the health care workforce is an important intervention to reduce racial health disparities.  

“We are extremely proud and excited to receive this grant and to be a part of such an important project,” said FNU president Dr. Susan E. Stone. “We are deeply committed to the goals of the NWD program and helping to overcome barriers that hinder the success of our underrepresented students, from recruitment through graduation.”

The project’s primary objectives are: 1) to achieve minimum of 30 percent minority student enrollment by June 2021, the end of the project period; 2) to increase the racial and ethnic minority retention rate and 3) to graduate an average of 100 new nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners representing racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented in nursing each year of the project period. 

Grant funding will support personnel, consultants, and diversity training for faculty and staff.  Retention activities, including mentor programs and writing support will also be funded.  FNU students will also benefit from substantial scholarship support and professional development opportunities.  To achieve the goals of the program, FNU will formally partner with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives of Color Committee (ACNM-MOCC), the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and Mona Wicks, a multicultural sensitivity and diversity training expert consultant.

View the grant announcement on Frontier Nursing University's website.
Contact: Brittney Edwards, Director of Marketing and Communications
About Frontier Nursing University:
FNU is passionate about educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to serve women and families in all communities, especially rural and underserved areas. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom.  Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post-Graduate Certificates. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit

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Topics: Frontier Nursing University, funding, Diversity and Inclusion, Health Resources and Services Administration, Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, FNU

Hundreds Strike Outside Tufts Medical Center For Nurses

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jul 13, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

0712_tufts-strike-04.jpgFor many reasons, it’s always sad to hear about Nurses going on strike. You are the most dedicated and caring people we know, so for Nurses to call a strike, things have to be pretty bad. We’re saddened to share the news that the Nurses at Tufts Medical Center went on strike today.

Like most people, we immediately think about the patients affected, but we also think about you, the Nurses and how you’re affected. We hope this gets resolved very soon. Here’s the story. Please let us know your thoughts.

Nurses flooded the streets outside Tufts Medical Center Wednesday in the first strike of its kind at a major Boston hospital in 31 years as hospital executives vowed to lock them out for the next four days with no contract settlement in sight.

Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, nurses rallied, chanted, and carried signs outside the main entrance. Some 320 replacement nurses were brought in to work through Monday, and executives promised to keep the Chinatown hospital running without any interruption in patient care.

Hospital executives said about 60 surgeries planned for Wednesday were performed as scheduled, and patients were keeping their appointments.

“Outside of the organization, you may see what looks like a celebration,’’ said Dr. Michael Wagner, chief executive officer of Tufts Medical, referring to the nurses marching on Washington Street. “Inside this organization, we are completely focused. This has been a galvanizing moment for the organization.”

The strike came after about 15 months of talks failed to produce a new contract for the 1,200 registered nurses at Tufts, a 415-bed teaching hospital that treats children and adults.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the striking nurses, says it is seeking increases in pay and staffing levels, but both sides deadlocked over another key issue: retirement benefits. The hospital wants nurses who still have pensions to move into defined-contribution plans, similar to 401(k)s, which would save the hospital money. The union has fought to keep the nurses’ pensions.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a former labor leader, urged Tufts’ administrators and nurses to return to the bargaining table.

“A prolonged strike or lockout does not help Boston, does not help the patients, and does not help find a resolution,” he said in a statement.

But unlike last year, when Walsh helped avert a nurses strike at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the mayor said he has not been asked to help broker a deal at Tufts.

The union has said for days that its members were prepared to strike. But Julia Agri, a Tufts nurse for 9½ years, said she never expected to walk out.

When she finished working the overnight shift Wednesday morning, she was escorted out of the hospital along with other nurses. Then she grabbed a sign that read, “If Tufts Nurses Are Out Here Something is Wrong in There,” and joined her colleagues picketing on the sidewalk.

“Nurses love this hospital,” she said. “[I’m] feeling really sad it has gotten to this point.”

Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, a nurse at the hospital for 29 years and cochairwoman of the union’s bargaining team, said it was “heartbreaking” to strike.

“It’s not a place we want to be,” she said on the sidewalk. “There were a lot of tears this morning.”

Chief nursing officer Terry Hudson-Jinks, a member of the management team, said contract talks collapsed not over patient care issues but over money concerns.

“No one wins in a strike,’’ she said.

Currently, nurses at the top of the wage scale at Tufts make about $63 per hour. At the Brigham, the top wage is about $70 per hour. Nurses also have the opportunity to earn overtime and other additional pay.

Both sides agree that nurses’ wages at Tufts are below those of other Boston hospitals. Tufts officials say they want to rectify that by offering a 10.5 percent raise over about four years to nurses at the top of the pay scale.

All other nurses would receive a 5.5 percent pay hike over four years, in addition to 5 percent annual step raises, which are already built into the contract.

The 320 replacement nurses, hired for about $6 million, were brought in by a national staffing agency from across the country and trained off-site in preparation for the strike.

Hospital executives said the replacement nurses were hired on a five-day contract, so the striking nurses would not be allowed back into the hospital until Monday. But the striking nurses said they would try to return to work Thursday morning.

State health inspectors said they will remain at the hospital throughout the strike and lockout to monitor quality of care. Six officials from the state Department of Public Health arrived at Tufts at 6 a.m. Wednesday and stayed until noon, hospital executives said. They plan to return twice a day at unannounced times until the striking nurses return to work. The state Department of Mental Health is also at the hospital.

“We have been working closely with hospital leadership to prepare for this strike, and we have transitioned to actively monitoring operations at the hospital,’’ said Ann Scales, spokeswoman for the Public Health Department. “Throughout the coming days, we will continue to work with the hospital to ensure patients receive safe, effective, and high-quality care.”

The health department required Tufts to submit a comprehensive strike plan that includes staffing details, but the agency refused to release the plan to the Globe Wednesday.

The strike, in a traditionally labor-friendly city, drew a scores of supporters to the sidewalk outside the hospital, including union firefighters, laborers, carpenters, and a parade of state and city politicians.

“This is about a bigger promise, the promise that if you come to work every day and you work hard and you make sacrifices, you will have a pension, you will be able to retire,” Senator John F. Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, said at an afternoon rally with the nurses.

One nurse, Paula Sinn, said she had one patient set to receive an infusion for a neuromuscular disease who postponed treatment because she didn’t want to cross the picket line.

“So she made that decision before we heard from her doctor whether it was safe to do so,” Sinn said. “We were so touched. It makes me feel stronger to do what we’re doing because we’re doing it for people like her.”

Jacqueline Buzzard, an Exeter, N.H., resident waiting for a heart transplant, kept her appointment at the hospital Wednesday, despite the strike. The nurses, she said, supported her when her heart ailment was diagnosed.

“It was traumatic for me, but they were there,” she said. “I want them to get everything they need.”

While Bob Kilroy’s daughter was inside the hospital being treated for a major heart issue, Kilroy wrote “patient’s father” at the top of a union sign that read, “I stand with the Tufts nurses.” Then he walked the picket line with the nurses, saying they have provided compassionate, quality care for his daughter for years.

“These are the people that have been here for her for 17 years,” he said through tears. “So much love and dedication.”

Boston Globe

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Topics: strike, nurse strike

Finding Humor in Life's Challenges

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 04:15 PM

PAY-Laughing-Cheetah.jpgOccasionally I receive Ron’s eNewsletter and I always find them thoughtful, humorous and to-the-point. In this one, he offers examples of the importance of using humor while under stress, most of them in medical situations. I hope you find them clever and humorous too! 

I wish my brain consistently delivered me a funny and snappy comment like the people in this newsletter or my neighbor, Kay, who is always so witty and sharp at 86 years old! She is delightful to be around. How about you? Are you quick-witted and find the humor in most situations? Perhaps you have an example you’d like to share?

Written by Ron Culberson

For instance, a few years ago, while going through airport security, I was trying to remove my watch. I had recently changed the band and was having trouble unhooking it. As I attempted to take it off, the watch slipped out of my hand. I grabbed for it and accidentally smacked it twenty feet across the floor. Nervously, I turned to the TSA agent and said, “Time flies, doesn’t it?”

He laughed. I retrieved my watch. And I made my flight without incident.

Dropping your watch is not a huge problem. I understand that. But when we can find humor during life’s more challenging experiences, the situations feel a bit less challenging. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite examples from family, friends, and colleagues who used humor to cope with their particular predicaments.


Recently, I spoke for the US District Court clerks in western North Carolina. The Clerk of the Court, Frank Johns, shared that he was diagnosed with an unusual type of intestinal cancer in 1999. His daily treatments consisted of two chemotherapy injections administered in each side of his, well, back side. Luckily, Frank is married to a nurse so she could administer the injections.

On some days, Frank noticed that the injections didn’t hurt at all while on other days, they hurt a lot. So one day, when he didn’t feel any discomfort from the shots, he asked his wife to mark the spots on each cheek with a Sharpie. A couple of days later, he went to a tattoo parlor and had two permanent bullseyes placed where the spots were. Oh, and by the way, Frank is an avid gun enthusiast so the bullseyes were appropriate on a many levels.

In Frank’s case, humor definitely hit the spot! And it made a challenging situation better. Today, Frank’s cancer is in remission.


Early in my career, I spoke at a local support group for people living with serious illnesses. I asked the participants how they used humor to cope with their health challenges. One man said that when he went to see his doctor for a checkup, he placed a Beanie Baby crab under his hospital gown. When the doctor lifted the gown to examine him, he said, “Sorry, I’ve got crabs.”

The doctor burst out laughing.

When you’re dealing with a serious illness, edgy humor can be one of the greatest reliefs for the tension. It’s like fighting fire with fire. In this case the patent’s reference to an STD lead to ROTFL.


A colleague was telling me that when her father died, she went to the funeral home to purchase an urn for his ashes. However, she felt that the urns on display were too serious and that they didn’t fit her father’s fun personality. She felt that they were just too “urn-est.” Haha.

So, she solved the problem by burying her father’s ashes in a beer growler! He had always loved beer and she felt this represented his life much better than a more somber container. I guess you could say one bad urn deserved another (sorry).


My friend Theo Androus's dad was quite a gregarious guy. Once, Theo told him that his haircut looked awful. His dad said, “Son, the only difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is two weeks.”

As Theo’s dad got older, he began to have physical problems due to diabetes. On one evaluation visit, his doctor told him that he would probably need to have his leg amputated at some point in the near future. 

Theo’s dad asked, “When you cut off my leg, can I have it back?”

The doctor responded, “Why?"

His dad said, “Because I want to bury it under a tombstone that says, ‘The rest is yet to come.’”

Theo’s dad was the epitome of using sharp wit to battle serious life challenges. He was definitely a cut above the rest.


My friend Michael Aronin was born with cerebral palsy. All his life, he has dealt with people who are uncomfortable with his speech and his unsteady gait. But, as a comedian, he has always responded to this discomfort with humor.

Once, when Michael was nine, he was in a department store with his mother. He tripped and fell. A sales person came over to help his mother pick him up. As they were lifting him to his feet, he said, “I shouldn’t have had that second beer.”

Michael has a brilliant way of straightening out the uneven road in his life.


A couple of weeks before my father died, and when it seemed pretty clear that he would not get better, a few friends and family came to visit him in the hospital. My dad was a private person who didn’t like to talk about himself or the seriousness of his situation.

One day, our pastor and my dad’s friend Neal were in the room. The pastor asked, “Is there anything you want to tell anyone?”

In his typical witty way, my father said, “Well, Neal owes me five dollars.”

We all laughed and my dad successfully avoided one more serious conversation.


Sometimes it may feel like nothing is funny. Other times, humor is the only way we can get through the day. A touch of humor can be just the balance we need so that we don't get knocked off our feet by life’s challenges.

So, laugh a little. It’s good for what ails you.

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Topics: funny, humor, humor during difficult times

She told him to get back in the truck

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 02:50 PM

0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0.jpegThere were many texts, but it was the incomprehensible text encouraging a young man to get back in the truck that sent him to his death. Perhaps you haven’t heard of this story. It started as local news in Massachusetts, but when it went to trial, it became national news.
It is the senseless, shocking, and tragic story of a suicidal young man and a young woman who communicated primarily through texting about their depression and suicidal thoughts. He had attempted suicide before, but with her encouragement, he finally succeeded. This case received a lot of attention because the young woman, accused of involuntary manslaughter, was not physically present when he died. Yet through texting, she shamed and encouraged him to complete the act. Why? What was her motivation and what was she thinking?
To learn more about this story, please read and then share your thoughts with our community. What do you think about the verdict? What should her sentence be? Clearly there are mental health issues here. Do you think she should be held accountable?
Learn more about the case here
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Topics: laws, depression, Massachusetts, suicide, michelle carter, national news

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