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DiversityNursing Blog

Nurses on the run

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 @ 01:43 PM

For nearly a year, the Boston Marathon bombings and their aftermath have haunted Chelsey McGinn, RN, of the Blake 12 Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In December the MGH gave McGinn an opportunity to honor the victims – and begin her own healing process – by running this year’s marathon as part of its Emergency Response Fund team.

“I feel like it’s been almost a year now, and I haven’t really done anything therapeutic sinceBlake12Marathoners resized 600 it happened,” McGinn says. “I felt like other people who I worked with found ways to kind of cope with it, but I hadn’t really found that. When this came up, I thought this was a perfect way to celebrate how far the victims have come and recognize my co-workers.” 

McGinn is one of six nurses on her unit who are planning to run the 2014 Boston Marathon – five for charity teams and one as a qualified runner. Most are first-time runners, and all say they are running in honor of the three bombing victims who were treated on the unit.

“I had a really hard time afterward, and it lasted longer than I expected,” says Laura Lux, RN, who is running for the American Red Cross. “I’m running because I don’t want to be defeated. I know if he could, my patient would be running just to prove a point. Because he can’t, I feel like I need to do this for him. After watching what he and his family went through, I feel like it’s the least I could do for them.”

Lux says she felt an immediate connection with her patient and his family. “Despite everything they were just so determined and so strong,” she says. “Everyone was angry, but there was good coming from it too. We got to know each other because of it. I felt like he was a family member. It’s the most personal experience of my career.”

Lux’s experience is similar to that of the other nurses who are running, including Emily Erhardt, RN, a trauma ICU nurse and member of the MGH Emergency Response Fund Team, who has stayed in touch with her patient and his family since they left the hospital. “This event affected everyone, so it was one of the few times in my career that I felt like all I could do with the family was cry with them. It’s such a terrible thing that happened that there aren’t words to comfort them. You just have to be there for them,” she says. “A year ago they were strangers to me, but now they’re the most inspiring people in my life. I’m not much of an athlete, but I was really affected by the whole thing, and I wanted to do something more.”

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Blake 12 runners receive a boost of support from the Harvard University Employees Credit Union. Included in the photo with members of the ICU are Paul Conners, MGH branch manager; Eugene Foley, president and CEO; and Guillermo Banchiere, MGH director of Environmental Services, who serves as a member of the credit union's board of directors.

Allyson Mendonza, RN, who is running for the Mass General Marathon Team “Fighting Kids Cancer … One Step At a Time,” recalls the moment she knew she too wanted to do something more. Mendonza says her patient had just returned from surgery when she was told President Barack Obama was coming to visit. The woman was excited but was distraught about her appearance, so Mendonza and her colleague soaked her nails and helped shampoo and condition her hair to wash out the cement and clumps of dried blood.

“We just tried our best to make her feel better about herself and feel good for the day ahead. She actually fell asleep. When she awoke, she said, ‘This is the most relaxed I have felt in days.’ It was just so emotional for us and for her,” Mendonza says.

Caring for the marathon victims brought the unit closer together, and staff once again have come together to support and encourage their fellow colleagues.

“The teamwork and the camaraderie were amazing,” saysKatherine Pyrek, RN, who was the charge nurse during the week of the bombing. “Every one of the nurses was affected by what was going on, but they stayed strong and carried on. The bonds the nurses made with the patients and their families were incredible and really went above and beyond.”

Pyrek, who is running for the Mass General Marathon Team, says the Blake 12 runners offer each other advice and encouragement to help in the training process. “We remind why we’re doing this – for our patients and their families,” she says. “I think about the patients when they were in pain and how scared they were. I think that if they get through it then I can get through however many miles I need to run.”


The runners all say they look to Meredith Salony, RN, a veteran marathoner who qualified for the marathon, for guidance. “I’m so proud to be in this unit where there’s so much enthusiasm. Even the people who aren’t running are trying to help out and organize events and find ways for people to contribute,” Salony says.

Each of the nurses says they are overwhelmed when they imagine how they will feel on Marathon Monday.

“I think it’ll be really therapeutic and empowering,” McGinn says. “I’m honored to be a part of it. If I’m ever going to run a marathon, this is the one I want to run. I’ll always remember the way I felt at work that night, and it’s going to be a really nice thing to be able to remember this feeling for the rest of my life too.”

For more information or to support the teams visit

This is the first in a series of articles that MGH Hotline will publish about staff running in this year’s Boston Marathon.

Source: Massachusetts General Hospital

Topics: nurses, patients, Boston Marathon, Massachusetts General Hospital, Run for MGH

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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