Department Spotlight: NICU Transport
Bringing in new life is an exciting and beautiful occasion. The possibilities for the newest members of our world are endless – what will the child grow up to become? What will they achieve in their lifetime? Anyone will agree that a new life is precious and protecting that life by any means possible is a necessity. Sometimes, however, a baby’s journey into our world brings along obstacles. Prematurity, congenital defects and other complications can accompany a birth and the baby’s first few moments of life. But what happens when these complications happen outside of a fully-functioning Labor & Delivery unit, or if the complications need a special level of intervention with a health system capable of caring for their unique needs? Enter the NICU Transport team at Renown Health. As the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Transport team in northern Nevada, these dedicated nurses, respiratory therapists and neonatal nurse practitioners – who have normal unit duties of their own at Renown Regional Medical Center – step up to the plate to take on this extra duty to support members of their community facing some of the scariest moments of their lives. To them, transporting babies in critical condition and giving them the best chance of life isn’t just a responsibility; it’s a calling. The NICU on Wheels When the Saint Mary’s maternity unit, which was Renown’s partner in NICU transport duties, made the decision to close, our dedicated NICU nurses and respiratory therapists diligently rose to the occasion to fill the demand. Dubbed the “NICU on Wheels,” Renown’s team went from taking on transport duties every other day to 365 days a year – and they are always ready to go at a moment’s notice, whether it’s by ambulance or by fixed-wing aircraft. “When we learned about the closure we knew it was our calling and knew we had to step up,” said Rachel D., Neonatal Transport RN at Renown. “We still have regular days on the floor, and we each switch off being on-call for transport. Once we get a distress call, we have 30 minutes to get to the hospital, grab our gear and go. We have to essentially put a whole room’s worth of portable equipment in one bag.” “I really enjoy being a part of the transport team and making a difference from northern Nevada to northern California,” added Sam V., Supervisor of Respiratory Care at Renown. “We are able to practice at the top of our skill level and use autonomy that not every practitioner gets to use.” Each NICU Transport unit works in teams of three when heading out into the field: one nurse (our bedside experts), one nurse practitioner (our education experts) and one respiratory therapist (our lung and breathing experts). With several years – and in many cases, decades – of experience in NICU nursing, NICU transport duties and respiratory therapy, this team is poised to provide state-of-the-art lifesaving care en route to the hospital. This diverse array of experiences among the team especially comes in handy as they continue to face the increased transport workload. “We are so thankful to have Saint Mary’s employees come over and work on our team after their maternity ward closed,” said Melyssa H., RN, NICU Transport Coordinator at Renown. “Helping the babies, as well as helping the scared families, will always be our top priority.” “I love the complexity that babies provide in the NICU,” added Jennifer J., Neonatal Transport RN at Renown. “Providing hands-on care right at the bedside along other members of the team is such a rewarding experience.” Education is also a crucial tool in NICU care, especially in the field. The nurse practitioners on this team make it their mission to outreach to the community, including our rural health partners, and help them build the tools and skills they need to care for our smallest and most critical patients. “I have been on a few transports where we went out and did not have to bring the baby over to the hospital, and we were able to provide lots of education instead,” said Shiela A., Respiratory Specialist at Renown. “For instance, I was called out to Fallon for a baby that was in respiratory distress. When we arrived, we saw the baby was awake and active although intubated. The tube came out, and we retaped it. While we stayed to observe the baby to make sure everything was okay, the nurse practitioner on the team provided educational tools to the family on what they can improve on regarding their baby’s tubing. Our nurses do such a great job with these teachings.” “When I started, I quickly noticed that more education was needed in the field,” added Jennifer J., RN. “Now I see the momentum we’ve had in these communities really take full force. Because of this education, and the confidence we instill in our patients’ families, each baby’s transition to our team has become so much easier. It has been awesome to watch this progress over the years.” With immense experience, education and a strong commitment to their community under their wing, the NICU on Wheels is only just getting started. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work Running a successful NICU Transport operation, especially as the sole health system participating, takes a village. With only three professionals out in the field, the team leans on their fellow nurses, physicians, surgeons and specialists to make the operation run as smoothly as possible. From REMSA and Care Flight helping load patients in and get them to the hospital safely, to Renown’s Clinical Engineering team who are first on the scene when machines need repairs and troubleshooting, everyone rises to the occasion to achieve the best-possible outcome for our youngest patients at some of the most challenging moments of the beginning of their lives – and they are fully trusted to move those mountains. “Being a part of the NICU Transport team has given us the opportunity to facilitate a deeper, meaningful relationship with providers and a patient’s entire care team,” said Rachel D., RN. “They entrust us with our assessment skills, opinions and skill levels. There is an equal layer of trust between us and them.” Despite the pressure they feel every day, the NICU Transport team never let it overtake them and instead let it empower them. “We are under a lot of pressure and stress regardless of the case, and yet, we all work so well together; the teamwork really is incredible,” said Lisa A., Respiratory Specialist at Renown. “I am very proud of how our team steps up and is very intricate, even down to organization. For example, team members like Shiela arrange all the respiratory bags and make sure they are laid out in a way that makes the procedure as simple as possible to ensure there are no complications.” The nurses and respiratory therapists also partner together on the NICU floor and are always ready to provide coverage when their transport colleagues get a call. Committed to collaboration and ready to jump into action, the NICU Transport team works together to elevate each other and the bottom line for each patient. “This is a full-time gig, and the group works together to make sure everyone is covered; we are all very collaborative,” said Sarah K., Respiratory Specialist at Renown. “We all think of our patients as extra special, and it’s nice to know that you can make a difference in the baby’s life and the lives of the family. We all have a sense of purpose in giving back to the community.” “I am just so thankful to be a part of this team,” added Marcia A., Neonatal Transport RN at Renown. “We really have developed a strong bond.” A Track Record of Success The life-saving measures that each member of the NICU Transport team take surpass hospital walls. The impact they have on each baby are remembered and celebrated for years, and they often develop lifelong relationships with patients and their families after their stay in the NICU. One prime example of this can be found in an impassioned letter from Tess, the mother of a young boy who was in the midst of respiratory distress and needed immediate intervention. Because of the valiant efforts of Renown’s NICU Transport team, her child, Warren, is a healthy and happy baby to this day. She recalls the experience: Warren had stopped breathing while getting routine blood work. He was resuscitated twice while at an area hospital. We made the decision to transfer him to Renown for him to be admitted into the NICU. Within an hour and a half of this decision, Renown had sent a team consisting of a respiratory therapist, nurse and nurse practitioner to come and get him. As soon as the team entered the room, we immediately felt safe and comforted. The team made sure we knew exactly what was going on and what was going to happen in the following hours, and they let us know they would do everything for Warren. He was resuscitated two more times by the respiratory therapist while getting ready for transport. At that time, the decision was made to intubate for a smoother ride to Renown. We knew you all had his best interest in mind, and of course, we trusted you with everything. The intubation went well, and he was packed up and ready to drive. Today, Warren is hitting all of his developmental milestones and is a normal, happy baby in everyone’s eyes. We can’t thank the NICU Transport team enough for taking such good care of Warren and helping him Fight the Good Fight. “This success wasn’t just due to our three-person unit – our manager, Jason, also jumped in and drove all the way to Carson City to stabilize the child,” said Shiela A. “This just goes to show that no matter our title, we are always here to help and make a huge difference in the lives of our patients.” Success stories of children like Warren describe the common mission of the NICU Transport team in detail, and while there are more of these stories to come, the team is always ready to make the necessary sacrifices for the greater good of their patients. “Sarah K. is like Warren’s guardian angel,” said Tess. “We call her ‘Auntie Sarah’ now. He wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her and the entire NICU Transport team. It takes a special kind of person to work in the NICU. I can never repay this team for what they’ve done for Warren and our family.” “I am proud of this team, their flexibility and the sacrifices they have made to do transport 365 days a year,” added Melyssa H., RN.” The remarkable success of the NICU Transport team serves as proof of the unwavering and tireless commitment of each and every team member, bringing hope to families during their most difficult moments. “NICU Transport forces you to be confident in yourself and your abilities and to push yourself a step further,” said Rachel D., RN. “I am a better nurse because I joined the transport team.”
Department Spotlight Cardiac: Catheterization Lab
February is American Heart Month, but our incredible heart heroes are here to serve you all year long. So please join us in honoring the Cardiac Cath Lab team at Renown Health! At the core of who we all are, we find the heart: one of the largest sources of life that gives us the blood and oxygen we need to live full and healthy lives. When the heart doesn’t function to the best of its ability, a delicate approach led by cardiac experts might be necessary. These individuals can not only save lives but also help facilitate a higher quality of life. The team entrusted to protect that vital source of life includes the hard-working and talented individuals in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab (a.k.a. “Cardiac Cath Lab” or “Cath Lab”) at Renown Health. These team members are known for their expertise, precision and quick-thinking in emergencies. When it comes to the function of your heart, you are in the best hands with this team. Their passion for Renown’s mission of making a genuine difference in the health and well-being of the people they serve is a testament to what they do every day. Cardiac Champions Whether the procedure is emergent or planned, the Cardiac Cath Lab wears many different hats. The team is a well-coordinated group of nurses, imaging professionals, electrophysiology technologists, interventional technologists and more who band together to provide a diverse array of services, including stent placements, pacemakers, balloon pumps, interventional angioplasties, TAVRs and of course, catheters. “A day in the life in the Cath Lab can go various ways,” said Erica Drummer, RN at Renown Health. “Every day, you are either a part of the electrophysiology team, doing cardiac ablations and placing devises such as pacemakers; the structural heart team, which includes MitraClips for mitral regurgitation and TAVRs; or the heart catheterization team, which includes diagnostic angiograms, heart catheterizations, angioplasties and stents for clogged arteries.” With the wide variety of cases the team sees daily, an average day in the Cath Lab consists of many moving parts. “We handle cases from left and right heart catheterizations, where we can diagnose and fix the artery right then, to electrophysiology cases like heart ablations and pacemaker implants, all the way to emergency STEMI (heart attack) patients,” said Michael Blankenship, Electrophysiology Technologist at Renown Health. “We do so many things in the Cath Lab,” added Laurel Douglas, RN, Imaging Manager at Renown Health. “We ensure we have 24/7 coverage for emergencies, as we often have to act at a moment’s notice to care for emergent situations.” Many of those emergency situations involve heart catheterization. If someone has a heart attack, the team immediately steps in to place stents to open the coronary arteries that are causing the attack. If a patient’s heart needs any assistance during an emergency, the team can place devices such as Impella (temporary ventricular support) or intra-aortic balloon pumps. Renown is a major advocate for advanced medical technology, and the Cardiac Cath Lab team embraces these technologies to perform life-saving procedures, all while working together as a cohesive unit. “We work amongst each other to ensure sterility, safety and the best outcome for each patient,” said Zohra Benbrahim, RN at Renown Health. “We try to fit in as many cases as possible into the workday, and sometimes after hours, so patients can get the care they need.” “Each team usually has 3-4 members, and each member has a critical job to carry out in order to implement excellent cardiac care,” added Erica Drummer, RN. “Many of our patients tell us that we all work well together, and I couldn’t agree more. We have become like a well-oiled machine or a NASCAR pit crew.” Naturally, patients undergoing any heart procedure might feel frightened and anxious. Never fear – the compassionate Cardiac Cath Lab team is here to ease those fears throughout each patient’s entire visit. Their main solution? Communication. “Being a patient in the Cath Lab can be daunting,” said Erica Drummer, RN. “When we have patients who may feel scared or have concerns, we try our best to connect with them, keep them informed and educate them on the procedure and the step-by-step process, including what they may feel before, during and after.” “Overall, we try to keep spirits light,” said Zohra Benbrahim, RN. “Our team is excellent at explaining the procedure as it is happening. We also advocate for comfort throughout the procedure, which helps tremendously with anxiety, including giving patients warm blankets and music of their choice!” Our experts in the cardiac Cath Lab make sure that no stone goes unturned when it comes to optimal heart function for every patient. Together, the team mends hearts and saves lives, day in, day out. A Growth Mindset Always learning, always improving, always reaching new heights – that's the Cardiac Cath Lab team. This team’s accomplishments speak for themselves on both a local and national scale. “Over the years, we have achieved several milestones, including becoming a STEMI Receiving Center, gaining our Chest Pain Center Accreditation (which is achieved by Cath Labs who provide emergent percutaneous coronary intervention for heart attack patients 24/7) and having our accredited electrophysiology program,” said Laurel Douglas, RN. “We also offer services that other facilities do not offer. We have brought in several new procedures to the Cath Lab over the years. This is impactful, as the community members get to stay here for treatment.” The Cath Lab team is anything but ordinary. There is never a dull moment in this department, and despite an ever-growing caseload, the team is always ready to rise to the challenge and continue pushing to surpass the average. “I am so proud of my team for providing care for such sick patients,” said Zohra Benbrahim, RN. “We never really know how the day is going to go because emergencies happen, and things always change. Recently, we had a record high volume of cases, and my team powered through these busy weeks like champs.” “We strive to get our STEMI door-to-balloon times at or below 60 minutes,” added Erica Drummer, RN. “Door-to-balloon time refers to the time from when a patient arrives in the ER to the time the Cath Lab has a catheter guide wire crossing the culprit lesion in the coronary artery that is causing the heart attack. The national average (and current guideline) is 90 minutes, so our 60-minute time is a notable accomplishment for us.” The importance of staying on top of your heart health comes center stage during American Heart Month, which is a prime opportunity for our cardiology professionals to educate the community and help them grow their cardiac knowledge. The cardiac quality team participates in community events throughout the month (and beyond!) to raise awareness for cardiac health. The team also outreaches to other health systems and healthcare partners to highlight what Renown has to offer in the way of heart care. Each Cath Lab team member always reminds patients about lifestyle choices and diet changes that can improve cardiovascular health, and they take this outreach with them all around Renown Regional Medical Center as well, walking through the hallways promoting many different ways of living a heart-healthy life. The journey continues! The team will soon welcome a new Cardiac Cath Lab at Renown South Meadows Medical Center. The new lab will allow our experts in heart care to treat patients at our South Meadows location experiencing a heart attack and needing immediate intervention to open vessels in their hearts. The team is looking forward to embracing even more access to emergent cardiac care for our community at large. Learn more about how Renown is building more ways to care for our community. Now Hiring for Heart Heroes Those looking to join a caring, committed and tight-knit group of cardiac care professionals will be in good company with the Cath Lab team. According to the members of this department, being a quick-thinking, dependable team member is key to predicting a successful Cath Lab professional. “A good coworker communicates with everyone and is able to be flexible when things get hectic,” said Zohra Benbrahim, RN. “Our team stays so close with each other because of everyone’s ability to recognize where help is needed. Especially in the Cath Lab, it is important to be always aware of the patient’s vitals and clinical presentation so you can speak up if you notice changes. There are always new procedures or products coming out that become integrated into our practices, so it’s also good to welcome new policies and be adaptive.” “We are a small team, and everyone sees each other as a friend,” added Laurel Douglas, RN. “We all know we will need help at some point, whether it be covering an on-call shift or helping during a procedure, so we all help each other. Teamwork and positive attitude are really what makes you a good team member.” Not only are these individuals dedicated to impacting the lives of patients with the very organ that beats life into them, but they also are devoted to Renown – and it shows. “I started working for Renown when I was 19 years old, and Renown was the medical system I went to for care; as I spent more time working here and becoming a part of the community, I could not see myself working anywhere else or getting care at any other hospital,” said Zohra Benbrahim, RN. “I truly believe Renown provides the best care and best serves the growing community of northern Nevada.” The Cath Lab team members agree that Renown is a great place to both start and continue your career. Many of them have taken advantage of Renown’s training and educational opportunities, which in turn have helped them expand their knowledge to better serve the community. “I chose to work at Renown because it gave me the place to grow in my career and experience different avenues within my career,” said Michael Blankenship. “I first started off as a student here, and I quickly realized that everybody I worked with genuinely cares for our patients. I started off in x-ray seeing patients and eventually did rotations up in the operating room, and I got hired full time in the Cath Lab. After a short time being here, I was crossed trained in the electrophysiology lab, where I furthered my knowledge in my career.” This dynamic department is actively hiring, and many open positions are sign-on bonus eligible. The team cannot wait to welcome you to their, as Erica Drummer puts it, “well-oiled machine.” “Being a Cath Lab nurse is very rewarding, especially when you’re able to be a part of a team that can save someone’s life,” Erica closes.
Read More About Department Spotlight Cardiac: Catheterization Lab
Department Spotlight: Surgical Preadmission
Heading into surgery of any kind can bring along feelings of intimidation. With a best-in-class surgery team at Renown Health, patients rest assured that they are in the most capable hands for their entire procedure from start to finish – and while the physical preparation is vital, mental and emotional preparation is equally as important to ensure each patient has a smooth and comfortable experience. The Surgical Preadmission department (a.k.a. “preadmit”) at Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center is a dynamic and compassionate group of nurses, case managers, chart managers and more who are dedicated to guiding each patient through the surgical process. With extensive knowledge and expertise under their belt, the teams are equipped to make a genuine difference in the health and well-being of all patients, for all surgeries, at all times of the year. Surgery Starting Ground The Surgical Preadmission teams are crucial aspects in the successful outcome of every surgical procedure. Comprised of skilled healthcare professionals, this department is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and care before heading into the pre-operating room. “Our job is to prepare every patient for surgery, make sure all their pre-surgery testing is done, ensure they understand their fasting and medication instructions, have had their questions answered, have a ride home and know what to expect during surgery and after so their recovery can go smoothly and without complications,” said Debra Bennett, RN, Supervisor of Surgical Preadmission at Renown Regional. “Each patient is unique, so each experience is different.” Our preadmit nurses are the masters of communication, directing thorough assessments – including medications, tests and clearances – and addressing any questions or concerns patients may have, never missing the opportunity to inform them of exactly what they will expect in surgery. “I do a complete history on every patient while giving them detailed pre-operating instructions and helping them answer any questions to the best of my ability,” said Nancy Hilts, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “I am proud to be able to help allay their fears and concerns using my 30 years of pre-op experience. I offer an avenue for them to feel comfortable opening up to me.” “We always tell patients that they have great surgeons and a fantastic team that will be watching over them and taking care of them every step of the way,” added Jon Capallupo, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown South Meadows. “We also give them plenty of educational handouts and video content, in addition to verbal instruction, to ensure they are as prepared as possible.” The nurses then pass the reigns onto the chart managers, who prepare the charts for surgery and ensure all documentation is up-to-date before sending them to the pre-operative team. The expert surgical case managers also step in to prepare a thorough discharge plan, along with reviewing pre-operation orders for status, consent, codes and more. The team does several of these initial visits virtually, and they are looking forward to soon phasing all preadmit case manager preliminary visits into a virtual model. From assisting the pre-op and post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) teams with discharge planning concerns to helping on the outpatient side with anything from oxygen equipment and catheters to transportation issues and those experiencing homelessness, our pre-admit case managers are always up to the challenge. "We are true patient advocates, alleviating concerns and fears along the way,” said Mary Carl, RN, Case Manager at Renown Regional. “Just to name a few things we do on a daily basis, we see our total joint and non-weight bearing patients during their preadmission appointment, so they are aware of the medical equipment they need and if it is covered by insurance; provide education for Aspira catheters and gastrostomy tubes; advocate to ensure tube feeding and dressing changes are set up for hospice and home health patients; and escalate concerns of patient safety to ensure a safe discharge.” In the midst of it all, there is never a dull moment in the preadmit teams. At Renown Regional alone, the preadmit professionals see more than 1,600 patients a month – and each one has a hyper-personalized experience with their very own preadmit team. “Many times, we are the first impression a patient has on our organization; after all, we touch more than 97 percent of patients that are scheduled for surgery, cardiac catheterization lab procedures or interventional radiology,” said Amy Schler, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “We also collaborate with many other departments in the hospital as well, from surgeons and anesthesiologists to case managers and nurse navigators. Our work in preadmit impacts the entire surgical process.” Holding a diverse array of experiences, our preadmit department plays an integral role in our commitment to providing the highest quality of care to every patient. Knowledge is Power Heading into surgery feeling fearful and worried is normal for any patient. However, how would you feel knowing that each individual member on your preadmit team has, on average, 23-25 years of experience in the field? This is the reality for our Surgical Preadmission department – and they put that vast knowledge to great use to bring a sense of calm to patients. “Our team members have worked in various departments within our organization, and they bring a wealth of knowledge that we share with each other, and most importantly, with our patients,” said Amy Schler, RN. “If you have hundreds of years of nursing experience, you can speak not only as a nurse but also as a patient. It allows you to give a more personal perspective on what patients can expect in their recovery. Being able to assess their emotions and provide feedback to our pre-op and PACU teams help the patient have a better experience.” “Many of our nurses have close to 40 years of experience each, and they have an extremely large knowledge base since we see patients from newborn to geriatric and from easy procedures to complex surgeries,” added Debra Bennett, RN. “Another great aspect of our team is the varied nursing backgrounds we all hold – surgery, pre- and post-op, labor and delivery, pediatric intensive care, cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, cardiac cath lab, home health and everything in between. Communication between departments is so important!” All members in this department, regardless of which clinical area they came from, surgical or non-surgical, can easily translate their skills into the work they do in preadmit – and they only continue to grow. “As a surgical preadmission nurse, I have used my years of experience as a nurse in surgical services,” said Terri Delatorre, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown Regional. “I started as a floor nurse with orthopedics for 12 years, and then I worked with the PACU for 11 years. This has helped me give great understanding and care to our surgical patients.” “Because we have staff with such a vast knowledge base, we can rely on our years of working within our organization to help alleviate fears that the patient may have,” added Amy Schler, RN. We can prepare them for what to expect in pre-op and PACU and educate them on what to expect post-op, including any barriers they may face. For example, mastectomy patients may not realize they will not be able to raise their arms for 7-10 days post-op, and total knee patients have to navigate stairs and housing access. Helping patients think about barriers at home that they may not have thought about helps them prepare prior to surgery, enhances their healing and provides a better surgical experience.” The preadmit team works closely with our best-in-class surgeons and anesthesiologists, continuing to grow their expertise along the way while learning alongside our talented providers. For instance, when it comes to our Renown South Meadows preadmit department, anesthesiologist Nariman Rahimzadeh, MD provides excellent guidance for the entire team on state-of-the-art anesthesiology practices. “I am very proud of the work we do with Dr. Rahimzadeh,” said Lisa Closson, Surgical Preadmission RN at Renown South Meadows. “Together, we ensure patients are safe for both surgery and anesthesia.” Despite the challenges that come their way – whether it be changes to process and workflow to navigating support for patients after they leave the surgery floor – the preadmit team cleverly uses their collective wealth of knowledge to bring hope and comfort to all patients. “Our nurses are such warm, caring and compassionate humans that do their best to ease any fears and anxieties patients may have,” said Debra Bennett, RN. The Pride of Preadmission The pride of our preadmit team lies in their ability to make a positive impact on all patients they serve. To them, their work is not just a job – it's a calling. And they do it all while working together to elevate their team and performance. “Our team is most proud of the quality of care we provide to our patients and our abilities to troubleshoot difficult situations to ensure they have a great surgical experience here at Renown,” said Mary Carl, RN. The entire department supports each other by working collaboratively and relying on each other’s expertise to provide the best possible care for patients. They understand that their success as a team depends on their abilities to support and help each other. “Our team is awesome here at South Meadows,” said Jon Capallupo, RN. “We can turn to each other for support, and we all work very well with each other. I am glad to be a part of this team.” “I am proud of how well all of us in preadmit works with each other every day,” added Lisa Closson, RN. “We try to make patients feel comfortable from the moment they arrive to the time they leave the department.” The pride that our preadmit team expends goes beyond their departmental limits – these team members are also trusted teachers. They work closely with cancer nurse navigators to teach weekly classes for patients who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, coupled with lymphedema prevention and education classes. The team also encourages participation in Renown’s free smoking cessation programs to help their patients learn the risks and benefits of quitting smoking. When not serving patients or teaching classes, you can find many of these team members taking charge of multidisciplinary committees within our health system, including breast leadership, gastroenterology leadership, shared governance, infection control and recruitment and retention. On top of it all, this team certainly knows how to celebrate, with several of their members being a part of their own department-wide Celebration Committee, where they gather for retirement parties, baby showers and team get-togethers. Always active and never passing up a challenge, our preadmit department are shining examples of Renown’s Culture Commitments, especially Caring and Collaboration, and the pride in the vital work they do every day is limitless. “I am so happy my position in preadmit opened up for me at a time when I was really feeling challenged in my career,” said Nancy Hilts, RN. “The team that we have here is amazing. I am so grateful and thankful every day for the opportunity. It is an amazing place to work!”
Department Spotlight: Infection Prevention
Hygiene in healthcare is an essential backbone to providing the safest, most optimal care to every patient. From everyday handwashing techniques and getting all necessary vaccinations to surveilling our health system before the onset of outbreaks, at Renown Health, creating and maintaining a low-infection environment is a group effort. From ensuring fundamental infection prevention practices are carried out to identifying process improvement opportunities, Renown’s Infection Prevention (IP) department is here to help care teams be successful in their role. This effort is led by members who are devoted in sharing evidence-based best practices to our patients, employees, healthcare organization partners and community. Making “Zero” A Reality Reducing healthcare-associated infections is possible when core infection prevention practices are incorporated into the daily care of our patients. These team members are dedicated to Renown’s commitment to creating a culture of Excellence, caring for our healthcare environment, and our care teams. “Often times, when asked what we do in our work it can be a challenge to answer because unpredictability is built into almost every day; and in that, we as a team must divide and conquer,” said Susanne James, Manager of Infection Prevention. Every day, each team member is assigned a day to perform required surveillance activities. Whether they are reviewing patients’ infections and isolation and evaluating lab orders for possible infectious processes or reporting communicable diseases to the local health authorities and the CDC, every Infection Preventionist participates in improvement projects and address issues as they arise. The Infection Prevention team plans, organizes, manages and evaluates the Infection Prevention Program and ensures IP policies reflect current best practice. They work closely with all departments at Renown in order to achieve high levels of standards that are implemented to reduce transmission of infection. “As a team, we perform ‘Infection Prevention Environment of Care Rounding’ on all units and departments to ensure our environment complies with regulatory requirements,” said Erika Clark, Operations Analyst at Renown Health. "We work together with Facilities and Site Practice Leaders to ensure a safe environment.” The pandemic challenged all Renown teams to find creative solutions for issues no one ever imagined. Our Infection Prevention department worked tirelessly alongside Renown's Hospital Incident Command Structure (HICS) and care teams in creating several lines of defense against COVID-19, including: Launching Renown's Alternate Care Site to meet the need for critical patients. Bringing on the new lab tests and specimen collection criteria. Managing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE). Bringing vaccines to staff and then to the community. Managing ill employees and our visitors. Keeping all locations informed on pandemic status and changes (which were occurring at breakneck speed). These initiatives enabled Renown's care teams to focus on providing the safest care possible to patients saving countless lives. This solidified the fact that together, the team can accomplish anything. “Infection Prevention is proud to be a valued and respected member of the care team,” said Susanne James. “We appreciate being a trusted resource and take this responsibility seriously as this enables us to provide staff the best possible tools to be successful.” Fight the Good Fight Against the Spread of Disease Educating patients and providers plays a huge part on the Infection Prevention stage. This team provides educational materials on a range of topics, some of the most important are, proper hand hygiene and the use of PPE. All these materials can be found throughout our health system and serve as an important reminder – infection prevention starts with all of us. “We partner with every aspect of the health system – environmental services, nutrition services, lab services, facilities, pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy, respiratory care, patient access, security, nurses, providers and quality...just to name a few!” said Susanne James. Our Infection Prevention team also partners with Washoe County Health District and other public health agencies to report – and in turn, stop the spread of – diseases and exposures. These close partnerships poise our team to do what we do best: Fight the Good Fight. “I greatly appreciate everyone in the IP department for sharing their expertise as I learned a new position,” said Erika Clark. “I love working with my team and how closely we work with other departments to ensure excellence in all we do.” Our health system is ever-changing. But according to the experts in our Infection Prevention department, the three main ways to prevent illness and disease that remain the same time and time again are to: Clean your hands. Hand hygiene is the most effective way of preventing the spread of infections. The CDC recommends washing your hands with warm soap and water for 15-20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Clean your hands often and assist our patients to do the same. Learn expert hand-washing advice here. Get vaccinated. Immunizations are one of the top methods you can embrace the fight against preventable diseases, such as COVID-19, flu, measles, tetanus and more. Discover how you can get vaccinated with Renown. Keep germs from spreading. Practice good hygiene by covering your cough or sneeze or wearing a mask and sanitizing frequently touched spaces. Stay home if you feel ill to prevent the spread of illness and infection. Be sure to bring up any illness concerns with your primary care provider. “Every aspect of our health system has an infection prevention component, and we work daily to ensure our staff, patients and visitors are providing and receiving care free from potential harm or infections,” said Susanne James. “We are often the first call staff make when they have questions, concerns or just need someone to help improve process or outcomes.” Reveling with Renown Proudly defining themselves as a “small but mighty” team, the six-person Infection Prevention department moves mountains to ensure the safety of anyone who walks through Renown’s doors. The tight-knit nature of this team can be felt from miles away, and to them, being “small but mighty” is not a hindrance, as they have the support of the IP Champions and the entire health system. “I originally came to Renown in 2018 as a nurse traveler, the facility and people I worked with immediately made an impact on me,” said Brian Stroud, Infection Preventionist at Renown Health. “My wife and I chose Renown and Reno due to the positive impact the people had on us. Everyone is welcoming, helpful and caring. Now, I am a full-time employee, and the team has made my transition into infection prevention trouble-free." Renown’s mission of providing a genuine difference for the health and wellbeing of the community is heightened and echoed by the Infection Prevention team. “I chose Renown because of the reputation Renown has earned in the community because of the excellent care and level of services provided,” said Shannon Oriola, Infection Preventionist at Renown Health. “I absolutely love this team and my Renown family!” “What brought me to Renown was the opportunity to acquire diverse skills which then motivated me to pursue my master’s degree,” added Paul DeLeon, Infection Preventionist at Renown Health. “What keeps me here is the people – Renown attracts hard working, ethical and caring people.” "My wife and I loved coming out to the Nevada mountains on vacations," added Russ Laarman, Infection Preventionist at Renown Health. "After being in Michigan for 47 years, we took the plunge and made NV our home. The experience has been great! I work with a great team that is very knowledgeable and works hard to ensure positive outcomes for our patients and colleagues at Renown.” Their pride shines through with their own individual accolades, both inside and outside of work. This past year: Shannon Oriola received a scholarship from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) for “improving outcomes through knowledge and practice,” which provided her with a $1,000 scholarship to attend the annual APIC conference in Indianapolis. Paul DeLeon earned his Certification in Infection Control and Prevention from APIC. Erika Clark completed Renown’s High Potential program, a six-month program that gives employees hands-on learning experience with several competencies, including emotional intelligence, effective communication, building successful relationships and organizational knowledge. Brian Stroud and his wife Charla became official Nevada residents. Russ Laarman scaled Mount Whitney. ...And the list keeps growing! Charged with the goal of keeping disease spread at bay, our Infection Prevention team remains vigilant and dedicated to their mission. Their commitment to Renown and to keeping our health system clean and healthy proves the age-old saying true: not all heroes wear capes. “I’m so very proud of the work Infection Prevention does every day, working with the vast teams throughout the health system to improve lives,” said Susanne James. “We would like to thank all of you for protecting the health and safety of your colleagues, our patients and the community.”
Department Spotlight: Hospital Care Management
Navigating care through the hospital system can be a daunting task for any patient. When faced with a difficult diagnosis or a complex healthcare journey, patients hope for, and deserve, the gold standard of support in helping them get connected with the resources, counseling, follow-up care and action plan to Fight the Good Fight. That hope quickly turns into reality and relief when the case managers and social workers at Renown Health step in to help. Renown’s Hospital Care Management department consists of caring, compassionate case managers and social workers who are the ultimate welfare protectors. By tapping into the needs of every patient and bridging any needs gaps with the resources they need, these team members move mountains to ensure every case results in the best possible outcomes. Your In-House Patient & Family Liaisons Whether they are providing therapeutic services to patients experiencing behavioral health issues, referring patients in addiction recovery to resources to aid in their recovery process or guiding a patient with cancer through the complicated care process, our case managers and social workers ensure patients and family members stay on course throughout their healthcare journey from beginning to end. “Our department has teams that cover all areas of the hospital, including the emergency department,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW, Director of Hospital Care Management at Renown Health. “We see all-aged patients, ranging from NICU babies and families to those experiencing the last moments of their life (and everyone in between).” “All of our cases start in the prevention, or pre-acute, phase and continue through the healthcare continuum,” added Alma Yanez, DNP, Manager of Hospital Care Management at Renown Health. “We are here to partner with patients and families, helping them assess, plan, implement and evaluate options of care and services to meet everyone’s needs.” These team members are your go-to counselors, crisis interventionists, community resource referrers, and most of all, patient advocates. When patients need a leader to follow if confronted with an intimidating hospital stay or life-altering diagnosis, our experienced Hospital Care Management department gladly steps in to be that support system, easing fears and anxieties along the way. Providing optimal care and guidance is par for the course for this team. "We help patients understand confusing diagnoses, arrange rehab and other post-hospital supports, help families understand how they can best support a loved one facing a ‘new normal’, navigate end-of-life decisions and so much more,” said Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW, Social Work Care Coordinator at Renown Health. This department also serves as Renown’s discharge experts. Our case managers and social workers facilitate appropriate length-of-stay and work around the clock to arrange services for patients as they acclimate back home. “Reviewing each patient’s medical records to ensure every resource and section of care is delivered at the right time is crucial,” said Alma Yanez. “Patients depend on us to use the best judgment when it comes to cost-effective outcomes and the planning and execution of their care after they leave our hospital.” Expert care coordination, health resource referrals, therapeutic services, workshop facilitation, healthcare financial liaising, crisis support, staff training...a better question for this department might be, “what don’t they do?” These team members are proud “do-it-all-ers.” “Our team is proudest of being a support to our patients and their families, as well as the positive impact our work has during traumatic and difficult times in people’s lives,” said Abbie Smith. “Everything is ‘Figure Out-able'” Those are the wise words said by Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW and emphasized by her entire team. No case is too complex for our Hospital Care Management department, yet every case poses great rewards for both the providers and the patients. “I love being a social worker for Renown, as every day is filled with new and diverse situations,” said Abbie Smith. “As the social worker assigned to the trauma intensive care unit, my experiences at Renown are challenging but very rewarding. I have the privilege of helping victims of traumatic situations get the social, emotional, psychological and medical assistance they need to help recover from their experience.” Every team member in the Hospital Care Management department leads with the utmost care and concern for every single patient and their families, leveraging compassionate communication techniques every step of the way. “For so many patients, they are admitted to the hospital and receive life-changing news,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW. “Our department is the one to answer questions like ‘what do I do now?’ or ‘how am I going to get through this?’ Our team members are experts in their field, and they have a unique holistic lens into the patient’s situation. They spend time learning about the patient’s experiences and circumstances before they were admitted and navigate the next steps of what their new reality means. We spend countless hours ensuring each patient has the resources needed to be successful upon discharge.” “I always ask open-ended questions to help reduce my patients’ fears, such as, ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘What can I do?’” added Abbie Smith. “We listen to learn more about the individual’s unique circumstances so we can offer appropriate support and guidance.” Compassionate communication is especially important when our case managers and social workers approach terminal illness, palliative care options and end-of-life conversations with patients and families. While never easy, these team members always lead with empathy. “End-of-life conversations, which I help facilitate, frequently occur in the ICU,” said Abbie Smith. “When needed, I help families work through painful, initial moments of grief after losing a loved one.” Each social worker and case manager takes any opportunity to lessen patient stress, which can make all the difference in the end. “Patients and families look to us for comfort and support, and we are proud to be a source of solace for them,” said Kami Price, LSW, Supervisor of Social Services at Renown Health. “No matter how complicated the case is, we are always there to guide them through what may otherwise be a daunting journey.” Now Hiring: Holiday Heroes Needed This dynamic department is expanding! This team is seeking case managers and social workers in a wide variety of disciplines, including behavioral health, oncology and chronic care management. From social work bachelor’s and master’s students looking for an enriching entry-level opportunity to highly experienced case managers seeking to make a genuine difference, the Hospital Care Management department is the team for you. “Our team consists of some of those kindhearted and thoughtful individuals I’ve ever worked with,” said Alma Yanez, DNP. “Those attributes are vital to ensuring a positive patient experience, especially as we help them navigate a complicated and intimidating healthcare journey.” “Respect and compassion are also required characteristics to work in social services,” added Abbie Smith, LSW, MSW. “Having respect for our patients, their personal information and challenges is essential. Social workers interact with highly diverse populations, and it is imperative to keep an open mind and seek understanding of patients’ unique situations.” The holiday season can be especially difficult for many patients and families dealing with a difficult diagnosis or facing a long hospital stay. That’s why we need social work and case management heroes more than ever this time of year. Giving a patient and family the gift of support can be one of the greatest gifts of all. “I strongly believe that Case Management/Social Services often gets to be the light in many dark moments,” said Mary Matteoni, LSW. “I have a great passion for the work that is done in Hospital Care Management and am so proud of the team we have built and the work they do daily. We are a team of laughter, enjoyment and solid expertise in our work.” It’s time to ask yourself: are you ready to change the lives of patients and families?
Read More About Department Spotlight: Hospital Care Management
Department Spotlight: Customer Engagement Center
Do it for the patient. That’s the motto that each employee in the Customer Engagement Center (CEC) lives by every single day. This team spins all the existing stereotypical thoughts about call centers on their side by empowering and partnering with patients to achieve their best health. Being transferred around several times just isn’t in this team’s DNA – being a one-stop-shop for patient scheduling, referrals, insurance matters and more is how they proudly operate. Through elevating the customer engagement experience, the CEC closes care gaps to ensure patients get the right care at the right time. From employees who work from our home base in Reno, all the way to the southeastern corner of Florida, this primarily remote team stays firmly connected and collaborative to make patient care possible for all Renown Health patients and Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus members. The “Make It Happen” Department Back-to-back phone calls about a wide variety of patient needs? They make it happen. Referrals that need to go directly to the provider? They make it happen. Complex insurance questions that need to be resolved? They make it happen. The CEC is the keeper of all things customer service and all things patient satisfaction, leveraging technology to improve engagement and accessibility – and they wear that badge with pride. “Patient care is our first priority,” said Cindy Arevalo, Supervisor of Customer Engagement. “Even though we aren’t face-to-face with them, we are always there to help them over the phone with whatever their needs are.” The CEC has a lot of different sub-departments under its umbrella: scheduling, referrals, insurance, patient outreach, personal assistants, MyChart customer service and more. Each team handles calls for a different section of our health system, including the hospitals, imaging, primary care and specialty care. While their individual teams may be different, one aspect of their jobs remains the same: they care. Deeply. “We advocate for the patient, especially when they can’t advocate for themselves,” said Amanda Ishii, Referral Specialist. “We are the first people that patients speak to, and we all have empathy to listen to them, help them solve their problems and take as much time as they need to care for their needs,” added Susana Arroyo Garcia, Supervisor of Customer Engagement. Customer loyalty is key to the CEC. Every CEC team member builds strong relationships with patients and members. Whether they manage patient outreach or manage back-to-back inbound calls, each employee feels a special connection to the helpful work they do to solve a variety of patient concerns. “As Senior Care Plus Personal Assistants, for instance, we help guide our members through complex situations, and we eliminate the process of transferring them to different departments, becoming a ‘one-stop-shop' for them,” said Stephanie Perez Campbell, Senior Care Plus (SCP) Health Coordinator. “While every day is different, we are constantly learning new things and helping members navigate through the health system." With the 4.5 million calls the CEC handles per year, the nature of their jobs is undoubtedly fast paced. However, this does not intimidate the CEC team members; instead, it inspires them to continue reaching new milestones, helping thousands of patients and members every year by handling all the scheduling and referral work on the backend so that they can receive the care needed. “I never find myself sitting around asking, ‘what should I do next,’” said Gina Briles, Supervisor of Customer Engagement. “We always support each other to stay on top of it all in order to take care of our patients.” By wearing a lot of hats and managing many different work queues all while staying engaged with each patient, the CEC is full of natural problem-solvers, helping our healthcare network run smoothly. “The Engagement Center is the front door for the community; serving as the voice of the customer, we ensure patients do not fall through the cracks of the complex healthcare system and are able to easily access the right care at the right time through an exceptional experience,” said Candace Dietrich, Director of Customer Engagement. Consistently Connected With thousands of referrals to process and millions of calls to field, the ways the CEC stays connected to patients and members as well as each other can be related closely to magic. No concern goes unnoticed, and no problem is too complicated. “The sheer volume of patients we engage with is incredible,” said Rene Jacinto, Manager of Customer Engagement. “We processed nearly 200,000 referrals and authorizations last year.” “We expect a steady increase of calls year-over-year. My team processed 1,259 referrals in one day alone recently,” added Arielle Gomes, Referral Specialist. A superpower that every CEC team member holds is the ability to listen. According to this department, active listening is key when problem-solving with every patient and member, as that skill helps them anticipate patient needs and resolve their issues quickly and efficiently. “I’ll always listen,” said Alex Gomez, Customer Engagement Representative. “I want them to know that they are in good hands, especially when they are feeling scared or frustrated.” Team members like Alex help carefully guide customers through the Hometown Health and Senior Care Plus enrollment process, increasing membership and engaging patients to find the perfect plan for them. One of the largest challenges the CEC faces is the departures and arrivals of providers. The ebbs and flows of all hospital systems include provider departures and shifting provider availabilities. Despite this challenge, the CEC staff work hard to ensure communication with all patients regarding provider changes is consistent and that all patients are scheduled in a slot that works for both their schedule and the provider’s schedule. “It’s important for us to be flexible, because things can change at a moment’s notice,” said Gina Briles. “This is more than just a job – we are here for our patients. What we are doing impacts everyone.” Throughout all times of transition, the CEC builds robust relationships with both patients and providers within our organization and community, a skill that this team emphasizes as “fundamentally important.” For example, SCP Personal Assistants like Stephanie Perez Campbell will coordinate care with community resources and offices, giving members one less call to make and one less hurdle to cross in order to get the care they need. On top of it all, even though this team has the ability to work from all 50 states (and many of them work outside of Nevada!), every employee feels connected to their colleagues and their work. “This is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with,” said Riley Petro, Manager of Customer Engagement – Imaging. “I am super lucky for this job and am so thankful for these people.” Proud and Powerful The proof is in the pudding – or rather, the proof is in the numbers. Within the 4.5 million calls they successfully field every year, approximately 1.6 million of those calls route through the private branch exchange (PBX) team – the team that oversees the main operator lines – under the guidance of Jess Nater, Supervisor of Customer Engagement. The CEC is also on track to handle nearly 300,000 referrals this year alone. Additionally, the Hometown Health CEC team was recognized nationally this year with a five-star rating from Medicare. “We all have the initiative to grow, and because of this, we are always learning something new,” said Cindy Arevalo. “Our leaders also support our growth, especially if we want to skill-build or advance in our careers.” The CEC is frequently the first stop on the career ladder for many employees as they start their journey in healthcare, and CEC leadership is committed to the growth and development of their teams to reach their career goals at Renown. The secret formula for all this success can be in part attributed to the pride each CEC employee has for their team, their work and Renown. “We have a very supportive team,” said Holly Coffey, Supervisor of Customer Engagement. “I’ve seen our leaders support their teams tremendously.” “We rely on each other,” added Ashleigh Carty, Customer Engagement Representative. "I love the relationships we create with one another.” Employees in the CEC come from many walks of life, choosing to work at Renown and Hometown Health for a variety of different reasons, many related to the positive power our health system holds. Team members in this department hold a myriad of different career backgrounds, including pharmacy technicians, medical assistants, population health professionals, community health workers and more. Some team members, like Nikki Clifford, Customer Engagement Representative Lead, heard wonderful things about Renown from her mother, who also works for Renown. According to Nikki, “seeing how happy my mom has been in her career made me want to join too. I’ve loved it here ever since.” Katie Lunau, Supervisor of Customer Engagement, also grew up in a family involved in healthcare, and she wanted to follow in their footsteps. Choosing Renown as the place to follow her family path was a simple one, because “Renown stood out as the company that was actively involved in the community helping others.” For other team members, like Susana Arroyo Garcia, Ashleigh Carty and Stephanie Perez Campbell, Renown and Hometown Health’s impact on the local healthcare landscape was their primary driver for choosing a career here and in the CEC specifically. “Renown is very well-known in the area,” said Stephanie Perez Campbell. “I went to school in Reno for public health, so Renown came up all the time in my schooling. I knew Renown had a lot of different opportunities available for career growth, and with the friendly environment I always experienced here, it was an easy decision.” “Once I went through the interview process and joined the team, I immediately realized that there are outstanding managers, support systems and communication skills here. People genuinely care,” added Ashleigh Carty. Ashleigh is exactly right. As emphasized by every team member, employees in the CEC care. Their heightened levels of care and empathy set the bar high for all at Renown and Hometown Health, and their impact will be felt for years to come.
Read More About Department Spotlight: Customer Engagement Center
Department Spotlight: Clinical Engineering
Renown Health strongly supports and advocates for innovative medical technology. Our diverse lineup of medical equipment enables our care leaders to provide quality care to every patient. But what if a piece of technology breaks down? What happens when our care teams are ready for technological upgrades? Where do employees go when they have a question about a complicated piece of equipment? Enter the Clinical Engineering department. This sophisticated team is staffed with intelligent, science-minded individuals who are ready to jump in and help at any given second. From newborn incubators to robots that clean the hospital floors, these team members are the med-tech masters that keep our health system running. Equipment Experts Upon entering the Clinical Engineering department’s workshop, you are welcomed with an abundance of high-tech equipment undergoing repairs and upgrades. The department takes care of more than 26,000 pieces of equipment throughout the entire healthcare network, including the technologies at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, which they just took over this past year. To the average person, this may seem overwhelming; however, for this team, this is the exact environment they thrive in to make the technology magic happen. “I am motivated and engaged every day at work,” said Tony Martinez, Supervisor of Clinical Engineering for Renown. “Our department is fast-paced and rewarding, and that’s a big plus.” While some team members enter the department as equipment generalists, this team offers training to develop their skills on certain pieces of equipment, eventually becoming specialists. “Every month, we encourage our colleagues to undergo specific training on more delicate equipment,” said Tony. “Once we get to that point in their training, we assign different equipment to our team members every month. They pick up the experience very quickly.” As a Clinical Engineering Technician for Renown, Rylie Nickerson took advantage of the training and educational opportunities offered to her and is now a ventilator specialist especially for Renown’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). “Regardless of whether I’m working on ventilators or on another piece of equipment I’m assigned to, I’m always thinking about how I can help the patients, nurses and doctors,” said Rylie. Raul Hernandez, a Clinical Engineering Specialist for Renown, is the go-to person for anesthesia, heart-lung bypass, red cell saver and life support equipment. He embraces the fact that, regardless of whether you are a specialist or a generalist, there is no typical day working in this department. “Every day brings different challenges,” said Raul. “I really enjoy the mental exercises I do every day. They keep me grounded and focused.” On top of their day-to-day work and any special projects or emergencies that come up, the team is on an ongoing preventative maintenance schedule. Think of this work like your car’s oil change – routine maintenance to prevent something from breaking down in the future. “At any point, we might have 100-200 extra pieces of equipment to handle during preventative maintenance,” said Taylor Gray, a Clinical Engineering Technician for Renown. “We are always helping each other through any issues.” Our Clinical Engineering team shows exactly what it means to be collaborative. Even though their to-do lists are ever-growing, this team never feels alone. They know they can always lean on each other for support, regardless of the workload. “We always have each other’s backs,” said Taylor. “I feel so happy and satisfied in my job, and my coworkers are a large part of that.” Celebrating the Genuine Difference The Clinical Engineering department is driven by their desire to help and take care of the entire health system, and in turn, make a genuine difference for the communities we serve, from the medical staff to the patients. “The satisfaction you get in our field when we impact patients’ lives and their healing process is so motivating and engaging,” said Tony Martinez. “It’s a great feeling.” The team knows the common saying ‘Walk a mile in someone’s shoes’ very well; so well, in fact, that they take it to the next level, doing everything they can to prevent frustrations and extended down times. “We try to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before they get angry,” said Reagan Jordan, Director of Clinical Engineering for Renown. “Your satisfaction is our mission, and our team continually works to improve their outcomes every day.” This department is where the entrepreneurial spirit and science-focused mind meet. For people like Raul Hernandez, who came from a business background as well as decades of medical technology experience, Renown helps him bring both his personal and business skills into focus. “This environment is very beneficial for Renown, me, and of course, the patients,” added Raul. Being members of a team that is committed to excellence and purpose inspires them to reach new heights in patient care. “I am constantly reminded of the positive impact we have by witnessing the individual experiences we have and hearing the enthusiasm and thankfulness in their voices,” said Raul. “It gives me a great sense of pride to work at Renown.” "There is a strong feeling of mutual respect here,” added Ed Trejo, a Clinical Engineering Technician at Renown. “We are always here to help.” The proof is in the data. The Clinical Engineering team scored as one of the top departments in the recent Renown employee engagement survey, with their results sitting at more than 94 percent. “This speaks to not only our department leadership but also the team as a whole,” said Reagan. “I am extremely proud of them. Despite the pandemic, they are knocking it out of the park.” For this department, coming to Renown is easy; staying at Renown is even easier. “Staying at Renown is the easy choice,” said Raul. “And this team is only going to grow.” Workflow Whizzes and Kindness Champions “Rolling with the punches,” as Tony Martinez says, comes naturally to the Clinical Engineering team. With the constant workflow of equipment coming into the shop, every team member has learned how to be experts at prioritizing, especially based on the needs of our organization. Even though their jobs can bring a lot of intensity, this department’s positive attitude radiates throughout the hospital. Upon entering the workshop, everyone is greeted with a smile from every team member, along with an immediate willingness to dive into the complex world of engineering. “The experience of helping other people with their unique needs is invaluable,” said Taylor Gray. If this work environment sounds enticing, great news – the Clinical Engineering team is growing. Motivated, aspiring engineers with a passion for healthcare and an associate’s degree in a related field are welcome. Military experience is also valued very highly in this team. As many of our military servicemen and servicewomen gain specialized engineering experience while enlisted, the military-to-engineer career ladder at Renown is especially strong. In fact, according to Paul Joseph, a Clinical Engineering Technician at Renown, the majority of their teammates come from a military background. Above all, being capable of prioritizing on the fly, thinking critically, having an open-mined outlook and being self-driven are the top skills that this department values. As Ed Trejo states, “If you’re willing to wear different hats, you will do very well here." “Go with the flow, and expect the unexpected,” added Rylie Nickerson. Those who join this team feel at home. The warm embrace of the team’s kind nature and the supportive environment they all foster inspires an efficient workflow that helps our entire hospital system function at the top of its game. At the end of the day, everyone who joins the team, or anyone who even interacts with the team in any capacity, will be in good hands. Mandy Noriega, a Clinical Engineering Technician for Renown, closes these thoughts with a great reminder to each and every one of us: “After all, teamwork makes the dream work.”
Department Spotlight: Security
“Safety is Number One,” isn’t just a saying – it's a fact of life, especially at Renown Health. The safety of all patients, visitors, staff and volunteers is always the top priority, and our Security Department takes that commitment seriously. This team is devoted in their efforts to provide a safe environment for all, building cooperative and proactive security processes leveraging crime prevention techniques and state-of-the-art technology. Renown Security sets the safety and well-being bar high, and they continually exceed that standard day in, day out at all of our hospitals and urgent care, primary care and lab locations. Specially Trained, Continually Present Our Security Department isn’t staffed with your run-of-the-mill Security Officers; these team members surpass security and safety expectations. Think city and state police-level standards. You read that right – many of Renown’s Security Officers come from Nevada Highway Patrol, the Washoe County and Carson City Sheriff’s Offices, the state probation and parole board and more. This team fosters specialized training in a collaborative environment. Every member of the security team has extensive training in compassion, empathy and de-escalation techniques to provide the highest levels of safety and security. They implement this training in all their daily duties, whether they are saying a simple ‘hello’ to a patient passing by or preventing harm to a staff member. Before their shift begins, the team meets to debrief meeting to discuss major incidents that occurred on the previous shift. These meetings ensure the next shift is aware of situations to be on special alert for and individuals to look out for. After, the team members head off to their assignments. “The day could be as mellow as greeting someone at the welcome table, or it could be as chaotic as de-escalating someone in distress,” said Emmanuel Fernandez-Orozco, Supervisor of Security at Renown Regional. “Regardless of the day, every experience is rewarding in its own way. The only thing that is promised is that every day will be different.” While every Security Officer has varying experiences, one aspect of their job always stays the same: they are always on alert for any potential safety issue. Even on the “slowest” days, it is important for this team to stay vigilant in order to mitigate any potential risks. There are several security programs that the team uses to keep everyone at Renown safe and secure: Renown's security operations center team (also known as dispatch) monitors all cameras in real time, with security officers patrolling parking areas 24/7. Security escorts are always available for any employee, patient or guest at every Renown location. Security Officers can escort anyone to their designated site, check surroundings for danger and monitor the person until they safely leave for their next destination. Rescue officers are available for any Renown location where an employee feels unsafe. Security maintains a strong relationship with the Reno Police Department (RPD) and assists with reporting and providing information that aids RPD in pursuing and deterring criminal activity. “In security, we are a counselor, teacher and rule enforcement officer, all rolled into one,” said Bob Stone, Supervisor of Security for Renown Health. Talk about master multitaskers! Protection is only one part of the job. Through positive and meaningful interactions with guests, patients, community and staff, regardless of where they are posted, the Security Department continually helps Renown achieve its mission of making a difference for the people they serve. Devoted Dispatch Speaking of multitasking, no one does this better than the Security Dispatch Center. Security Dispatchers are the “eagle eyes in the sky” at Renown, keeping a close watch on everything that happens within every Renown location, as well as REMSA (including Care Flight). From overlooking the many cameras around campus and administering codes over the PA system to manning the radio and phones to ensure Security Officers are dispatched quickly, our dispatch team helps ensure every safety or security issue at Renown is immediately addressed. When a call comes in, dispatchers like Jessica Fernandez, Security Dispatcher for Renown Health, go through a quick discovery process (sometimes in seconds) to figure out the details of the situation or code and what level of security is needed to assess and de-escalate. According to Jessica, the ability to prioritize is something she values in her work. “80 percent of our duties are on the phone and the radios, and we are skilled in prioritizing concerns based on the sheer volume of calls we get,” she said. Jessica and her teammates are proud of the outcomes from their calls. Their attentiveness to every nook and cranny at Renown and their quick response times to make them not only a valued partner to the Security Department but also a necessity to our health system. Your In-House De-Escalation Experts Being in a hospital environment is undoubtedly stressful for any patient, and many factors can increase these emotions. The Security Department takes these feelings seriously and never hesitates to take appropriate action to ensure the safety of everyone at Renown. With the unfortunate rise of violence against healthcare workers, especially amid the pandemic, our first-rate security team has been crucial in countering violence with specialized de-escalation techniques. The key to de-escalating, according to the Security Department, is to put yourself in the shoes of whoever you are working with. As stated by Bob Stone, the team approaches each situation by asking themselves: How would I want to be treated if I was in the same circumstance? “Being empathetic to their situation and listening to what is going on in their lives is key to re-directing them accordingly,” said Bob. “Applying real-life experience to similar circumstances can make them feel like they are not alone. Educating people on hospital policies can also help them reduce their anxieties and solve the problems.” Jhorddy Lopez, Security Officer at Renown Regional, approaches each situation with the mindset of knowing that each person’s reactions are different. “Different techniques need to be implemented every time,” said Jhorddy. “You have to use your best judgment call.” Quick and effective judgment calls are a task that the Security Department has conquered. Rosie Garcia, Security Officer at Renown Regional, knows that using your best judgment means getting both sides of the story. “Whenever I need to step in and de-escalate a situation, I first speak with whoever is attending to the patient and gather information,” said Rosie. “Then, I always get the patient’s side as well. I want to understand how they’re feeling, so both the staff member and the patient can meet in the middle and come up with a collaborative solution.” An example of the heroism and advanced de-escalation displayed by our Security Officers takes us back to last spring. In the middle of the night, a Care Flight helicopter transporting a patient and their family was about to touch down on the landing pad outside of Renown Regional. Right as the helicopter was about to land, an individual jumped over the safety barricade and onto the landing pad. Alexander Pico, a former Security Officer Lead at Renown Regional (who recently joined the Carson City Sheriff’s Department) immediately communicated with the individual to leave the area. The individual then went under the rear blade, which is the most dangerous part of the helicopter. Knowing that he had to risk his own life at this point to save another, Alexander ran around the back of the helicopter and tackled the individual, preventing catastrophic injury or even death. Steve Perkins now uses this example of a swift judgment call, which was captured on dispatch cameras, as training material for new staff. Exceptional character, compassion and emotional intelligence are the attributes that every member of the Security Department holds. As noted by Steve Perkins, these attributes “allow for a quick assessment of each situation in order to de-escalate and move towards the best possible solution." Securing the Job The Security Department at Renown is actively hiring caring, dedicated team members who are ready to jump in and perform exceptional high-risk healthcare security services for our health system. “We seek people with the right combination of ability and demeanor,” said Steve Perkins. "The training and skills development we provide result in a high caliber of success.” Every team member in the Security Department is passionate about the same thing: helping others. And in a healthcare environment, this is important. “Working a healthcare security job is far different than working any other security job,” said Jhorddy Lopez. “At a hospital, you get the chance to interact with people one-on-one. I get to experience the feeling of, ‘I can make a difference in this person’s life.’” Any interaction can change the course of a person’s day, and the Security Department embraces this fact. “I really do love helping people so much, whether it be an elderly patient who needs help with their wheelchair or a situation where I need to step in and de-escalate,” said Rosie Garcia. In order to succeed in this fast-paced department, being a collaborative team member is crucial. “A good coworker is a team player – someone that loves to work in a team atmosphere,” said Emmanuel Fernandez-Orozco. Jhorddy Lopez reiterates this, adding that “communication and trust are also extremely important. Everyone has to have great communication skills and have each other’s backs.” For people like Bob Stone, having a special connection to Renown inspires him to serve. As someone who experienced two life-saving hospital stays here, he is proud to give back to the organization that gave so much to him. “It was only natural to return to a facility I was familiar with my entire life,” said Bob. “After serving as a paramedic and transporting patients into Renown from Plumas County, I knew I was not done giving back to the community. Renown was the place to do exactly that.” All Genders Welcome A common misconception about the security field is that it is strictly a “man’s job.” In Renown’s Security Department, that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a female Security Officer, Rosie Garcia is a prime example of proving that idea wrong. As a master patroller and de-escalation expert, she ensures everything is running smoothly and that everyone feels safe at all times. “When I first started here, I knew right away that nobody that works here is biased,” said Rosie. “Everyone is equal, and I am treated as an equal in this department. I know I can do the job as well as any man." Both Rosie and her counterparts in the Security Department firmly believe that this line of work is for everyone, and they continually lift each other up and support one another. “No matter your gender, as long as you have confidence and integrity, you will do well,” adds Rosie. The Bottom Line If you are passionate about creating a secure environment to ensure patients get the care they deserve and employees receive the safety they merit, the Security Department is your team to join. “I come into work with pride,” said Jhorddy Lopez. “Knowing that I can change someone’s life – that makes me proud to work here.” “You’re in good hands with us,” closes Steve Perkins.
Department Spotlight: Environmental Services
This week is Healthcare Environmental Services Week (Sept. 11 - 17, 2022). Join us in celebrating our Environmental Services department at Renown Health! Cleanliness in a healthcare environment begins and ends with the hard work of an environmental services (EVS) department, and at Renown Health, our EVS teams are no exception. This department not only provides sterile care areas for every patient, but they are passionate about keeping Renown’s patients, visitors and employees safe. Everyone who comes through the doors of any Renown location is immediately greeted with the embrace of a thoroughly clean and disinfected space, and they can rest assured that they are receiving care in the safest environment possible – and it’s all thanks to the dedication of EVS. Transcending the Meaning of Clean Talk about “squeaky clean!” All EVS team members follow a meticulous cleaning procedure to maintain patient safety in every care area. No corner or crevice is ever left behind – and the entire team is passionate about ensuring no spot goes untouched. Cris Hughes, Manager of Environmental Services and Linen for Renown, emphasizes that her team “is the frontline defense in stopping the spread of infections.” There is no question that the work the EVS team does every day around the clock is crucial to protecting the lives of patients. “I love coming to work to clean and disinfect,” said Mary Orozco, Environmental Services Technician at Renown Regional. “I feel like I’m saving lives.” After setting up carts with special cleaning chemicals, each team member heads to their assigned care areas and follows this step-by-step process (while changing gloves and using hand sanitizer in between each step to prevent contamination): Step 1: Collect and dispose of all the trash in the room. Step 2: Disinfect every item and surface. According to this department, blood is the most common bodily fluid left behind after a patient leaves a hospital room. Step 3: If there is a bed in the room, make the bed with fresh linens. Step 4: Mop the floors, ensuring every nook and cranny is thoroughly cleaned. Each team member goes through a rigorous environmental services training process, where they are taught the four-step procedure outlined above. Renown EVS Technicians are Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Technicians, otherwise known as CHEST-trained. The CHEST program “pairs quality education for high-performing health care environmental services professionals with evidence-based training sessions,” according to the Association for the Health Care Environment. CHEST certifications are also the key pathway to being promoted from housekeeper to EVS technician and being cleared to handle blood and other bodily fluids. Upon completion of the program, Renown is committed to promoting housekeepers to the next step in their career. The EVS technicians do such a good job that they have been continually celebrated by patients and visitors alike. “The patients and their families give so much support for my work that they even want to ‘take me home' with them,’” said Josephine Ubando, Environmental Services Technician at Renown South Meadows. Brittany Sylvester, Supervisor of Environmental Services for Renown, reiterates the department’s devotion to their jobs, as well as their talents that transcend the meaning of clean: “The EVS team has so much dedication to keeping our hospitals safe for our patients. They work so hard, and the passion they have is remarkable.” We Have Your Back How many of us can appreciate a great leader who helps provide optimal experiences at work? Most likely, you just internally raised your hand. In the EVS department, all team members consistently brought up one person in particular that always supports them in every endeavor: Cris Hughes. “Cris motivates me,” said Dianda Enchante, Environmental Services Technician for Renown Regional. “Cris practices open communication and always follows up. We know she has the team’s back.” “I wish we could have a monument outside to show appreciation for our leads because they are amazing,” said Josephine Ubando. “We have the best supervisor and manager.” For Rosario De Gomez, Environmental Services Technician at Renown South Meadows, Cris and her team leads are part of the reason why she has stayed at Renown for 23 years. “My team lead and manager are good people,” she added. Cris responded back to the piles of praise, saying that she could not be prouder of her team. “I feel their accomplishments and challenges, kind of like a mom does.” Imelda Castillo, Environmental Services Team Lead at Renown South Meadows, is also humbled by her employees and their compliments towards her. They continuously inspire her to strive for excellence in her job after 21 years of working for Renown. “I want to celebrate everyone,” said Imelda. “We are a team!” A strong team indeed. Sha’vonne Mclean, Quality Assurance Analyst for Renown, “could go on and on about the work that goes on in the EVS department.” Sha’vonne emphasizes that the EVS technicians and housekeepers are the backbones of our health system. “We as a team are responsible for the health and wellness of Renown, from top to bottom,” she added. “EVS works countless hours doing what they do best: cleaning and disinfecting. The hard work that happens in this department especially makes them deserving of the spotlight.” The immense support coming from every EVS team member – especially trickling down from their team leads and manager – only adds to the level of passion for infection prevention and patient safety they each hold in their hearts. And by having each other’s backs, they in turn have YOUR back as well. A Strong Culture Match The culture the EVS team has fostered in their department is so powerful that many EVS career holders have surpassed several years, and in some cases, even decades. Several team members in this department started their EVS careers at Renown between 10-20 years ago – and they never left. Their commitment to Renown’s mission and vision shines through in their work and their years-long tenure with us. “I come from a culinary background, and let me tell you, this is a totally different experience,” said Brittany Sylvester. “I have learned so many things about the process of keeping a hospital properly cleaned and disinfected for our patients in the community. I just love being a part of this team and the culture at Renown.” New employees who would like to embrace an environment where they are continually lifted up by their teammates are always welcome to join Renown EVS team. Communication, collaboration and a good attitude are needed to match the energy and level of support this team brings to work every day. “I have never seen harder workers than those in our EVS team,” said Sha’vonne Mclean. “A good majority of our team members have been here a long time, and yet, their energy never wanes. They are inspirational.” “The sense of pride we have makes me so happy,” adds Rosario De Gomez. “We are very passionate about everything we do here.”
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Department Spotlight: Emergency
The emergency department is a central part of Renown Health’s hospitals. Serving patients in need of emergent attention, this team has an incredible level of dedication to not only tending to emergencies big and small, but also saving lives 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This critical work happens daily at Renown Regional, Renown South Meadows and Renown Children’s Hospital. Patients in Renown’s emergency rooms (ER) are in the best hands, and it is all thanks to the devoted, hard-working teams who run the show. Saving Lives Around the Clock As the only Level 2 trauma center between Sacramento and Salt Lake City, taking care of a constant stream of patients in the Renown Regional, Renown South Meadows and Renown Children’s ERs come naturally for these teams. Whether it be 3 a.m. or the lunch hour, this team is always ready to spring into action to attend to virtually any health emergency under the sun. According to Gabby, an RN in the Renown Regional ER, everyone in the ER must be ready for anything. “We are the first line of care that the patient receives before they are admitted or discharged,” which means the team sees a wide variety of emergency situations each day. Patients rely on the ER to protect them and help them heal from severe conditions. From head injuries and broken bones to heart attacks and strokes, this team has seen it all at every time of the day and night. “The ER is an uncontrolled, unpredictable environment,” said Miriam, an RN in the Renown Regional ER. “It’s essential that we all are ready to jump in and help at any time.” Beyond the general ER at Renown Regional, Renown Children’s Hospital is the only accredited Children’s Hospital Emergency Room in all northern Nevada. The first and only facility of its kind in the Reno-Tahoe region, this robust emergency department is equipped with pediatric specialists and child-sized equipment to give children the highest level of support. “We are proud to keep a fun atmosphere with vibrant colors to help our young patients ease their anxieties, making them as comfortable as possible while providing excellent care,” said Ginger, Manager of Nursing for Renown Children’s ER. While the majority of patients are treated onsite and discharged that same day, several ER patients get admitted to the hospital, when that happens, the emergency department works quickly with the Renown Transfer and Operations Center (RTOC) to get patients in a bed as soon as possible. All day and all night, ambulances and helicopters deliver members of our community in need of care. But never fear – our incredibly capable emergency department is here. Kicking off into immediate action is a core requirement for the emergency department, and it is a task the entire team has nailed down to a science. Team Tenacious When asked about their team, members of the emergency department echoed the same notion: “I am not alone.” The emergency department never leaves their colleagues out to dry, and in an emergency environment, always being able to lend a hand whenever needed is vital. For Ashley, an RN at Renown Regional, one of the main reasons why she continues to work at Renown is because of her colleagues, along with a myriad of resources and state-of-the-art technology that are at their disposal. She adds, “It is such a joy to come in to work alongside my team.” Amy, Supervisor of Nursing for the Renown South Meadows ER, feels the exact same way. “Being an emergency department, we sometimes see things you don’t always see every day,” said Amy. “It’s a relief for our patients to know that they are in the best place in the region for their care. I credit all of that to my team.” As our emergency room capabilities continue to grow, this also includes our Children’s Hospital ER. Last year, the William N. Pennington Foundation provided a $7.5 million gift to the Renown Health Foundation to keep pediatric care – including pediatric emergency care – closer to home and expand our availability to our youngest patients. As reported last year, Dr. Joseph Gassen, a pediatric emergency doctor with Children’s Hospital, was the only pediatric emergency physician in the region as of 2021. Thanks to this gift, he was able to move to Reno to provide care in the Children’s Hospital ER. “The hospital is dedicated to improving the care of children in northern Nevada, and I wanted to be a part of this amazing vision," said Dr. Gassen. “I would not have been able to relocate to Reno without the support from the hospital and the William N. Pennington gift.” Besides achieving optimal outcomes for their patients, their efforts also paid off in the form of awards and recognition. Internally, the emergency department recognizes Employees of the Month for their outstanding work. Recently, Renown Regional Emergency Physician Dr. Patrick Russell and Claire, an RN, were recognized with this honor. Outside organizations have also noticed these exceptional team members. The Reno Gazette Journal’s recognized the Renown Regional ER as the Best Emergency Room in the 2022 Best of Reno Awards, complimenting Renown Regional’s wins as the Best Hospital and Best Place to Have a Baby. The tenacity of the emergency department continues to surpass expectations, and their published achievements only scratch the surface of what is sure to come. A Growing Team of Heroes To continue meeting the growing need for emergency care regionally, especially when it comes to trauma and children’s services, the emergency department is looking forward to welcoming new team members. For those looking for a fast-paced, team-oriented atmosphere and the opportunity to be on the healthcare frontlines, the emergency department is a perfect fit. As teamwork is clearly essential, the emergency department is an ideal environment for someone who is “not afraid to ask questions and always eager to learn new things,” according to Miriam. While one staff member’s patients may be settled, staff one assignment over could be overwhelmed with patient volume, so it is an imperative skill for a colleague to be a self-starter and take the initiative to help wherever needed. Bryan, an emergency trauma technician at Renown Regional, emphasizes this point, adding, “A good colleague is one that knows you well and can infer your body language. They know how to read a situation and pre-plan for the next step. Being attentive, a valuable resource and knowledgeable about patient populations – that's the works!” Career growth and lifelong learning are important to this group, so career-minded individuals will be in good company in the emergency department. “I choose Renown so I can jumpstart my career as a nurse in the top ER in the region,” said Gabby. This team is always learning and always on top of the latest research – which only further solidifies Renown’s place as the preeminent ER in northern Nevada and northeastern California. If you take one thing from this article, let it be these parting words from Amy: “These are some of the smartest, most devoted individuals you will ever meet, and we are so lucky to have them serving our emergency department. You will only regret not working with this team.”
Department Spotlight: Food & Nutrition Services
Nutrition is a vital aspect of patient care. At Renown Health, the Food & Nutrition Services (FNS) teams take their mission of delivering patients high-quality, cost-effective, nutritious and attractive foods to the next level. From a thrice-daily trayline service with a wide variety of delicious food to the personalized dietitian services that ensure every patient gets the nutrients they need for optimal healing and recovery, Renown’s FNS teams at Regional, South Meadows and Rehab are unmatched. Food for the Good Fight The hustle and bustle of early morning food preparations gears the FNS team up to, as Renown Regional Food Service Worker Molly Kalsman puts it, “provide patients with adequate nutrition to heal.” From morning until nighttime, the team prepares three meals a day along with late trays and snacks. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill hospital food, either. Think anywhere from cheeseburgers and salads to pork roasts and baked potatoes. As you can imagine, food of this caliber requires all hands on deck in the kitchen, especially during trayline times, to ensure all patients receive quality meals that meet their individual nutrition needs. “We make an impact with good service and great food,” said Mario Nunez, a Food Service Worker at Renown South Meadows. As the food service workers are hard at work cooking and assembling, the nutrition representatives visit each patient to learn their individual dietary restrictions, allergies and food preferences. For Julie Macaluso, Nutrition Representative at Renown South Meadows, “letting the patients choose their meals” is one of the highlights of her job. “We go over meal choices for their stay, so the patient can pick out something they would like to eat and find enjoyable,” added Tara Sprehe, Nutrition Representative at Renown Regional. The immense care and attention our nutrition representatives give to every patient paves the way for our clinical dietitians to build a nutrient-dense diet plan based on the individual patient’s preferences. Dietitians are the only licensed providers that can leverage nutrition to treat, manage and prevent illness and disease to improve patient outcomes. Every day, our experienced dietitians “make recommendations in the adjustment of macro and micronutrients in order to best manage a person’s health status in the setting of trauma, diabetes, heart disease and other morbidities,” said Jessica Blauenstein, a Registered Dietitian and Board-Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition at the William N. Pennington Cancer Institute. Overall, for this department, the phrase “that’s not my job” will never be heard, according to Lupe Ayala, a Cook at the Renown Rehabilitation Hospital. Day-in and day-out, it’s a massive group effort – and that’s the way they like it. Setting the Service Bar High Hitting milestones and accomplishments comes naturally to this crew. The FNS team sets the bar incredibly high for food and service standards across the Renown Regional, South Meadows and Rehabilitation hospitals. The key ingredient? Synchronized teams that operate like a well-oiled machine. The meticulous trayline schedules and assembly lines, the cooks that put their heart into patient meals, the nutrition representatives and dietitians who ensure patient food wants and dietary needs are being met... the list goes on. And to top it all off, these teams certainly know the meaning of “service with a smile.” Their efforts do not go unnoticed. “I am very proud of the team I have,” said Monica Lara-Yanez, Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services at Renown South Meadows. “They have improved their knowledge and participated in cross-training, and they are very efficient doing their jobs and helping each other. Moreover, they care about the service we provide.” One major accomplishment the FNS department achieved in recent years was implementing Room Service Connect, which aids in direct communication with patients, letting them know what foods are available to them during their stay at Renown based on their dietary needs. Locating trays of food has also never been easier. According to Tara Sprehe, “This system is also beneficial for letting food service workers know when a diet has been upgraded, discontinued, changed to NPO status or downgraded. This reduces the risk of giving the patient a diet that is not appropriate for them,” which saves both time and money for the department. At the end of the day, the FNS department has one mission, and it’s the same mission we all employ as Renown team members: do it for the patient. “It’s all about patient care,” said Jesse Holman, Cook Lead at Renown Regional. “That is the best accomplishment!” A Dedication to Renown The patients, the providers, and the passion: these are the most common themes that keep the FNS department passionate about Renown and their team. Whether they are just starting out in a career in food service or have established themselves in the clinical field, the FNS department proudly upholds the greatest standards of nutritional care that enhance Renown’s status as a top healthcare leader in northern Nevada. “I choose Renown because it is a very distinguished institution with an amazing reputation, offering a lot of benefits and growth opportunities to employees,” said Monica Lara. “It makes me feel proud to say, ‘I work at Renown.’” Renown Rehab Food Service Worker Margretta Corbet echoes this sentiment, adding, “There are good people here with happy dispositions.” Many FNS team members are especially enthusiastic about Renown’s robust benefits and career growth opportunities. For Molly Kalsman, working at Renown gives her the experience necessary to enter a career in dietetics. “Food service and hospital experience is encouraged to be accepted into a dietetics internship program, and Renown was the perfect opportunity for me to gain that experience,” said Molly. Carleigh Bates, Nutrition Representative at Renown South Meadows, is on a similar path: “Renown is a vehicle for so many things I am aspiring towards, such as getting my foot in the door for working in healthcare, improving the experiences of patients and gaining experience that will aid in my future goals.” Carleigh emphasizes that the team’s commitment to Renown’s mission is at the core of what they do every day. “We impact patient care by providing nutrition to fuel their wellness and improve their stay.” Lupe Ayala wraps up this strong conviction from the team very well: “I didn’t choose Renown; Renown chose me.” Fight the Good Fight With Us This future-minded, patient-centric department is growing! The Food & Nutrition Services teams at Regional, South Meadows and Rehab are actively hiring eager, collaborative new team members. Natasha Frisbie, FNS Lead at Renown Regional, reports that the team has “successfully hired and trained 24 new employees in the past three months” and is still expanding. “Teamwork, communication, and enthusiasm are very valuable skills to have in this department,” said Molly Kalsman. If you or anyone you know is looking for their next growing career opportunity, apply today!
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Five Tips for Maintaining Your Mental Health While Job Hunting
It is no secret that looking for a new job can be stressful and overwhelming. Yet a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs to look for new opportunities, a trend also known as the “Great Resignation.” While there are many reasons why someone might be on the hunt for new work, it’s important for all job hunters to check in with their mental health regardless of their job hunting circumstances. To learn more about maintaining your mental health while looking for a new job, we spoke to Dr. Mavis Major, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Behavioral Health Therapist at Renown Health. 1. Identify Goals When beginning your job-hunting journey, your first step should be to make a plan that focuses on quality over quantity. Make lists of companies you would like to work for and, if you’re looking to change fields or industries, make a list of careers that interest you. At this stage in the process, it’s also important to determine what salary range you’re looking for, what type of work environment you want (in-person, remote or hybrid) and understand what benefits are important to you. Identifying goals makes it easier to narrow down the list of jobs you apply for so you can produce quality applications rather than frantically applying for jobs without putting thought into the process. 2. Set Boundaries It does not matter if you are working full-time while applying for jobs or if applying is your job right now; it can be easy to get lost in the stress of it all. For that reason, it is essential to set intentional boundaries throughout the process. This can look like scheduling days that you fully take off from the job search or going for a walk before a big interview to clear your head. Setting boundaries will make you more productive overall and hopefully help you get your mind off the process. 3. Ask For Help Do not try and tackle this undertaking on your own. Once you have identified goals (see tip #1) make lists of people you know within those industries, and do not be afraid to reach out. Of course, never be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional to talk through why this process might be making you feel anxious. Talking to someone who is not your friend or family can give you a different perspective.
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