We’re Awesome

Surprise Salute to Our Healthcare Heroes

Posted on Apr 24, 2020 in Carousel, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, People, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, We're Awesome, Year of the Nurse

BURLINGAME, Calif., — On Wednesday April 22nd the staff of Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center received a special surprise. 

Uniformed personnel from Central County Fire Department, Burlingame Police, Hillsborough Police, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department (Millbrae Division), and the San Bruno Police Department had come in the pre-dawn hours, with their vehicles and home-made signs, to honor our healthcare heroes.

Doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and others were surprised by the show of support, having had no idea that their daily bravery was going to be recognized by their community’s public safety heroes. The secret was so well kept that reactions ranged from dismay over lack of make-up, to shocked shyness, to touched tears.

Both staff arriving for their 7 a.m. start time, and the overnight crew just ending their shift, received applause and cheers for their professionalism and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The event was made even more special by the use of signs made by children who attend the Champions Childcare program – a local daycare that reopened on March 30th with priority enrollment for the children of “essential” workers. Parents in public safety and healthcare professions are relying on Champions to care for their children while they care for the community, and having the kids involved in the surprise salute echoed the strong ties between all essential workers. 

Over 20 vehicles with lights flashing, and over 100 participants with hands clapping, honored healthcare workers in Burlingame and beyond on this uplifting and memorable morning. 

The Digital Doctor Is In: Healthcare Services You Can Access at Home

Posted on Apr 17, 2020 in Carousel, Innovation, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, We're Awesome

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Receiving sound medical advice is more important now than it’s ever been. Albert Chan, M.D., chief of digital patient experience at Sutter Health, shares how you can get advice and take action, all from your living room.

Dr. Chan answers questions from Sutter Health staff in the Q&A below.

Search Your Symptoms

Q: Google has reported a surge in searches related to COVID-19. Are search engines able to give results that can help real people get the counseling and care that they need right now?

Albert Chan, M.D., Sutter Health’s
chief of digital patient experience

A: Many people who develop a fever, shortness of breath, or cough right now may be concerned that they have COVID-19. While Google, WebMD and other online tools are good at providing general guidance, they can’t suggest concrete care options, because they aren’t connected to a group of medical providers.

Sutter Health’s online Symptom Checker is a little different. After entering your brief medical history and current symptoms, you will receive a personalized health assessment and can then enter your location to find nearby care options offered by the Sutter Health network.

Originally launched in February 2019, I see the Symptom Checker as a way to help patients decide whether to engage in self-care or to seek care, if they need an in-person appointment or a video visit, and if they need to be seen now or soon. These distinctions are incredibly apt as we face the COVID-19 outbreak, concurrent with flu and allergy seasons. I’m proud that the Symptom Checker has been updated to recognize a possible COVID-19 infection, and guide patients appropriately.

Turn to the Telephone

Q: Having a trusted source of information and the ability to talk through your symptoms is desperately needed right now — what is available to the public?

A: The public has a few options, one of which is the Sutter Health COVID-19 Advice Line at 1-866-961-2889.

Staffed by a team of nurses from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., seven days a week, every caller is screened for symptoms linked to coronavirus. Callers are then directed to the most appropriate level of care, including self-care at home for those with mild symptoms.

Please note: The COVID-19 Advice Line is intended for people who are ill or caring for someone who is ill. For general information about coronavirus, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The COVID-19 Advice Line is not for emergency situations. If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

Seeing is Believing

Q: Some things are hard to diagnose or make decisions about over the phone, what other options are available for patients?

A: Patients can get virtual care from their phone, tablet or computer through Sutter Video Visits. This video gives you a sense of the video visit experience.

We offer a couple of options:

Video visits are expanding to address many primary and specialty care needs. Patients can now call or message their care team via My Health Online to check the availability of video visit appointments with their clinicians.

If you have not yet enrolled in My Health Online, you can now sign up online.

We also offer same-day video visits with our Sutter Walk-In Care clinicians daily from 8 AM to 8 PM for common health issues. Patients can self-schedule a video visit appointment by logging into My Health Online or calling (800) 972-5547 for same-day appointments.

Currently we are conducting virtual assessment of respiratory symptoms daily, which provides both convenient access to care to patients at home and minimizes the risk of spreading illness to others. These video visits can also provide clinicians with the information necessary to decide if a patient ultimately needs to be seen in person at one of our clinics or the hospital.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit Sutter Health’s resources page.

In Need of a Break: Art in Action

Posted on Apr 15, 2020 in Carousel, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, People, Scroll Images, Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, Santa Cruz, Uncategorized, We're Awesome, Year of the Nurse

SANTA Cruz, CalifTawnya Gilbert, R.N., C.C.R.N. is normally the picture of positivity: upbeat and energetic. But one day in late March, after a shift and a week that all felt especially long and challenging, she felt down. Like all of us Gilbert was concerned about the spread of coronavirus, but unlike most of us, she faced the challenge daily, working as a nurse for Sutter in Santa Cruz County.

“It’s moments like that when I usually go to our staff breakroom and just take a minute to get back in touch with myself, my heart,” said Gilbert, who is also a yoga instructor. “I can usually use the quiet room to recharge and clear my head, but this time was different.”

That’s when she had an idea

“I looked around – at the magazines, the picture window, our little bulletin board – and realized that there wasn’t any art.” Though not an artist herself, Gilbert has always admired the generous amount of art on the walls of Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center. She even helped choose the art in the hospital’s post-anesthesia care unit where she has worked for the past six years.

“I just knew that if we could get some art in the breakroom, and especially if it depicted how healthcare workers are fighting this pandemic, it would inspire staff and lift their spirits.”

The “Surviving COVID” art project began

Gilbert wrote to all the artists she knew, and several she was introduced to, and asked for art that was funny, profound, or uplifting. She encouraged themes of beating coronavirus and thanking healthcare workers, and soon she had 14 original pieces to display in the breakroom at the hospital. The art was an instant hit with staff, and the project has since spread to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) medical buildings in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, the emergency room of neighboring Dominican Hospital and the halls of nearby Watsonville Community Hospital.

Babs Kingsley, M.A., R.N., manager of emergency services at Dominican Hospital said “the staff are incredibly grateful for the donated artwork and sentiment from the community that it represents. The art is providing staff with motivation and strength, and the collaboration between healthcare networks reminds us that we are not fighting this battle alone. Many thanks to Tawnya for helping us turn an uncertain time into one of collaboration and pride.”

Art is an antidote to fear

“Art comforts and connects us; when a doctor, nurse or housekeeper views these images I hope they see an entire community of artists who are supporting them and helping them process emotions that are hard to put into words,” said Gilbert.

Creativity and positivity abound in the works collected to-date. “Glove Conquers All,” for example, is a take on the raised fist, a symbol of solidarity that is used to express unity and strength. In this original work by Andi Mellon, the fist is encased in a glove and surrounded by Gladiolas which symbolize bravery.

Another piece that features gloves is “Creation” by artist Michael Lane. The work imagines an update of the classic “Creation of Adam” for our modern moment. “With all the precautions required for coronavirus, I thought it would be interesting to add a twist on safety to this iconic piece,” said Lane.

“The Brave Nurse” depicts the importance of sheltering-in-place and the bravery of a nurse who protects her community from COVID-19, represented as attacking balls with sharp teeth and angry eyes. Seamlessly blending literal and figurative references, artist Lily K. has been able to include several key elements of the pandemic in one uplifting scene.

Calling all artists

Little more than a week after her idea-inspiring low point, Gilbert feels energized by the entirely volunteer-led and donation-dependent project.

“Today I worked 10 hours, ate dinner, read to my daughter, spoke to two artists about sharing their art and applied for a grant. I’m going to bed, rest well Santa Cruz,” she wrote to friends and family.

Gilbert has been overwhelmed by the response from the community, in the form of art and framing supplies, and she encourages anyone who wants to help to email her at: lokilove28@gmail.com

To Prevent Stroke, Start with the Heart

Posted on Feb 13, 2020 in Affiliates, Cardiac, Carousel, Expanding Access, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Neuroscience, Quality, Research, Scroll Images, We're Awesome, Women's Services

BURLINGAME, Calif. – Does it sometimes feel like there are butterflies in your chest? Does your heart race or skip a beat? If it’s not your crush making your heart go pitter-pat, it could be a common heart condition called atrial fibrillation or AFib for short. This Valentine’s Day, take heart and consider seeing an expert if you are experiencing these symptoms. After all, AFib dramatically increases the odds of having a life-threatening stroke.

“Stroke occurs when arteries in the brain are either blocked by a blood clot or burst under high pressure,” said Ilana Spokoyny, M.D., neurologist who cares for patients at Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. “So when we talk about stroke prevention, it’s natural that we emphasize how to keep clots from forming or keep blood pressure regulated—and both start with the heart.”

Heart health and stroke prevention were the focus of a recent educational event, hosted by United Airlines, and led by Sutter Health. Attendees toured Northern California’s only Mobile Stroke Unit – a specialized ambulance that has the staff and equipment on-board to start stroke treatment while enroute to a hospital – and heard from the unit’s director, Dr. Spokoyny, about two common heart conditions that increase stroke risk.

Atrial fibrillation

AFib is caused when the upper part of your heart beats out of sync with the lower half. While not usually life-threatening by itself, AFib alters the normal function of the heart which leads to the formation of blood clots in the heart. Eventually these clots are pumped out of the heart and can travel to the brain where they causes a stroke.

According to Dr. Spokoyny, nearly one in every six strokes is the result of AFib, and these strokes are often more serious. “Not only are AFib patients nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition, AFib-related strokes are nearly twice as fatal and twice as disabling as non-AFib-related strokes.”

“AFib may be asympomatic or symptoms show up intermittently, and because they come and go many people don’t take them seriously,” Dr. Spokoyny explained. “We need to spread the word that you shouldn’t ignore the butterfly feeling in your chest or dismiss the occasional fatigue or shortness of breath you experience.” When diagnosed, AFib is treatable with medication or medical procedures, including surgery, to reduce your risk of stroke.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure increases the strain on blood vessels transporting blood throughout your body. When blood is routinely pumped through arteries at a higher than optimal pressure, the arteries may become weakened or narrowed, creating conditions where they burst or clog more easily.

Dr. Spokoyny reminds patients that high blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for stroke. “About three out of four people who have a stroke for the first time have high blood pressure.” High blood pressure often presents along with atrial fibrillation. The good news is that blood pressure can be managed with lifestyle changes and medications.

Expertise in action

Not-for-profit Sutter Health encourages doctors to work across specialties to ensure that patients receive high quality, coordinated care. Sutter includes sixteen Primary Stroke Centers across its integrated network.

We’ve Got Your Back(pack)

Posted on Aug 29, 2019 in Community Benefit, People, Scroll Images, Uncategorized, We're Awesome

The start of any school year isn’t complete without the confidence of knowing you’re prepared. And what better way to tackle the year ahead with a backpack full of the necessary supplies.

This summer Sutter employees, led by the External Affairs team, collaborated with Volunteers of America to support Operation Backpack, an initiative that provides backpacks and school supplies to low-income students. Sutter staff purchased school supplies – including new backpacks – and volunteered their time to fill more than  2,000 backpacks with the necessities that every school child needs to succeed.

“We know that having the right supplies to start the school year off right gives children confidence to succeed in school,” said Melanie Rivera, external affairs associate, Sutter Health Valley Area. “Together, we are helping children learn and thrive in school, stay in school and build a bright future.”

Sutter employees, staff and volunteers also gave early $3,000  in monetary donations to the organizations that distribute the backpacks to families across the communities we serve. Organizations like the Samaritan House which serves San Mateo County, Family Giving Tree which serves Alameda and Santa Clara counties, Elk Grove Unified and San Juan Unified in Sacramento County, Nexus Youth and Family Services which serves Amador County, and Saving Our Kids Resource Center which serves Placer County.

“The backpacks from Sutter’s Mills-Peninsula Medical Center fulfill all the requests we have from families in San Mateo and Redwood City,” said  Jenny Saba, associate director of Volunteers and Engagement at Samaritan House. “Thank you so much!”

This is the eighth year that Sutter Health has participated in Operation Backpack, donating backpacks and supplies to kindergartners through 12th graders.

 

Sutter Roseville Receives 2019 Emergency Nurses Association Lantern Award

Posted on Jul 10, 2019 in Affiliates, Expanding Access, People, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, We're Awesome

Sutter Roseville Medical Center recognized with annual award for exceptional and innovative nursing performance


 
ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Sutter Roseville Medical Center’s Emergency Department has been selected as a recipient of the Emergency Nurses Association’s 2019 Lantern Award for demonstrating exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. It is the top award an Emergency Department’s nursing staff can receive, and Sutter Roseville is one of just 28 hospitals nationwide and the only one in Northern California to be honored this year.

The Lantern Award showcases the Sutter Roseville Emergency Department’s accomplishments in incorporating evidence-based practice and innovation into emergency care. EDs are encouraged to share stories that highlight a commitment to care of patients, as well as the well-being of nursing staff. The award serves as a visible symbol of the hospital’s commitment to quality, safety and a healthy work environment.

“We are tremendously proud to receive national recognition of the care we provide to our community, and are grateful for the skilled team that provides that care,” said Gary Gates, R.N., administrative director of Emergency Services, Trauma ICU, and ICU.

Sutter Roseville’s Emergency Department strives to provide an excellent environment for both patients and employees. Highlights of their achievements include a staff-driven redesign of the Stroke Alert; the design and implementation of Code Critical, an overhead activation similar to Trauma and Stroke Alerts for other critically ill patients; a robust Emergency Preparedness program that works closely with local and federal agencies, which included the “Black Hawk Down” preparedness event in June; and incentives for nursing certification that have resulted in a record number of registered nurses obtaining a BCEN (Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing) advanced emergency nursing certification.

Sutter Roseville Medical Center is the premier Level II Trauma Center for the seven-county region, meaning that it features the highly specialized skills and equipment necessary to handle more complicated, critically ill and injured emergency cases. In total, the Sutter Roseville Emergency Department cares for more than 83,000 emergency and trauma patients each year. Because of the community need, Sutter Roseville is currently in the midst of an expansion project that will double the size of the current Emergency Department. This expansion is expected to be completed in April 2020.

“Sutter Roseville Medical Center delivers complex and advanced medical care in an environment that promotes healthier outcomes, and we do it in an area that’s growing and changing very quickly,” said Sutter Roseville CEO Brian Alexander. “That’s a commitment that calls for highly trained physicians, nurses and care teams, modern facilities, advanced technology, and dedication to patient- and family-centered care — all of which were huge drivers behind this expansion.”

Sutter Roseville Medical Center’s Lantern Award will be on display in the Emergency Department. As a recipient, Sutter Roseville Medical Center will be recognized in upcoming ENA publications, on the ENA website and at Emergency Nursing 2019, the association’s annual conference, in Austin, Texas.

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With more than 44,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.