Zarah Path from Traveler to OR Nurse
As many nurses can attest, the journey they have taken to arrive at where they are today is full of twists and turns. For Zarah Jayco, an operating room nurse at Renown Regional Medical Center, her journey is nothing short of a fulfilling and exciting one. Zarah is no stranger to taking detours to find what truly makes her feel the bursts of passion she had been looking for her entire life. She found that passion in the operating room – and travel nursing led her to Renown Health. Today, she is a firm believer that she is exactly where she is supposed to be. “I Just Want to Help People” Throughout her life, Zarah knew she was destined for a meaningful career – but didn’t exactly know what. One day, she sat down with her mom, a nurse herself, where she asked the question that would ignite Zarah’s curiosity: What is important to you? “That’s when I told my mom: ‘honestly, I just want to help people.’” It was at that moment that she realized nursing could be a fit for her. Everything about venturing into the nursing field started to make sense. So, that’s precisely what she did. Zarah went to nursing school. When she stepped into the OR during her clinical rotation, she was immediately inspired. Zarah’s core values as a nurse were rooted from caring for her 90-year-old grandmother while she was in hospice. Her grandmother gave her some powerful lessons and words as she set off on her career: “You are in the right place.” Upon completion of her perioperative program, Zarah the OR Nurse we know and love started her journey. She began her trek as a travel nurse, going up and down California to do exactly what she was meant to do: care for surgical patients. “I Traded the Ocean Waves for the Mountains” As Zarah continued to travel and find different locations for new assignments, her husband received an opportunity for work to transfer to the Biggest Little City. The duo packed up their California lives and moved to northern Nevada, where Zarah signed up for a night shift OR nurse position at Renown Regional Medical Center. But the traveler’s mindset wouldn’t last long. Renown embraced Zarah with open arms, and she was immediately drawn into the community-feel that our health system offered. She felt welcomed and surrounded by “loving, hardworking people” across her department and all other teams she encountered. As Renown cares for patients across 100,000 square miles, Zarah was especially impressed with how rooted Renown is in northern Nevada, noting how it “truly feels like we are caring for the community” with our health system’s wide reach. She was inspired to live up to that mission and more. “Reno and Renown really reeled me in, and I fell in love with the city and everything it has to offer,” said Zarah. “I traded the ocean waves for the mountains, and the more we got to know Reno, the more we realized that this change of pace and lifestyle was definitely a good fit for us.” Zarah the OR Travel Nurse became Zarah the Renown OR Core Staff Charge Nurse. And she knew she made the right decision. Working in the OR, according to Zarah, is challenging in the best way possible. At night, all surgery cases at Renown are emergencies. The team springs into action to answer one vital question: How do we provide the best care for this patient? “It is essential for us to anticipate potential outcomes,” said Zarah. “When we book a surgical case, we look at everything to make sure we are absolutely prepared and ready.” Staying at Renown was an easy choice for Zarah. To her, there is nothing like being a part of a core team that inspires her every day and ‘has each others’ back,’” Zarah stated. “During the course of my assignment at Renown, the culture harnessed a kind of environment that felt like a hardworking family. This was the hook that reeled me into considering being part of core staff. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to build relationships that I hold in the highest esteem.”
Department Spotlight: Finance
Help celebrate the end of tax season by recognizing Renown's Finance team! The financial health of every organization is integral to their mission delivery. A health system like ours is no different – and it comes with many intricacies that require a top-notch finance team. The work of financial professionals in healthcare goes far beyond just balancing the books and ensuring bills are paid on time; their work is instrumental to the sustainability and growth of every organization. The Finance department at Renown Health makes a genuine difference by partnering with every team across our health system to safeguard their financial vitality. From accounting and payroll to financial planning and analysis, this team manages our financial resources effectively to assure we can continue providing the highest quality of care to all patients. Money-Minded The team members in Renown’s robust Finance department run the gamut of financial expertise: Accounts Payable pays all our bills to our vendors. Tax and Treasury handles our business licensing and investments. Accounting records our financial transactions, prepares financial statements and reports transactions to the public and the government. Payroll ensures all our employees are paid for their service. Financial Planning and Analysis focuses on long-range planning and evaluates projects for a positive return on investment. As our in-house finance experts, this team’s workdays are anything but ordinary. Every day – and even every month and season – looks different than the last. On top of it all, these team members know exactly what it means to represent Renown’s cultural commitment to collaboration. “We handle a varied set of tasks daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly,” said Minty Huynh, Database Administrator for Renown Health. “We could be churning through a planning cycle involving multiple reports and leader meetings, or we could be diving into details about why a specific department has a charge that brings them over budget.” “Given that my role is tied with a lot of other finance and accounting departments, there is a lot of variability in the role on a day-to-day, week-to-week and monthly basis,” added Michaell Poertner, Financial Systems Administrator for Renown. “Regarding cross-functional collaboration, we meet with team leaders to address any issues or concerns they have with process or data, then work to alleviate those concerns. We all work together to ensure we record and account for our businesses within established rules and regulations.” Helping lead our leadership team through financial and strategic goals plays a major part in Renown’s success. Our Finance team has nailed this down to a science. That guidance is driven by two key aspects: data and determination. “Our team performs specific activities around planning and budgeting, financial effectiveness of current operations and planning for the future,” said Deirdre Maurer, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis for Renown. “We analyze data and provide support for our operations teams. Additionally, we manage Axiom, our financial performance management tool used for all our financial activities: capital planning and tracking, budgeting, long-term planning, management reporting and productivity.” The excitement of solving problems and presenting high-quality analyses drives this team to succeed. However, given the complexities of their everyday work, one may believe that they stay siloed in their own areas. The reality is the opposite – these team members appreciate each other immensely and attribute many triumphs to their colleagues. “I get to work on puzzles every day, such as taking capital projects and building a complete package of reports and documentation to support the many assets at Renown,” said Debra Reyes, Accountant for Renown. “I need and appreciate everyone: Accounts Payable for reclassing items, Finance for project funding, leadership for direction and departments across our health system for working with me on serial numbers and in-use information for capital items.” Our entire Finance team is committed to providing the necessary support and guidance to everyone at Renown, ensuring our financial well-being every step of the way. “The finance team supports business partners in managing current and future financial well-being,” said Nancy Perryman, Principal Financial Analyst for Renown. “We are here to help and work with every department that needs it.” Change Agents As an organization, Renown Health went through a significant change in 2022 that helped set us on a positive financial trajectory. Last year, our senior leadership decided to transition from a July 1 to June 30 fiscal year to a calendar fiscal year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 to link up with Hometown Health’s fiscal year and the fiscal years of most health systems nationwide. From July 1 to Dec. 31, Renown navigated through a “stub period,” which was an opportunity for our team to build upon and deeply analyze our financial health in preparation for a strong, year-long fiscal year. This transition was accomplished with the dedicated, efficient Finance team, who led Renown through this tough time. In addition, their proactive approach to our calendar year planning during the stub period directly impacted Renown’s margin improvements and financial longevity into 2023 and beyond. “Changing our fiscal year meant that we needed a special audit only a few months after our last audit for the six-month ‘stub’ period between the old and new fiscal years,” said Shanna Entin, CPA, Senior Accountant for Renown. “There are a lot of challenges with a smaller audit, as some are familiar while some are new, but I’m proud to say we knocked that audit out of the water.” Despite this uniquely busy season, none of the Finance department’s additional duties fell by the wayside. They celebrated an expedited five-year plan completion, planning turnarounds and much more, all while guiding Renown through the stub period. “I am proud of this team for finishing our rolling forecasting within two weeks and completing the five-year plan within another couple of weeks,” said Michaell Poertner. “We converted our system to a calendar fiscal year and ensured data integrity was maintained the entire time." “We’ve had many great accomplishments involving expedited planning cycle turnarounds such as our five-year financial plans in two weeks, the calendar year 2022 finances in another two weeks and a fiscal-to-calendar year conversion,” added Minty Huynh. “We are proud of having pulled together to deliver our plans to the board on time.” Who can forget the ramifications of the pandemic? During this trying time, our Finance team supported COVID-19 initiatives to ensure all our care teams had the resources they needed to provide the highest standard of care for our most critical patients. “I am proud that our team was able to support the accounting team with data to reinforce the funding we received for COVID-related expenses,” said Deirdre Maurer. “Our team continues to be here to help any Renown employee, which we are happy to do.” And the successes of our finance change agents keep on coming – full speed ahead. “Simply put, we rock,” said Debra Reyes. “We have been able to record assets with more details than before, such as adding locations, serial numbers and more. We have had great audits because our reporting and eye for detail have been keen. We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, becoming friends in the process." Falling in L.O.V.E. with Renown Respect, reputation, relationships – this is the Finance department’s “Renown Why.” Acknowledging Renown’s community impact and giving back to the health system that provided vital support during some of their most daunting times were common themes among this team for why they joined our purple family. “I wanted to give back to the organization that had given me so much,” said Shanna Entin. “In March 2009, the ICU team went above and beyond trying to keep my late husband alive. He was a professional ski patroller caught in an avalanche while doing snow control work in Lake Tahoe. Even though he succumbed to his injuries, I will always be grateful to them for not giving up on him. Some 21 months later, my current husband landed in the same ICU with a flailed chest and various injuries from a skiing accident. The care he received in those nine days healed him enough to continue his care at home.” “I chose to work at Renown because we spent much time at this hospital when I was younger,” added Nancy Perryman. “My sister and I interacted with patients and delivered homemade cards to the elderly, and nurses brought us hot chocolate. Renown felt like home as much as possible when we were here with my father. Then, as an adult, when my father was in his final days, our family surrounded my father, and the amazing Renown staff surrounded us.” “Renown is a well-known name within the Reno area, and I wanted to work with a company with a good reputation and longevity,” added Michaell Poertner. Now, why do they stay? For this department, the answer is simple: their colleagues. Like many other departments at Renown, the encouraging and uplifting team atmosphere inspires them to continue making a difference. It helps them remain dedicated to Renown’s mission and vision. “What keeps me at Renown is the awesome team of professionals I get to call my colleagues,” said Shanna Entin. “We take our jobs seriously. And at the same time, dealing with life is always prioritized over work. So many people are willing and able to jump in to cover you when life throws a curve ball.” The proof “is in the pudding” – many members of this team have a 20+ year-long tenure at Renown, and they remain loyal to this day, excited for the journey ahead of them. “I applied here in 1999 to be an Accounts Payable Clerk at Renown South Meadows while I was wrapping up my courses at Career College of Northern Nevada; I’m thankful I’m still here,” said Debra Reyes. “I have a very interesting history with Renown and have experienced a wide range of things. That’s why I stay – for what lies ahead.” “I chose to work at Renown 20 years ago to make a ‘genuine difference,’ and I like that Renown had and still has a focus on the community and quality healthcare,” added Deirdre Maurer. “I am here today because I enjoy the people, our values and our continued commitment to our patients, community and each other. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of a great organization.” The gratitude among this team transcends beyond office walls, and they welcome any fellow finance experts to consider joining their department and embracing the future together. “I’m thankful every day, even on the hard days,” closes Debra Reyes.
What Is an Echo-Tech?
When it comes to our heart, keeping this vital source of life in tip-top shape is of utmost importance. Echo technologists or echocardiographers, otherwise known as "echo-techs," are charged with that mission, providing critical information that leads to life-saving interventions to keep our hearts beating strong. Adrianne Little, echocardiographer at Renown Health, breaks down the echo-tech's role in the health system, the educational path it takes to get there and the unique perks that come with the profession. What does an echo tech do? “Echo techs play a key role in the diagnosis and treatment of patients,” said Adrianne. “We are members of the cardiovascular imaging team that perform ‘heart ultrasounds’ or echocardiograms. Although we are most commonly known as echo techs, our official title is either ‘cardiac sonographer’ or ‘echocardiographer.’” Echo techs use imaging technology and sophisticated ultrasound equipment to produce images of the heart. These images show how well the heart functions, as well as the valves, chambers and blood flow. Echocardiograms are used to diagnosis and treat a variety of heart conditions such as murmurs, arrhythmias and heart failure. At the end of the day, the main goal of echo techs is to help our cardiovascular team provide the quickest and most accurate diagnoses to help with patient management and help them receive the highest standard of care. “When it comes to looking at the heart, we are part of the front-line team," said Adrianne. “We provide real time critical information that leads to life saving interventions down the road.”
Department Spotlight: Patient Access
Health systems across the country recently celebrated Patient Access Week from April 2-8. Join us in recognizing our Patient Access team at Renown! Fighting the Good Fight starts the moment a patient steps onto the grounds of our health system. When patients visit Renown on their healthcare journey, they look to the experts to not only help them navigate through the complexities of the process but also ensure their experience with us starts off on the right foot. Renown Health’s Patient Access Representatives (also referred to as “PARs”) are the faces of this entire process. As the key links between patients, providers and insurers, they strive to create a welcoming and respectful environment for everyone. PARs are committed to providing all of Renown’s patients access to the quality care when needed. After all, it’s in their name! A Friendly Face PARs are the front faces of almost all clinical areas at Renown. As the starting point for much of the patient experience, the day-in-the-life of PARs can vary. Checking patients in and out, getting demographic information, verifying insurance, answering phone calls, fostering communication between patients and their care teams, scheduling patients for follow-ups, explaining financial responsibilities and our financial aid programs, creating an overall positive experience and environment, the list goes on – but they all remain united under one goal: setting patients off on the right foot as they access care through our health system. “Each day, PARs are met with new patients who are seeking solutions to different concerns,” said Macy Betts, PAR for Renown Women’s Health. “We are the front doors to this department. We are not just checking patients in and out; we are the first step to the patients receiving the care they deserve.” “We take pride in our work,” added Tanya Quintanilla, Shari Longley and Nancy Arroyo Garcia, PARs for Renown Pediatrics. “Usually, we are the first point of contact within Renown, so we don’t take our role lightly. For example, when we see a newborn, we must ensure the registration has been verified, which consists of patient demographics, patient preferences and insurance verification. We need to be consistent and thorough because what we do affects every point of contact a patient may have within Renown.” “As my team’s senior PAR, my day begins with gathering the outpatient therapy work queue numbers and assigning the team to work them,” added Logan Johnson, Senior PAR in Pre-Registration at Renown. “Our goal is to contact and schedule patients for physical, occupational and/or speech therapy as soon as possible so that they have the maximum benefit and can get back to a normal life as quickly as possible. Our encounters can make or break the entire experience.” PARs never underestimate the power of good communication and compassion. Even during the busiest of times, our PARs work diligently to ensure all patients and their care teams fully understand the administrative side of whichever part of their journey they are about to embark on, lending a helping hand and a smile. “Whether you’re communicating with patients, leaders or coworkers, communication is key,” said Jonathan Figueroa, PAR for the Renown Institute for Heart & Vascular Health (IHVH). “We try and make sure that we do everything possible to make their visit go as smoothly as possible.” “Communication makes the world go round,” added Keith Madrona, Sherry Riley, Erika Rios and Andie Kilpatrick, PARs at Renown Urgent Care – Ryland. “Having a friendly attitude and demeanor is very important. “The PARs in Labor & Delivery do so much more than just registering patients – from escorting expectant parents to their rooms, welcoming newborn babies, processing pre-estimates and more – and the patience and excellent communication I receive from other teams is what keeps me going,” added Nanci Barash-Vietti, PAR for Renown Labor & Delivery (L&D). “This is critical to the success and effectiveness of the PARs in our department.” Shift changes for PARs mimic other teams at Renown, leveraging technology and both written and spoken communication to ensure the next shift begins successfully. "When I come in, the night shift will give me a report on what is going on and what the schedule looks like during the day; then I log in to my computer and get everything that I will need for that day up on the screen,” said Allie Boracchia, PAR for Renown L&D. “Usually around this time we have a 7-8 a.m. induction scheduled for the first patient, so I will grab the pre-made packet that the night shift put together, the unit clerk will call the nurse to get a room number, and I take the patient to the room and have them sign all the forms. After the patient has the baby, then we admit them and finish registration. This is continuous all day long.” Our PARs all agree that regardless of the setting, whether it be emergent or routine, every patient is looking for that advocate from the moment they enter through our doors. “Being friendly, patient and understanding is a must,” said Sheryl Lundgren, PAR for the William N. Pennington Institute for Cancer. “It is so nice being able to brighten the days of patients who are living with a cancer diagnosis.” “In the urgent care setting, a lot of the patients we see are not feeling their best, so it is important that we show them we care and are here to help make check in go smoothly,” added Sam Deithrich, PAR at the Renown Urgent Care – Los Altos. “Patients are relieved that they are speaking to a real person that will help set up appointments,” added Rick Jordan and Celeste Landry, PARs in Lab Services at Renown South Meadows. PARs embrace lifelong learning at Renown, especially as their roles differ day-to-day. They are always ready to jump in and assist on tasks that might be new for them, growing their skills on the job and never hesitating to say, “How can I help?” “As a PAR, you are always learning new things, even when it seems like you know just about everything,” said Liz Cardenas-Ramos, PAR for Renown Endocrinology. “It’s been such a positive experience.” “Giving yourself grace to learn and grow in Patient Access is the key,” said Maggie Savoie, PAR for Renown Primary Care – Fernley. “I find myself learning every day at Renown, and if you’re learning, you’re growing. Being able to take a breath and say, ‘this is a learning opportunity for me, and tomorrow I will be better a better PAR because I’ve gained this knowledge’ is an amazing way to stay positive in the position.” “In L&D, we are all multi-tasking, and every day I am learning something new about my department and patients, as well as how to excel in my position,” added Nanci Barash-Vietti. Renown PARs are the front lines to health care access, and they wear that badge with pride. Jeanette Flores, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown South Meadows, sums up the role of Patient Access well: “Talk about first impressions!” “I am proud of our team and the excellent care we give our patients,” said Dawn Linker, PAR for the Renown IHVH. “We want them to have a good experience.” Impactful Accomplishments The role of our Patient Access team members goes beyond the desk. A patient’s healthcare journey begins, and sometimes even ends, with the helping hands of our PARs, leaving a lasting positive impression of Renown. "Our interactions with the patients make a difference before they see the provider, so we always demonstrate a welcoming and helpful atmosphere for the patients to feel like their needs are being met,” said Mary Dettling, PAR for Renown Endocrinology. “I love seeing the difference we make in peoples’ lives,” added Shannon Leone, PAR for the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute. “We can get patients at their toughest and worst times. Watching them overcome their fears, traumas and addictions has been very rewarding.” Our PARs don’t just make goals for themselves – time and time again, they surpass them, all in the name of patient experience and excellence. “We have not only met our monthly point-of-sale scores, but we also have exceeded our stretch goal for the last eight months and our scores have been in the 50th percentile or higher,” said Jeanette Flores. “Along with being the top point-of-sale collectors, we have also been known to be some of the sweetest and most helpful staff at South Meadows,” said Katie Morrill, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown South Meadows. As their teams grow, so does their impact on our patients. PARs are dedicated to providing the best customer service possible, and with their expanding teams, that service goes even further, even throughout the pandemic. “A year ago, we only had one PAR; now, we have a full and amazing team,” said Alex Bucholz, PAR for Renown Advanced Wound Care. “We have come so far in a short amount of time.” "During the pandemic, we have maintained a core group of individuals who come in every day and help keep this office and all its parts moving smoothly,” added Shannon Leone. “We have maintained a full patient load the last three years and never had to close our office for any reason. We have even had the opportunity to start our Medicated Assisted Treatment and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation programs.” "We successfully operated and maintained our pediatric COVID clinic, which is the only one within our five clinics,” added Tanya Quintanilla, Shari Longley and Nancy Arroyo Garcia. “We feel proud knowing our tiny humans are protected with the COVID vaccine.” Like many other teams at Renown, our PARs are masters at teamwork. Despite any obstacles that may happen along the way, they are always there for each other to ensure every patient gets the care and attention they deserve. “We call ourselves the ‘A-Team’ here in Pulmonary,” said Shannon Birnberg, PAR for Renown Pulmonary & Sleep Medicine. “We have persevered through changes, additions and departures. We are most proud of bringing different personalities to the team and being super strong and effective.” “I have noticed the team always steps up whenever needed,” added Brittany Hughes, PAR for the Renown IHVH. “Everyone has a great attitude and is very positive!” “While our team is fairly new, we are growing together, learning our strengths and weaknesses and always pushing for stronger unity,” added Angel Freer, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown Regional. When our PARs find ways to simplify a process or make a workflow run more efficiently, they don’t waste any time in making that happen. They take any opportunity to enhance patient experience. “Our team came up with a solution on how to get patients registered faster,” said Jess Castillo-Marquez, PAR in Lab Services at Renown Regional. “We came up with modalities which assign each PAR their own procedure in which they will be registering for during their scheduled shift. It has been a great success, helping our productivity and keeping our patients satisfied with our service.” “We are proud of our successful implementation of our new therapy workflow,” added Logan Johnson. “Patients are now waiting much less to be contacted about their care.” Our PARs know that teamwork makes the dream work, and their commitment to the patients they serve – and the goals they continue to blow out of the water – continue to inspire them daily. “You are only as strong as your team,” said Aundie Yonker, PAR in the Emergency Department at Renown Regional.
Department Spotlight: Child Life
March is National Child Life Month. Join us in recognizing our Child Life team at Renown Health! The hospital environment can be a daunting and confusing place for a child. Whether they are admitted to the hospital themselves or have a family member who is currently undergoing treatment, they undoubtedly bring along a lot of overwhelming questions and concerns. No one would be better to guide them through the process than the Child Life department at Renown Health. Our devoted Child Life Specialists and Child Life Assistants dedicate themselves to helping our youngest patients and children of relatives in the hospital cope with their anxieties and fears. With the smiling faces of the Child Life team on their side, children at Renown have a sense of solace while they are in the hospital with a team to cheer them on every step of the way. Offering a Hand to Hold From the first moment of a child’s visit to Renown, they are never alone. The Child Life team, which is made up of three specialists and two assistants, is here to provide a helping hand throughout the entire hospital process, explaining each test, procedure and process every step of the way and creating the best possible plan for each patient – all while fostering and maintaining a safe and supportive environment. “We are specifically trained to help patients and families throughout their healthcare experiences,” said Amanda Cleary, MS, CCLS, Child Life Specialist. “This looks different for every family. We are trained to tailor our services to meet individual family and cultural needs based on our assessment.” “It does not take long for a Child Life Specialist to create a safe relationship with a pediatric patient,” added Angie McEvers, CCLS, CFLE, Child Life Specialist. “The Child Life department can help any care team do their job by redirecting a child’s focus and distracting them from painful interventions, and this is a win-win for both the patient and the care team.” This team’s primary goal is to make talking to doctors and undergoing tests a little less intimidating for our youngest patients. Interaction is a crucial part of a child’s healthcare journey. Our Child Life Specialists are masters at procedure preparation, surgery preparation, trauma support and diagnosis education while meeting each child where they are at developmentally. “A day in the life of a Child Life Specialist is never the same, and every child is different,” said Jennifer Nunzir, CCLS, Child Life Specialist. “To make sure patient care is possible, I make sure I am here mentally for the patients and families. I am ready with a smile to greet them and try to make them comfortable from the start. We are always present to support a patient and family with a new diagnosis, talk to children when there has been a tragic accident, make memories for families and giving children a distraction from tests and procedures.” “One of the biggest benefits to our job is our ability to provide emotional support and communicate with families in a way that makes them feel seen and heard,” added Amanda Cleary. “We listen to the family’s past medical experiences and work on building rapport by building those connections. When you get a child to open up, you see who they are as an individual, and we build from there.” The efforts of the Child Life team go beyond helping children with coping skills. They also jump in with activities to keep kids of all ages engaged – from arts and crafts to pet therapy. “Bringing children smiles through play and giving them fun things to do – whether it’s watching a movie, playing a game, doing an art project, going for a wagon ride or taking them to the Children’s Healing Garden – makes me feel I am making a difference,” said Jennifer Nunzir. “If I can get the child and family to at least smile or laugh, I feel I have already eased some fear and anxiety. It truly is the best feeling to get them smiling and laughing.” “Through play, conversation, distraction or relaxation techniques, patients cope better, and families are calmer,” added Angie McEvers. Teaching Every Step of the Way Education is a crucial aspect in this department. Each Child Life team member works closely with their patient’s care teams to break down “doctor speak” with age-appropriate explanations. “Children come into the hospital for all sorts of reasons, from a broken bone to cancer; our background in child development and psychology helps us collaborate with the patients’ providers and explaining what each part of the care journey is depending on a child’s developmental level,” said Amanda Cleary. “For example, we can explain what a brain tumor is with playdough and help a child with a new diabetes diagnosis understand what it means to balance sugars using play food. It's all about providing family-centered support so that they feel more in control. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen parents’ eyes light up when the kids play. They are all coping, learning and growing together.” To Help with the Happy and the Sad When healthcare journeys don’t go as planned, support from care teams is crucial for families facing grief or loss. The Child Life Specialists are one of the first on the scene to provide support for children and their families, providing education on how to talk to children about death and helping families preserve the memories of their loved ones for years to come. “One of the most difficult things we do is provide bereavement support,” said Angie McEvers. “Not only do we provide support for families of pediatric patients but also adult patients who have children. Our team takes the time to help families with memory making with handprints, journals, books, the list goes on. No one should have to go through this process alone, and we make sure that doesn’t happen.” Above all else, the Child Life team are here, first and foremost, for the patients and their families. They are the drive that keeps them going – and helps them reinvigorate that passion for their work every day. “I have met some of the most amazing children and families, and they definitely are what keep me here at Renown,” said Jennifer Nunzir. The Road to Child Life The journey to becoming a Child Life Specialist looks different for every team member, and many of them discovered the field while pursuing careers in other healthcare areas. Beyond their passion for children and families – and their Certified Child Life Specialist credential – our Child Life team members are also highly educated in the fields of human development, nursing and psychology, knowledge that benefits them greatly in their career. Amanda Cleary had the unique experience of pursuing a Child Life career at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles before she arrived at Renown last year, implementing her knowledge from her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies into a clinical child life internship and a robust career in Child Life. “While at Penn State, I learned about the Child Life career path through the Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon,” said Amanda. “I knew that this was the path I wanted to take. I did a 600-hour internship, and from there I was hired at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where I stayed for 11 years. As a lifelong learner, I knew I wanted to pursue more – so I achieved my master’s degree online in child life leadership and advocacy at the Erickson Institute in Chicago, and what I learned in that program continues to serve me well in my career at Renown.” Other Child Life Specialists, like Angie McEvers and Jennifer Nunzir, had already been with Renown for several years in other departments and built up a wealth of healthcare knowledge before discovering their passion for the mission of Renown’s Child Life program. “I have been here for 23 years; I always knew I wanted to work with children in the hospital because I love kids, and although I originally wanted to be a nurse, I realized that I actually wanted to be on the other side of helping,” said Jennifer. “At the time, I didn’t know there was a job like the Child Life Specialist out there, and I feel so lucky to have found this career. Over the years, as Reno has grown, so has our program, which is very exciting. I knew Renown would be the place where I could grow as well." “This year is my 24th year with Renown,” added Angie. “Before I worked here, I was an Advanced EMT/Firefighter while pursuing my nursing degree. In working with the medical team from Children's Hospital of Oakland in pediatric hematology/oncology, I was able to see first-hand the benefit of Child Life. I was driven to finish my human development degree and passed my certification testing, and ever since then, I’ve been with Pediatrics, PICU and the Children’s ER.” We could not have said it better ourselves – this is a field that is constantly evolving and progressing, and while not everyone is familiar with it, our Child Life Specialists are ready to change that narrative. “There is a lot of opportunity here to continue to grow the Child Life program,” said Amanda. “Not all hospitals have a Child Life program, but we are lucky that Renown does. Any aspiring Child Life Specialist should consider coming here, as it has been a great experience. It is a familial feeling here, and I definitely feel like I am in the right place.” There is Strength in Numbers It takes a village to serve the emotional needs of the many children and families that walk through the doors of Renown Children’s Hospital, and our Child Life Specialists are considered some of the key leaders of that village. The outpouring of support for our Child Life program is astonishing. Not only have our patients and employees made generous donations, but members of the greater Reno-Sparks community are always there ensure kids in the hospital can be kids. The Nevada Wolf Pack, SCHEELS, Great Reno Balloon Race and Atlantis Casino are just a few of the many generous organizations that have donated both toys and time to our youngest patients. To support any child dealing with a serious illness, especially cancer, Beads of Courage steps in to help children “visually record, tell and own their stories of courage” using beads as a symbol. Representatives from Beads of Courage volunteer their time to help our youngest patients keep track of their valiant fight against their illness, adding a bead to their necklaces after every step in their care journey. “We rely on our generous community and donations that come in, and we see a lot during the holiday season – we definitely can benefit from this year-round,” said Amanda. The donations allow the Child Life team to expand their play, coping and distraction opportunities for patients and families, allowing them to reach more children within their small, mighty and growing team of five. “Our goal as a team is to work with as many pediatric patients and children of relatives seeking treatment as possible, so the opportunity to grow our team would be awesome,” said Amanda. And grow they will! The team recently welcomed two dedicated Child Life Assistants, Marissa Arriaga and Sydnee Patterson, during Child Life Month. These team members work alongside the Child Life Specialists to help provide opportunities for developmental play, both in the playroom and at the bedside. Marissa and Sydnee ensure that the kids can still be kids, even while they are in the hospital. Additionally, the Child Life department is currently hiring more Child Life Specialists. If this line of work speaks to you or someone you care about, they are strongly encouraged to apply, because in the end: "We do it all for the kids,” closes Jennifer Nunzir.
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?
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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.”