Celebrating Nurses Week

Every May, Carroll Hospital celebrates our nursing staff who work tirelessly day and night, weekends and holidays, to provide the best care for our patients.

During Nurses Week, our “Superheroes in Scrubs” were delivered breakfast, given a special appreciation gift and had the opportunity to have their hands blessed by our chaplains and community clergy.

DAISY Award winners and the more than 80 nurses who were nominated for the Nurse of the Year honor attended an awards banquet at The Portico at St. John in Westminster to honor their accomplishments.

From left to right: Carroll Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Stephanie Reid, R.N.; Nurse of the Year Michelle Rivers, R.N., and President Leslie Simmons, R.N.

Michelle Rivers, R.N., was named the Nurse of the Year. Rivers has been a nurse for 25 years, with 17 of them at Carroll Hospital. She is a clinical educator who provides continuing education and mentors fellow nurses in the medical-surgical areas.

“She gets to know nurses on a personal level and makes deep, caring connections,” wrote one nominating colleague. “She makes learning fun and interesting and has a way of explaining things so everyone can understand. … I have seen her put worried patients and concerned visitors at ease with just a short conversation, her beautiful smile and sometimes a hug. She is, without hesitation, one of the greatest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and I am thankful for her and for what she does for this organization every day.”

Another nominator shared a recent event when Michelle pitched in to help care for patients during an especially busy time in The Family Birthplace. “…Without hesitation, no questions asked, she immediately stepped in and began assisting me in triage,” wrote the nominator. “She started taking vital signs, she helped a very sick patient into the restroom, she began taking and collecting urine specimens, but most of all she kept the patients and their family members calm.”

Afterward, Michelle continued to check in on the unit and even bought the staff pizza, which they greatly appreciated during such a hectic time. “She proved that as a nurse we can always go back to the basics and be able to step into any environment, even out of our comfort zone, and perform the basic skills we were all taught to provide effective patient care,” wrote the nominating nurse.

Congratulations, Michelle! And a special thanks to all of our nurses for the quality care you provide to our patients!

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes

Spring is the time to enjoy asparagus at its finest. Look for firm stalks, with the buds still tight. Asparagus is incredibly versatile in that it can be grilled, roasted, steamed, or blanched as in this recipe or for a surprise addition to a veggie tray. Cook more than you need for a meal… there are always uses for leftovers.

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Medical Misconception: Advance Directives

Each month, a health care professional will weigh in on a health and wellness myth.

This month’s misconception: Advance Directives   

Advance directives are an important, but often misunderstood, tool in health care. This document specifies what actions should be taken in the event that you are no longer able to make health care decisions due to illness or incapacity, and it identifies a person of your choosing to make such decisions on your behalf.

Myth: I’m healthy so I don’t need an advance directive.

Anyone age 18 or older should have an advance directive, whether they are healthy or facing a chronic illness, says palliative care nurse Laurie Luellen, R.N. “We never know what tomorrow is going to bring,” she says. “If something happens and someone is not able to make their own decisions, it makes it easier for the family to know what to do.”

Myth: An advance directive needs to be completed by a lawyer.

Two witnesses are all that is needed in order to fill out an advance directive. These witnesses must be age 18 or older, and neither can be the person you’ve chosen as your medical advocate. One important note: these witnesses don’t need to read your advance directive or know what you’ve outlined in terms of your health care decisions. They are there to simply witness that you signed the document, Luellen says.

Once the advance directive is completed, Luellen recommends giving a copy to your medical decision maker and to your local hospital, even if you’ve never been a patient there. The hospital staff will scan and save your advance directive so that it is always on file in case of an emergency.

Myth: If you have an advance directive, medical staff won’t put the full effort in to saving your life.

A lot of people think this is the case, but it is simply untrue. Hospital staff will make every effort to fulfill the wishes you have outlined in your advance directive. In addition to the advance directive identifying a medical advocate, the document also allows for individuals to outline the type of care they would want if they have a terminal condition, an end-stage condition or if he or she is in a persistent vegetative state.