Donating A Gift From The Heart

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Feb 18, 2021 3:22:28 PM

The gift of blood saves lives, and there is an increased need for blood during the pandemic since blood and platelets cannot be manufactured – they can only come from volunteer donors. Below, meet a couple of HCA Healthcare colleagues who’ve donated blood to help patients and their communities. If you have already donated blood or plasma, log your donation as volunteer service on our giving and serving platform.

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Topics: Health & Safety

Hope is here: COVID-19 vaccine arrives at HCA Healthcare facilities

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Jan 6, 2021 2:38:26 PM

When COVID-19 arrived in the United States earlier this year, it forever changed our lives. Healthcare workers on the front lines quickly proved themselves heroes and demonstrated their resilience time and again, even while coping with unprecedented scale and precarious personal circumstances. Nine months later, hope is finally here. HCA Healthcare colleagues began receiving the vaccine on Tuesday, signaling a turning point in the pandemic.

Stephanie Behek, a nurse in the COVID unit, was one of the first frontline workers at HCA Healthcare’s Summerville Medical Center in South Carolina to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on December 16, 2020.

“Since the onset of COVID, our caregivers, whether at the very front lines or in supporting roles, have been selfless in answering the call to care for others,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, president of clinical operations and chief medical officer at HCA Healthcare. “The arrival of the COVID vaccine represents a pivotal moment in this pandemic. We know vaccines are the safest and most effective way to combat this virus, and we have implemented a comprehensive plan to distribute them – starting with our frontline colleagues.”

As states distributed the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to our facilities, our care teams on the front lines began receiving vaccinations. HCA Healthcare affiliate hospitals Alaska Regional Hospital, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center and HCA Virginia were the first to receive vaccine shipments on December 15. Dr. Vito Capotorto, chief of staff and hospitalist medical director for Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, was the first colleague to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among HCA Healthcare’s 185 hospitals. As of Jan. 6, 2021, all 16 HCA Healthcare divisions have received the COVID-19 vaccines with more than 130,000 colleagues now vaccinated.

Dr. Vito Capotorto, chief of staff and hospitalist medical director for Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, was the first colleague to receive the COVID-19 vaccine among HCA Healthcare’s 185 hospitals on December 15, 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prioritized the vaccine for healthcare personnel who may have potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. Given the critical role they play in caring for others, continued protection of caregivers at work, at home, and in the community remains a national priority.

When HCA Healthcare’s Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina received its first shipment of the vaccine, Keerstyn Allen, a registered nurse in the hospital’s COVID intensive care unit, was one of the first colleagues to receive it. “I can’t begin to say how much December 16, 2020 means to me. I’ve never cried happy tears for a shot in the arm. Nine months of literal blood, sweat and tears – so many tears – has a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Keerstyn.

HCA Healthcare nurse Keerstyn Allen receives one of the first COVID-19 vaccines at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach,
South Carolina on December 16, 2020.

“I am forever grateful for the amazing, intelligent and hardworking people behind this vaccine,” Keerstyn continued. “Believe in science. Believe in this vaccine.”

Pastor Jim Feirtag of Parkgate Community Church blessing COVID-19 vaccines
that arrived at HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast in
Pasadena, Texas on December 17, 2020.

Yesterday, frontline caregivers from seven Nashville-based HCA Healthcare hospitals from the TriStar Division received their vaccinations in Tennessee. Dr. Tama Van Decar, chief medical officer at the TriStar Division, noted the excitement around the vaccine and explained what it means for healthcare workers.

“What’s exciting for us is we’ve been planning for the vaccine’s arrival, and now that it’s at our doorstep, I think everyone here has a sense of renewed energy, a renewed purpose, and a sense of honest excitement about what this could mean for us in healthcare broadly and for caregivers directly,” said Dr. Van Decar.

She continued, “I believe in this vaccine. I believe in this science behind this vaccine. I believe in the intricate process scientists and oversight bodies went through to review it. The vaccine is safe. The vaccine is 95% effective, this is an incredible tribute to our science.”

Salomey Agyemang, a registered nurse for TriStar Health, echoed those sentiments saying, “I feel really good. I feel encouraged. I feel hopeful. It feels like the beginning of the end of this.”

Dr. Sydney Hester, an infectious disease specialist with HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division, receives a COVID-19 vaccine in Nashville, Tennessee on December 17, 2020. “We’ve all been waiting to do this moment with just baited anticipation, and to be standing here and to be one of the first people to get the vaccine is just absolutely amazing,” Dr. Hester said.

Find answers to some of the most common questions people are asking about COVID-19 vaccine below…

 Q: What types of vaccines are available?

A: Two manufacturers, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, have recently developed COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer/BioNTech was granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11. Moderna received an EUA on December 18 and is the second approved vaccine, which will be critical in our continued efforts to quickly vaccinate and protect our workforce.

Q: Is the vaccine safe to receive?

A: Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are a new type of vaccine, but the technology behind them has been studied for decades. These vaccine types teach our cells to make the “spike protein” and train our immune systems to protect us from infection when the real virus enters our bodies. This type of vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 and does not affect or interact with your DNA.

Q: How were these COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?

A: Coordinated efforts by public and private partnerships helped accelerate vaccine development, but these accelerated efforts have not sacrificed scientific standards, integrity of the vaccine review process, or safety. Prior knowledge in vaccine development and advances in bioengineering were critical to the timeline, as well as government funding which decreased the monetary risk to companies, allowing them to develop and manufacture the vaccine concurrently with clinical studies.

Luders Michaud, certified pharmacy technician at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation Florida, holds the COVID-19 vaccine on December 17, 2020.

Q: Who will receive the vaccine first?

A: Based on national guidance, a “tiering” system is being used to prioritize those at greatest risk of exposure, particularly healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents. On December 1, 2020, the CDC recommended that healthcare personnel with direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials receive a COVID-19 vaccine first.

Q: When will the general public receive the vaccine?

A: Experts began working during the summer of 2020 on a strategy for distributing these limited vaccines in a fair, ethical and transparent way. Vaccines have been allocated to each state based on population. Each state is responsible for developing a distribution plan. Therefore, distribution plans and timelines will vary by state. For those receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two doses are required separated by 21 days. Check with your local health department for updates.

Q: Why is it important to get the vaccine?

A: Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill, even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. According to the CDC, the combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

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Topics: Coronavirus, Health & Safety

HCA Healthcare Collects Record-breaking 13,523 Pounds of Medication During 2020 “Crush the Crisis” Opioid Take Back

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Dec 10, 2020 10:39:00 AM

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, today announced that it collected 13,523 pounds of unused and expired prescription medications during its “Crush the Crisis” opioid take back day enterprise events, more than twice as much as it collected last year. The events, which took place at 95 HCA Healthcare facilities across 18 states on October 24, 2020, in alignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, were aimed at educating communities on the dangers of opioid misuse and the importance of safe and proper disposal of expired and unused prescription medications.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the U.S. is seeing a significant increase in opioid usage, with 40 states reporting an increase in opioid-related mortality, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). “Crush the Crisis” called on communities across the country to address this timely issue. The events collectively disposed of an estimated 9.3 million doses of medication, eliminating the adverse possibility of potential misuse.

“Communities across the country came together in the midst of this global pandemic to properly dispose of expired and unused medications and make a difference in our battle against the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Michael Schlosser, chief medical officer of HCA Healthcare’s national group and vice president of group operations, Clinical Operations Group. “Thank you to the DEA, local law enforcement agencies, hospital volunteers and all the many participants who showed up to help ‘Crush the Crisis.’”

The concept of “Crush the Crisis” was spearheaded by Sara Stedman, an orthopaedic nurse in HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Division, when she organized a single take back event at TriStar Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee in 2017. Last year, “Crush the Crisis” was rolled out nationally, spanning 100 locations across 16 states, with 5,887 pounds of medication collected.

“The idea for ‘Crush the Crisis’ came to me after I witnessed the devastating effects that opioid abuse can have on an individual and his or her family,” said Stedman. “Thanks to the backing of HCA Healthcare, it is truly remarkable to see how this simple idea has evolved into a national movement that’s helping to bring greater awareness to the dangers of opioid misuse and why it’s important to safely and properly dispose of these unused and expired medications before they fall into the hands of someone who may abuse them.”

A total of 95 facilities across 18 states around the country participated in “Crush the Crisis” events by partnering with local law enforcement agencies to collect unused and expired prescription medications. HCA Healthcare facility events with the greatest amount of medication collected include:

  • Ocala Health in Ocala, Florida collected 1,097 pounds
  • Chippenham Hospital and Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Virginia collected 847 pounds 
  • Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, Florida collected 714 pounds
  • Lee's Summit Medical Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri collected 700 pounds
  • Medical City Arlington in Arlington, Texas collected 527 pounds
  • Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center in Panama City, Florida collected 499 pounds

Please click here for more information on HCA Healthcare’s “Crush the Crisis.”

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Topics: Health & Safety

HCA Healthcare experts urge flu vaccine to help avoid ‘twindemic’

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Dec 7, 2020 12:47:57 PM

Make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins


[ twin-dem-ik ]


Twindemic refers to the dual threat of a severe flu outbreak on top of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall and winter of 2020

While the flu vaccine is an important preventative measure every year, it is arguably more important than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. By getting a flu vaccine, you are helping to protect yourself and others from the flu. Since COVID-19 is also a threat this winter, it is important to do what we can to lower our risk of getting ill.

DYK? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that during the 2019-2020 influenza season, the flu vaccination prevented an estimated 7.52 million flu illnesses, 3.69 million flu-associated medical visits, 105,000 flu hospitalizations and 6,300 flu deaths.

“While we wait for COVID vaccines to be broadly available, the flu remains the number one cause of vaccine-preventable death in the United States,” explains Dr. Jonathan Perlin, president of clinical operations and chief medical officer at HCA Healthcare.  “By getting your flu shot and following the CDC’s advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you will be in the best position to protect yourself, your family and your community from illness this winter.”

Dr. Jonathan Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president of clinical operations and chief medical officer at HCA Healthcare receives his annual flu shot. October 2020 (Nashville, Tenn.)

In the Northern Hemisphere, we typically take cues from our Southern Hemisphere counterparts to predict when seasonal influenza will rise and peak. In years past, the Southern Hemisphere generally has its flu season from April to September. In the Northern Hemisphere, cases rise during the fall months and peak between December and January.

This year the good news – yes, good news – is that the Southern Hemisphere is experiencing a very mild flu season. For example, Australia reported a little over 21,000 cases of flu by the end of August, compared to nearly a quarter of a million at the same time in 2019. Experts theorize that this is due to an unprecedented number of people getting vaccinated and behavior related to the pandemic such as social distancing and mask wearing.

However, this is not the time to let our guards down.

“If both influenza and COVID-19 surge at the same time, it could be very devastating. A ‘twindemic’ is something that we can avoid,” said Dr. Kenneth Sands, HCA Healthcare’s chief epidemiologist.  “While what we’re seeing in the Southern Hemisphere is positive, we need everyone to come together and continue to do their part. We’re advising everyone over 6 months to get a flu shot, just as we do each year. By getting the flu vaccine, masking and distancing we can make it through flu season.”

In 2020, innovative measures are being stood up to ensure safe and convenient access to influenza vaccinations including drive-thru flu shot clinics and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services authorizing state-licensed pharmacists to administer the flu shot to children starting at age 3.

How can you tell the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal flu?

COVID-19 and influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses, caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses: Types A and B. The symptoms can appear similar, however there are key differences that you need to be aware of.

Both COVID-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Both are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the illness (COVID-19 or flu) cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical human contact like shaking hands or by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. Both flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms, with very mild symptoms or who never developed symptoms (asymptomatic).

According to the CDC, common signs and symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer.

Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, while COVID-19 can be more serious. A key difference in the two is that COVID-19 may cause a change in or loss of taste and smell, while that is not experienced with the flu.

Is it a cold, flu or COVID-19? Learn about similarities and differences.

Available flu vaccines this season

Those who are interested in getting a flu shot have multiple options. Trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) flu vaccines are approved for the 2020-2021 flu season.

The CDC breaks down available flu shots below:

Trivalent flu vaccines include:

Quadrivalent flu vaccines include:

  • Standard-dose quadrivalent influenza shots that are manufactured using virus grown in eggs.  These include Afluria Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent, FluLaval Quadrivalent, and Fluzone Quadrivalent. Different influenza shots are licensed for different age groups. Some are licensed for children as young as 6 months of age. Most influenza shots are given in an arm muscle with a needle. One quadrivalent influenza shot (Afluria Quadrivalent) can be given either with a needle (for people aged 6 months and older) or with a jet injector (for people aged 18 through 64 years only).
  • quadrivalent cell-based influenza shot (Flucelvax Quadrivalent) containing virus grown in cell culture, which is licensed for people 4 years and older. This season, all four of the vaccine viruses used in Flucelvax have been grown in cells, making the vaccine totally egg-free.
  • Recombinant quadrivalent influenza shot (Flublok Quadrivalent), an egg-free vaccine, approved for people 18 years and older.
  • quadrivalent flu shot using an adjuvant (an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response), approved for people 65 years of age and older.
  • quadrivalent high-dose influenza vaccine (Fluzone High-Dose), licensed for people 65 years and older.

Stay vigilant to protect yourself and others

In addition to a flu shot, individuals can also help prevent getting the flu and help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these simple steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue available, it is best to cough into your elbow.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when you are around others outside of your household and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs daily.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

Consider getting the annual flu vaccine to protect yourself and those around you. Call your healthcare provider today to schedule your flu shot.

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Topics: Coronavirus, Health & Safety, Flu

COVID-19: Infectious disease specialist weighs in on safely celebrating the holidays

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Dec 4, 2020 1:12:03 PM

As we near the end of 2020, it’s probably safe to say that we could all use some holiday cheer. But with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise throughout the country, it’s important to remain vigilant. While it might be hard to hear, that means the way we celebrate the holidays this year will be a little different.

“Conventional wisdom would be that this is not the year to have a big, multigenerational get together with people that you haven’t seen for a while,” says Dr. Carl Vartian, an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake.

Dr. Vartian understands the desire to see loved ones, but is concerned that people will let their guard down, not thinking about wearing a face mask at grandma’s house or not practicing social distancing when around cousins they haven’t seen in a year.

College-age kids will also be returning home from their universities, where there have been more than 252,000 cases at more than 1,700 U.S. schools, according to a survey conducted by the New York Times.

“Since we don’t really know who has [COVID-19], who doesn’t have it, who could be an asymptomatic carrier of it, I think it’s just best to avoid contact with people you haven’t seen for a while because you really don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been exposed to and what they might be carrying,” Dr. Vartian says.

Or, you might be the one who is unknowingly spreading the virus.

Virtual-only activities, events and gatherings pose the lowest risk of spreading COVID-19. Instead of meeting in person, Dr. Vartian suggests using Skype, Zoom or FaceTime to share a meal virtually with long-distance loved ones.

Celebrating in-person carries higher risk and myriad precautions should be taken into consideration if individuals from different households will be gathering. If you do decide to host family and friends for the holidays, Dr. Vartian recommends keeping your gathering small, outside and socially distanced.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for holiday celebrations, noting that even “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise of COVID-19 cases.” In Canada, where Thanksgiving was celebrated on Oct. 12, there was a spike in cases three weeks after the holiday.

The CDC shares these factors to consider when deciding whether to host or attend an event:

  • Community levels of COVID-19: Consider levels both where the gathering will be held and where all guests are coming from. High or increasing levels mean a greater risk of infection and spread. Check your local health department’s website for case numbers, as well as information on local guidelines and restrictions.
  • Exposure during travel: Staying home is the best way to ensure the safety of yourself and others, but if you do decide to travel, Dr. Vartian says driving may be safer than flying because you’re in your own “bubble” and can stop where you want, or not stop at all, depending on the length of your trip. If you travel, wear a mask on airplanes, trains, ships, ferries, taxis and ride shares; stay at least six feet apart from others; wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; and avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Location of the gathering: Outdoor gatherings are preferred over those indoors, but even if you’re outside, guests should wear masks when not eating and stay six feet apart. If inside, open windows and doors to increase ventilation.
  • Duration of the gathering: Shorter gatherings are less risky than longer gatherings. Being within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick.
  • Number of guests: The number of guests should be determined based on the size of the yard or house and how many people can be there while remaining six feet apart. The World Health Organization also suggests that hosts control crowding by staggering arrivals and departures and assigning seats, among other recommendations.
  • Behavior of guests before and during the event: Guests should practice safety measures like social distancing, wearing a mask and frequently washing their hands before attending, and avoid contact with people outside their household for the two weeks leading up to the holiday. Continue to follow safety measures during the event, and disinfect surfaces and shared items.

When it comes to food, Dr. Vartian says it’s important to avoid potluck-style dinners this year, where everyone uses the same serving utensils and passes around dishes. Instead, consider having everyone bring their own food this year (which might be a welcome change for stressed hosts!) or support a favorite local restaurant and order individual meals for everyone.

And don’t forget about the flu.

“Get your flu shot,” Dr. Vartian says. “We suspect that flu season may not be quite as bad just simply because people are wearing masks, they’re social distancing and they’re that much more concerned about hand hygiene, but that remains to be seen. Dual-infection can occur, so you just have to be careful. You can’t do anything yet about vaccinating against COVID, but you can do something about the flu.”

Should you find that your Thanksgiving celebration does produce an actual medical emergency, delay dessert and head to the nearest emergency room. HCA Healthcare ERs are equipped to care for common Thanksgiving health matters such as cuts and burns, food poisoning and chest pain.

In the end, remember this from Dr. Vartian: “You certainly do not want a festive time to become the scene of something really unfortunate, where someone gets sick and ends up in the hospital. That would not be a good way to remember a family get together. Stay safe during Thanksgiving 2020. If we all continue to do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19, I’m optimistic that the 2021 holiday season will look much more normal.”

HealthTrust Workforce Solutions and HCA Healthcare is demonstrating leadership in our behaviors both inside and outside of work so that we can stay as healthy as possible to respond to our patients. But, we can’t do this without the help of those around us. Thank you for safely celebrating the holidays this year! Find more tips and considerations from the CDC here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies holiday-related activities at three risk levels:

Lower risk

  • Having a small in-person dinner with only those in your household
  • Delivering food to loved ones without contact
  • Virtually gathering for dinner with family and friends
  • Shopping online and watching sporting events at home

Moderate risk

  • Having a small in-person dinner outside with loved ones who live in your community
  • Doing outdoor activities or attending outdoor sporting events while wearing face masks, social distancing and using hand sanitizer

Higher risk

  • Having a large indoor gathering with people outside your household
  • Attending crowded events, like parades or races, or shopping at crowded stores
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Topics: Coronavirus, Health & Safety, Holiday

StaRN grads making a difference at Sunrise Hospital

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Sep 14, 2020 11:25:49 AM

Imagine you are a new graduate RN contemplating that first step in your patient career. Like swimming, should you dive into the deep end of the pool now with all the fear and anxiety associated with it? Or should you try shallow water, continuing your learning process through program classes tailored to your needs and interests, ensuring your development and growth in a specialty you will love?

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Topics: Healthcare, StaRN, Health & Safety

How A Nurse Changed The Course of a Woman's Life Mid-Flight

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 28, 2020 11:54:15 AM

On a recent return flight to Fort Lauderdale, Letisha Wilson, RN was called into action mid-flight. During the flight, flight attendants asked if any medical personnel were onboard. Letisha, who looked around curious about what was occurring, realized a woman near her was in need of attention and quickly moved over to assist. As the woman became faint and started to lose consciousness, Letisha began to elevate her feet and lay her back on the plane.

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Topics: Healthcare, Health & Safety

How Two Nurses' Incredible Dedication to Continued Patient Care Saved One Man's Life

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 19, 2020 2:33:44 PM

After a long day of hiking in Roanoke, Virginia, Angee Cart, RN, MSN and Jay Bianco, RN stopped for a quick bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. While getting her food, Angee looked up and noticed that a nearby man was on the floor and had began to code. Immediately, Angee ran towards the man and realized that the man had no pulse and was not breathing. In a quick reaction, Angee started giving CPR
and compressions. After about a minute of CPR and compressions, Angee asked if anyone could find her coworker, Jay, who was in a vehicle outside of the building. Once Jay entered the building, he was able to take over in helping save the man's life until EMS arrived. As EMS arrived and began to take care of the man, Angee noticed that the man's pulse began once again. The EMS staff thanked Angee and Jay and mentioned that they helped save the man's life. 

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Topics: Healthcare, Health & Safety

Working Through COVID-19: How to Manage Stress and Avoid Burnout

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 17, 2020 5:05:50 PM

HCA Healthcare colleagues offer advice for navigating and adapting to a changing workplace.

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way many HCA Healthcare colleagues do their jobs. Some may be working from home for the first time. Others may be adjusting to new roles created by shifting priorities.

Those changes—in addition to feelings of sadness, confusion, fear and anger that are common during a crisis—can cause stress and even lead to burnout at work.

“Everyone feels stress,” says Dr. Frank Drummond, national medical director of behavioral health services at HCA Healthcare, “but burnout is the result of unrelenting stress. People experiencing burnout may feel mentally exhausted, disconnected, unproductive, inefficient at tasks—and simply may not care about their work anymore.”


When work is home

At first, the idea of working from home might seem like the perfect antidote to work stress—no fighting traffic during morning and evening commutes, no agonizing over what to wear. But it can actually cause a different kind of stress. When working from home, the lines between your personal and professional lives can blur, making it difficult to keep them separate. And when access to work is available 24/7—through emails and texts—the feeling can be compounded.

To help, consider these tips from the HCA Healthcare Leadership Institute’s “Navigating the New World of Work” toolkit:

  • Establish a routine. Set a schedule with consistent start and end times for your workday. Get up each morning and get dressed; it will help you feel more confident and set your intentions for the day. And remember to take breaks throughout the day to recharge.
  • Set clear boundaries. Communicate with your family about your routine and when and how it’s okay to interrupt you, if needed. And try to quit at quitting time. Many who work from home find it difficult to unplug at the end of the day, but sticking to your schedule can help you avoid burnout.
  • Know yourself. Structure your workday to maximize efficiency and tailor your schedule to your body’s natural rhythms. Know what will distract you from your priorities and create a plan to minimize those distractions.

Teresa Lawson
, AVP of IT service management for HCA Healthcare, says she’s incorporated many of these practices into her new situation: working from home and taking on a new position.

“COVID-19 created a recipe for a busy work life: learning new areas of responsibility, getting to know new staff and managers, working from home and adjusting to my first pandemic.”

Lawson says she’s avoided burnout by being “intentional” about her daily actions.

“I make it my intention to start and end my day on time and take my lunch break,” she says. “I also created a dedicated home workspace to help me mentally switch between work and home modes.”


At the “office”

The stress of working in hospitals and other healthcare settings during the COVID-19 crisis can be overwhelming, too. Healthcare workers can develop compassion fatigue, or stress caused by exposure to trauma. That’s when it becomes even more critical to take care of yourself.

“It’s easy to play up the importance of self-care to our patients while downplaying it for ourselves,” says Amy Rushton, DNP, APRN-BC, vice president of behavioral health at HCA Healthcare. “Resist the urge. Try and eat right, exercise and sleep. Develop a new hobby, learn a new skill, FaceTime with friends and stay connected.”

Sydney Hester, MD
, an infectious disease physician at TriStar Centennial Medical Center, says she finds wellness and restoration in relationships.

“Time alone reading my Bible and praying keep me grounded, while conversations and playtime with my husband and daughter are fuel to my soul,” she says. “Support from the amazing team at TriStar Centennial gave me the team dynamic to manage the increased workload. But my special place of restoration and health is at the barn, riding my horse, Hughey.”

For Diana Gayle, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, LSSYB, a cardiovascular coordinator at HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball, the coronavirus pandemic meant adjusting to a whole new job description—as the “PPE czar.” Gayle says HCA Healthcare’s mission keeps her positive.

"I believe in our mission: Above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. I keep that in my mind and in my heart." - Diana Gayle, cardiovascular coordinator, HCA Houston Healthcare Tomball

Taylor Hoover, RN
, says she never imagined that her first year as an ICU nurse at Reston Hospital Center would come in the midst of a pandemic.

“As cliché as it may sound, it has taught me to appreciate the little things. Little things like surprising my patient with a visit from her daughter, where she could see her and talk on the phone through the glass doors,” says Hoover. “Seeing the smile on her face reminded me exactly why I am an ICU nurse. These little things rejuvenate me mentally, physically and emotionally to keep smiling and keep fighting each day.”

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Topics: Healthcare, Coronavirus, Health & Safety

HCA Healthcare Volunteers Answer the Call

Posted by HealthTrust Workforce Solutions on Aug 12, 2020 2:27:01 PM

Ten months ago, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded battered the Bahamas. With peak winds at 185-mph, Hurricane Dorian made landfall on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019 and damaged structures, took hundreds of lives, erased entire neighbors and left survivors traumatized.

Amid the chaos, a handful of HCA Healthcare Heroes spread light in a dark moment by providing critical medical aid.

With the Bahamas often being considered the back yard of Florida, the Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line’s Grand Celebration cruise ship became a lifeline – delivering supplies and volunteers to the devastated area.

When the call went out for volunteers, physicians, nurses and other colleagues from affiliate Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida packed their cars with supplies donated from the hospital and drove to the cruise ship’s port in West Palm Beach. They boarded the ship as part of the Bahamas Relief Cruise without hesitation.

(September 2019) Providing aid to the Bahamas, colleagues at
HCA Healthcare’s Memorial Hospital packaged and
sorted medical and disaster recovery supplies.

Caring for others is at the heart of everything we do as an organization. “We are all individually, and as an organization, really great about being involved and jumping into whatever we think is going to help the community,” said Allie Biess, ICU nurse at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville.

“If you see someone hurting, and you can do anything, I just don’t know why you wouldn’t,” Allie adds.

As Hurricane Dorian inched toward the Southeast U.S., HCA Healthcare emergency response teams operating out of regional offices in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and our corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. stood ready to respond. Our CodeReady system allows us to monitor and assess the situation and provide real-time perspective to command teams, while our evacuNATE algorithm helps us reduce hospital evacuation time using real-time triage data.

The cruise ship was transformed into a makeshift hospital, and Dr. David Siebert, a hospitalist at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, and his team were assigned the role to set up a ‘home triage’ hospital on the ship.

Once the ship had docked in the Bahamas, medical relief teams were sent on land to deliver roughly 225,000 pounds of medical equipment along with other supplies to the city of Freeport.

(September 2019) Memorial Hospital Jacksonville nurse Allie Biess
collaborated with medical relief team
members to address, clean
and properly dress 16-year-old Ezequiel’s wounds in the Bahamas.

Dr. Frederick Jenkins, emergency department medical director at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville, asked to drive around the island going door to door to see what help was needed most. It became evident that dehydration and treating patients with chronic issues who had lost everything, including medication, were the highest priorities.

The makeshift medical bar in the cruise ship quickly saw an influx of survivors from the island needing medical treatment. Diabetics lacked insulin. Those with high-blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias and stroke issues were without medication. Skin issues, including fungal rashes, were on the rise as a result of no running water.

In addition to the medical treatment given, Dr. Michael Baptista, bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville explained that the relief efforts delivered so much more.

“I think the thing we brought the most for the people there was hope,” said Dr. Baptista. “We gave them hope that someone cares about them. We gave them hope that the help will continue.”

“We were absolutely carrying out the mission of HCA Healthcare by doing this – to provide wonderful care to the people in the community, and obviously in this case the community extended a lot further out,” said Dr. Jenkins.

He continued, “To help people directly like this that were so devastated, is just tremendous. I mean we do that every day in the emergency department, but this was kind of on a different level and in a totally different context – so it was really rewarding to do it. I would encourage anybody who has the opportunity to do the same thing.”

(September 2019) Palms West Hospital nurse Brittany Reidy
served as the medical
director for the Bahamas Relief Cruise.

Serving as the medical director for the Bahamas Relief Cruise, nurse Brittany Reidy was determined to continue helping in the most ravaged areas. After the Bahamas Relief Cruise completed its maiden voyage, the relief mission made additional trips, under Brittany’s medical leadership, to continue serving those in need. Brittany – who specializes in critical care trauma and emergency services – serves patients at HCA Healthcare sister facility, Palms West Hospital, in Loxahatchee, Fla.

Thank you to Travis Horn and Cristy Nielsen for their work in capturing images to help document this story.

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Topics: Healthcare, Health & Safety


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