December 2012
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Swank HealthCare

In This Issue
May 2014

Did You Know?

Patient-Centered Nursing Leadership

Top List

The 10 of the Most Influential Nurses in American History

Recommended Readings
National Nurses Week : May 6-12, 2014

Nursing Practice: A Lighthearted Look at the Past

Where in the World is Swank HealthCare

2014 Patient Experience Conference - Chicago, IL

Recommended Courses*
  • Dealing with Disruptive Behaviors #38911
  • Improving Organizational Performance #38710
  • Mindfulness Practices for Professionals #32613

* course numbers may vary by facility

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Did You Know

Patient-Centered Nursing Leadership

National Nurses Week is celebrated across the U.S. the week of May 6th-12th. This year’s theme is, Nurses: Leading the Way. Without a doubt, health care is changing and patient-centered leadership is needed to guide the way.

In 1990, the average cost of health care per person in the U.S. was $2,600. In 2010, it had grown to $8,400. The patient population is aging at a rapid rate, which means the volume and complexity of health care needs are also rapidly increasing. At the same time, the provider population needed to care for patients is failing to keep pace with the growing demand. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama in 2010 includes payment system changes intended to promote greater efficiency in healthcare delivery by restructuring Medicare reimbursements through shared savings and bundled payments. The CMS Hospital Value-Based Purchasing program represents other payment changes driving a greater focus on clinical process measures, patient outcomes, hospital readmissions, healthcare-acquired conditions, and the patient experience, all while reducing costs associated with care. Another dramatic change has been the rapid advancement and integration of technology. From electronic health records and computerized-physician order entry to high-fidelity simulation and robotics, new forms of technology are changing almost every aspect of the way nurses and other professionals deliver care.

These factors and others create a healthcare environment often described as chaotic and overwhelming by both care providers and patients. It’s easy to become focused on tasks, checklists, guidelines, dashboards, forms, computer interfaces, budgets, and changing processes and lose sight of the most important thing: the patient and his or her individual needs. When this happens, patient and employee satisfaction, along with quality and safety suffer.

In the book, Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others, the author describes three key attributes of great leaders in the midst of chaos: the ability to find order, realistic optimism, and dedication to purpose. Within these attributes, he goes on to describe specific characteristics of leader success:

Clarity of thought

  • Remaining focused on purpose
  • Identifying the essential elements to success and eliminating the unnecessary
  • A high mental tolerance for pressures associated with fast-changing, highly complex environments
  • Modeling calm and confidence

Drive to solve the puzzle

  • An intellectual curiosity and mental tolerance for complex, multidimensional puzzles and finding solutions to them
  • Listening and learning from others (in health care, this includes: patients, family members, colleagues, and subordinates)

Nurses are uniquely qualified to lead change needed in today’s health care environment. They represent the largest segment of the health care workforce and spend more time with patients than any other health care professional. They are involved in all aspects of patient care, from prevention to treatment and end-of-life care. In a 2009 Gallup poll, respondents said nurses should have greater influence in reforming the health care system. The Institute of Medicine in association with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation made recommendations about the future of health care and recommended that nurses be prepared and enabled to lead change to advance health. Through education and experience, nurses are conditioned to be critical thinkers by applying a systematic and logical process in high-pressure, challenging situations. They understand the value of teamwork and listening to the voice of the patient. But, perhaps the most important qualities of nurses that support their role as leaders in the midst of chaotic times are caring, compassion, and patient-centeredness at the core of their practice that keeps them focused on purpose.

From the bedside to the boardroom, pressures are high and issues are highly complex. Leaders must create order, remain optimistic, and dedicated to purpose. As author Stephen Covey wrote, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”. A patient-centered approach is needed to ensure the main thing remains the main thing. Below are questions based on the elements of patient-centered care for nurses and other leaders to use as a guide for change along the way.


  • Is leadership committed to participating in and supporting the change?

Strategic Vision

  • Does it align with the vision, mission, and values of the organization?

Involvement of Patients and Families

  • Were patients and families involved in the planning process?
  • Will patients and families be involved in implementing and evaluating the change?

Supportive Work Environment

  • Were stakeholders (managers, medical staff, nurses and other frontline staff) at all levels and affected areas involved in the design and implementation of the new process?
  • Were respect and dignity of employees considered in plans for implementation (communication, feedback)?
  • Is the change service-oriented to patients and families?

Systematic Measurement of Feedback

  • What measures will be used to determine success?
  • Will patient and family feedback be used as a measure success?

Quality and the Built Environment: If the initiative involves changes to the physical environment

  • Is it welcoming to the patient’s family and friends?
  • Does it value human beings over technology?
  • Does it enable patients to fully participate as partners in their care?
  • Does it provide flexibility to personalize the care of each patient?
  • Does it encourage caregivers to be responsive to patients?
  • Does it foster a connection to nature and beauty?

Supportive Technology: If the change involves supportive technology

  • Does it enhance physician-patient partnerships in care?
  • Has ease of adoption for patients and clinicians been considered in plans for implementation?
  • Do plans include gradual implementation of applications to avoid undermining quality of patient-caregiver interactions?

Menkes, J. (2011). Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Publishing.

Pelzang, R. (2010). Time to learn: understanding patient-centered care. British Journal of Nursing (BJN), 19.

Top List

The 10 of the Most Influential Nurses in American History

  1. Dorthea Dix (1802-1887) was an author, teacher and reformer who devoted most of her life to improving care for the mentally ill. Her work led to the creation on dozens of mental health institutions throughout the United States and Europe. During the Civil War, she was charged with administration of military hospitals where she advocated for female nurses.
  2. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) may be most famous for his work as an American poet, but during the Civil War he served tirelessly as an active volunteer nurse. Although he never had any formal nursing education, he cared for more than 100,000 wounded Union and Confederate soldiers, often writing letters to their families on their behalf. Whitman later wrote of that time as a turning point in his life and termed it as “the very center, circumference, umbilicus, of my whole career”.
  3. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is celebrated as the founder of modern nursing. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for her care of wounded British soldiers at night during the Crimean War. In 1860, she established the first secular nursing school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on her birthday.
  4. Clara Barton (1821-1912) began her nursing career at age 10 when she cared for her brother after he fell from the roof of a barn. During the civil war, she gathered supplies for wounded soldiers and served on the front lines earning the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield”. In 1881, she established and served as the first president for the American Red Cross, leading efforts to provide aid to victims of the Texas famine of 1887, an Illinois tornado and a yellow fever epidemic in Florida in 1888, the Jamestown flood of 1889, and the Galveston hurricane in 1900.
  5. Linda Richards (1841-1930) was America’s first official professionally trained nurse, graduating in 1873 from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. She later developed a system to track and maintain patient medical records after working at Bellevue Hospital where she noticed the disorganization of records.
  6. Mary Eliza Mahoney – (1845-1926) was the first African-American professionally trained registered nurse and co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.
  7. Lillian Wald (1867-1940) was an advocate for children, immigrants, and civil and women’s rights. She is credited with pioneering the field of public health nursing by placing nurses in public schools. In 1893, after witnessing the poverty and unsanitary conditions endured by residents of the Lower East Side of New York, Wald founded the Henry Street Settlement where she and her colleagues provided care and services to area residents in their homes. It eventually expanded into the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
  8. Mary Breckinridge (1881 – 1965) After the death of her husband in 1906 and her two children in 1916 and 1918, she dedicated her life to the health of women and children in rural America. In 1925, she founded the Frontier Nursing Service where she and a horseback team of nurse-midwives served women throughout their pregnancies in the Appalachian region of Kentucky. Their work led to dramatic reductions in mortality rates for the area and many of their practices were later used across the U.S. to help those without access to affordable healthcare.
  9. Virginia Avenel Henderson (1897-1996) is known by several other names including, “The Nightingale of Modern Nursing”, “The Modern-Day Mother of Nursing”, “The 20th Century Florence Nightingale”, and the “First Lady of Nursing”. In 1939 she authored the revised version of Hamer’s Textbook of Principles and Practices of Nursing, and went on to co-author the fifth (1955) and sixth (1978) editions. She developed the “Henderson Model” of nursing theory, which has been used throughout the world for standardizing nursing practice.
  10. Mabel Keaton Staupers (1890-1989) was an advocate for racial equality in the field of nursing. As the executive secretary of the National Association of Graduate Colored Nurses, she fought for the inclusion of black nurses in World War II to the Army and Navy. Her efforts led to full inclusion of nurses of all races in the U.S. military in 1945, and the American Nursing Association to allow membership of African American nurses in 1948. She later helped establish the Booker T. Washington Sanatorium, which was one of few clinics during that time to care for African Americans with tuberculosis.

Recommended Readings

National Nurses Week : May 6-12, 2014

Nursing Practice: A Lighthearted Look at the Past

Nursing practice has come a long way over the course of history. Today’s nurses are highly educated, have sophisticated clinical and interpersonal skill-sets, and technological savvy. They know how to manage the pressures of a demanding and constantly changing environment with calmness, ease and confidence, and deliver care with compassion and dignity. Never before have the advancements in nursing practice been as evident as they are through a look at an 1887 version of nursing guidelines titled, “Duties of a Floor Nurse.”

In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow these regulations:

Where in the World is Swank HealthCare?

2014 Patient Experience Conference - Chicago, IL

Swank HealthCare attended the annual Patient Experience Conference this year in Chicago, IL. The conference was attended by over 700 attendees and 50 exhibitors who all share the same objective; how to make a positive impact on the patient experience.

As a proud sponsor of the Beryl Institute’s Patient Experience Conference, Swank HealthCare strives to be an integral component to the “I am a Part of the Patient Experience” campaign. Swank HealthCare developed an HCAHPS Performance Improvement Series to help hospitals train their staff on the importance of HCAHPS and provide them with the tools they need to improve their hospital’s survey results.

For more information on the HCAHPS Performance Improvement Series and how it has helped position other hospitals for better reimbursements from the Centers for Medicaid Services, as well as increased patient satisfaction, please contact Swank HealthCare at 1-877-227-0325.

Watch The Beryl Institute’s inspiring opening video for the conference.

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what topics you would like to see in upcoming newsletters.

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What's Coming up?

Skylight Client Conference

Nov. 20-22, 2013
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, CA

With the national healthcare dialog focusing on patient engagement and the patient experience, Skylight HealthCare System's 7th Annual Client Conference includes best practice demonstrations on how their clients have used the Skylight system to make real improvements in HCAHPS scores, patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes and enhanced operational and service excellence.


What's Coming up?

HCAHPS Breakthrough Webinar Series

As a Swank HealthCare customer, you can register for our HCAHPS Breakthrough Webinar Series at no cost to you!

All webinars are scheduled for Tuesdays at 2 pm CST



Communication with Doctors

November 12, 2013

Communication with Nurses

December 10, 2013

Discharge Information

January 14, 2014

Pain Control

March 11, 2014

Responsiveness of Staff

April 8, 2014

Transition of Care

May 13, 2014

Overall Rating

June 10, 2014

Willingness to Recommend

July 8, 2014

Register Now
Enter sponsor code SWANK


Coming Soon

Safety Storm 2014 is on the way! Our comprehensive Regulatory Training program helps you meet hospital accreditation requirements and CMS compliance, while easily adding your own facility-specific content. Clinical and non-clinical staff will receive engaging information on the topics they must be proficient in, such as:

The training curriculum is updated annually in January to reflect updated regulations. Courses are available in English and Spanish and may be accessed online in video, audio or text so staff may view, listen or read the training depending on their preferred learning style.

Stay tuned for more information about Safety Storm 2014 next month!


Top 10 List

Top 10 Patient Safety Practices with Low Cost Estimates for Implementation as sited by the AHRQ report, Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices.

  1. High-alert drugs: patient safety practices for intravenous anticoagulants
  2. Interventions to improve hand hygiene compliance
  3. Reducing unnecessary urinary catheter use and other strategies to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  4. Preoperative checklists and anesthesia checklists to prevent a number of operative safety events, such as surgical site infections and wrong site surgeries
  5. Use of beta blockers to prevent perioperative cardiac events
  6. Strategies to increase appropriate prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism
  7. Ensuring documentation of patient preferences for life-sustaining treatment such as advanced directives
  8. Promoting engagement by patients and families to reduce adverse events (such as patients encouraging providers to wash their hands)
  9. Obtaining informed consent from patients to improve patient understanding potential risks of medical procedures
  10. Interventions to prevent tubing misconnections

Source: Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices. March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


Where in the World is
Swank HealthCare?

Relationship-Based Care Symposium
Huron, Ohio

Swank HealthCare attended the Relationship-Based Care Symposium September 9-13 in Huron, Ohio. This international conference focused on "Showcasing Bold and Courageous Leadership in Health Care: Making the Quality, Safety, and Business Case for Compassion." During the conference, Swank HealthCare was honored to contribute to the Speaker's Panel on "Technology and Human Connection: Best Practices for Integration of High Tech and High Touch," featuring new and innovative approaches in using technology that strengthen communication, connection and partnership with patient and family.

Attendees were encouraged to become part of the discussion around technology development and were provided strategies for working with IT partners and senior management. On a clinical practice level, training and education was encouraged to establish best practices ensuring patient and family comfort with healthcare technology.

Swank HealthCare Marketing Manager Lynelle Korte joined Deb Brisch-Cramer, Patient Experience Improvement Coach with TruthPoint, and James Dias, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of, as the speakers for the question-and-answer session moderated by Margo Karsten, President and Consultant for Creative Health Care Management.

Swank HealthCare also sponsored a book-signing immediately following Keynote Speaker Brené Brown's inspirational talk on vulnerability. Dr. Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston-Graduate College of Social Work and has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. Her 2010 TEDxHouston talk on the power of vulnerability is one of TED's most watched talks. Dr. Brown has appeared on Oprah, Katie, The Today Show, and other major media outlets.

Dr. Brown encouraged attendees to explore their feelings of vulnerability, explaining that although it is at the core of difficult emotions, it also is the birthplace of creativity and innovation, authenticity, adaptability to change and accountability. All of these behaviors can lead to improved performance in healthcare delivery and ultimately a better patient experience.

The Swank HealthCare team was delighted to provide conference attendees with one-on-one access to Dr. Brown and to encourage further engagement with her and her most recent book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, and Lead.

For more information on the Relationship-Based Care Symposium and the Technology Panel specifically, please visit To learn more about Dr. Brown, go to To consider Swank HealthCare courses that promote professional development or for more information on how the HCAHPS Performance Improvement Series can help educate staff on patient experience management, please contact your Account Manager at 1-800-950-4248.