Ebola Response

Recently the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States occcured in Dallas. Although I am not working at the hospital where the patient was diagnosed and cared for, I am working at a hospital just outside of the city. After news of the diagnosis broke, people throughout the city began to express fear of contracting the virus.

Although no one wants to have to respond to the threat of a contagious virus, it has been a very interesting experience for me to see how my hospital has reponded to the news and how the CDC has worked with hospitals throughout Dallas to help us prepare in the rare chance a patient with Ebola comes to us in need of care.

One way my hospital has responded is to help educate employees on proper PPE in caring for patients in an isolation setting. Many media sources speculate that care givers most often contract the virus when removing their PPE, rather than while directly preparing care. In addition to this, the hospital also provided additional training to employees to help them feel confident about their ability to safely care for patients.

I have learned from living through this process that as important as it is to provide optimal care to patients, healthcare organizations must also care for their employees. By equipping  employees with the right tools and knowledge to care for their patients, they will continue coming to work and will feel confident in their ability to care for all patients who come through their doors.

Erin

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Ranch Visit

As much as I enjoy living in Dallas, I do miss spending time outdoors. My boyfriend’s family has a cattle ranch about two and a half hours away from Dallas.

Although we used to make ranch visits fairly frequently when we were both in Waco, it’s been harder to make the trip down since he’s returned to school and I’ve been busy with work. We finally had the chance to head down this weekend and also decided to bring our golden retriever, Tonks, for her first visit to the ranch.

Normally on ranch visits we spend time hiking around, have campfires and relax. Since we were bringing our pup, we weren’t sure how much of our norm we would have. Although Tonks is pretty good inside, she is highly reactive outside when on a leash. We ended up deciding to let her off leash to see how she would do and aside from badgering a few cows, she was great! She had a wonderful time running around and even swam in one of the small lakes at the ranch.

We ended up being able to end our trip with a bonfire that night and roasted some hot dogs and marshmallows. I’ve really grown to love ranch visits and definitely want to work on making the trip there more often! There is just something wonderful about getting away from the city for a few days and enjoying being outside.

Erin

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Texas State Fair

Over the past few weeks Dallas has been home to the Texas State Fair. Several of my classmates drove up to go to the fair last year, but I didn’t make the trip. Now that I’m living here, I decided that I needed to make the (much) shorter trip and check out what the fair has to offer.

The Texas State Fair is fairly well known throughout the country. Prior to moving to Texas, I had heard of the fair due to its vast collection of fried food offerings for guests to enjoy. Each year, new fried concotions compete for a winning title as one of the best offered at the fair for the year. Since it was my first trip to the fair, I knew that I needed to try at least a few fried things!

Upon arrival, my boyfriend and I were greeted with a very nice surprise. We were given free tickets from a guest who had extras. The entrance fee runs $17 without any discounts, so we were very thankful to have been the recipients of such a kind gesture! After entering the fair we picked up a map and scoped out where some of  the fried foods we wanted to try were located.

By the end of the day we had tried 5 different fried foods, some of which were winners for this years contest and others were winners from years past. Overall they were all very good…not healthy, but tasty!

In addition to checking out the food, we also went on the ferris wheel and were able to catch some of the sunset while on the ride. We also saw Big Tex and walked around the fair to see everything else offered to guests! Since we went in the evening after work it was very busy. A lot of people at work took a day off to go to the fair-I may have to do this in years to come to enjoy it with less of a crowd!

Erin

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Contract Review Project

For the next few weeks I will be spending a portion of my time at a second Tenet hospital near Dallas. I will be helping out with a project to identify cost savings. The hospital was recently acquired by Tenet and it has been a process for the hospital and its executives in getting it transitioned to Tenet policies and standards.

The hospital was originally built by physicians and many of their historical contracts have yet to be reviewed and have terms that auto-renew. I have been going through the contracts to identify aspects such as how long the original term was, whether or not the term auto-renews, when the hospital is able to terminate the contract and under what terms, as well as financials related to how much we are actually paying for contracted services and products.

It has been interesting for me to see the process of the hospital being acquired since beginning my residency. I was included in several meetings relating to developing their business plan and also sat in on its presentation at home office. At that time I was able to understand some of the challenges the hospital was facing and where the hospital had opportunity. Being included in the process of helping the hospital to cut costs and ensure we are receiving Tenet pricing for ongoing contracts is a very neat opportunity. They plan to include me in the negotiation phase so that I will be able to understand the complete process of contract review.

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Surgical Services Rotation

This week I’ve been back in rotations and am helping our the Director of Surgical Service at Lake Pointe.

Now that the week is nearly over I have to say that this has been one of my favorite rotations. The Director is really great at utilizing me as a resource to help him and his department while also teaching me about the day-to-day responsibilities he carries.

I’ve done everything from help to put together medical supplies, to attending meetings, to helping to develop forms for the department to use. I’ve also learned about the challenges he faces in managing staffing while also meeting certain metrics. It’s been a very educational week and has helped to rejuvenate the early excitement I felt from beginning my residency! With only a little over two months left, I need to make the most of all of it!

Erin

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Meet Tonks!!!

A little less than two months ago I embarked on a new adventure: I became a Dog Mom. Balancing work and having a dog has been challenging, but it has also been incredibly rewarding, exciting, and fun.

I’ve always been a dog person, so finally having the opportunity to adopt a pup of my own was exciting. She was a rescue pup who was fostered through a Golden Retriever Rescue outside of Dallas. After attending a meet and greet she was able to come for a home visit and stayed that day! It has been an adventure ever since.

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Although leaving her in the morning to come to work is always difficult, coming home to a happy, excited dog is one of the best things in the world. I know I am going to have so many adventures with her over the years and am thrilled to have her in my life!!

Oh…and yes… she’s renamed after a Harry Potter character!!

Erin

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Waco Visit!

This weekend I headed back to Waco with my boyfriend for his former coworker’s wedding.

I haven’t been in Waco for several months, but was excited to make the trip back down. Driving into Waco I was immediately reminded of one of the biggest changes that Waco has had since I began my journey with Baylor: an incredible new football stadium that is clearly visible from the freeway. I’m not a big sports fan, but I have to admit that I’m a big jealous of the current first years in my program who will get to watch a game from a skybox!

I also had time to drive through campus and was impressed at how much progress has been made on the new Business building. I won’t get to enjoy it, but it’s great to see how the school is evolving and how it will continue to develop over time.

After getting back to Waco, we arrived to the wedding. It was a great location and was a lovely ceremony. We had a wonderful night and were glad to have had the chance to stop back through Waco, see some familiar faces and check in on Baylor! Although I’ll be sad to see my residency end in December, it will be neat to head back to Baylor to see my classmates and finish up my degree.

Erin

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Youth Achievement Foundation

This is the first week that I have volunteered with the Youth Achievement Foundation in Garland, TX. The program allows me to tutor and mentor middle school girls in the Garland ISD.

I have always loved volunteering and enjoy working with young people. Needless to say, I have been excited about getting started! To begin, the coordinator brings snacks to share with the girls while we all discuss different topics of the day such as “optimism”. The mentors and the girls share their views on the topic and get ready for homework and tutoring.

Once the girls pull out their homework, mentors have the opportunity to help the girls with their homework to understand concepts. One thing that I quickly learned was that many of the girls are eager to learn, but find their classroom settings challenging to learn in. After spending a little bit of time with two girls going over a math concept, they quickly caught on and were excited about what they had learned.

The girls then end their night in the gym playing games and sports. I was thrilled to have even the smallest impact on the girls I interacted with and am looking forward to continuing to help throughout the rest of my residency. It’s only two hours once a week and is a wonderful use of my time and energy.

Erin

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Rockwall HeartChase

Today I went to Rockwall to take part in their annual HeartChase. The HeartChase sponsors the American Heart Association and Lake Pointe is a big sponsor of the event and programming.  Leading up to the event we hosted several fundraisers to raise money. These included a bake sale, a chili cook off, and a donation to be able to wear jerseys to work. Between these events and individual donations we raised several thousand dollars!

I had never been to a HeartChase event before, so I was excited to go. Not knowing what to expect threw my team off a little bit because we didn’t really have a set game plan to win! The event us basically like a scavenger hunt with activities mixed in. You run (or walk!) around an area and go to different stations to complete actitives. After completing the activity you are given a code to either enter or scan into the event’s APP with your phone. In addition to this, there are also bonus codes throughout the playing field that give your team more points. This Saturday there were 99 of such codes for us to find!

My team ended up finishing all of the stations and also found 83 of the bonus codes. Since we didn’t find all of them we didn’t win! Regardless, several Lake Pointe teams look home top spots and ultimately make Lake Pointe the overall winner. It was a lot of fun and was a great opportunity to spend time with Lake Pointe employees outside of the hospital-and it was for a great cause! I would definitely love to go to another HeartChase sometime!

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THA Best Practice Member Showcase

A few months ago I helped to put together a Best Practice Submission to submit to THA to be considered for their Member Showcase. From the submissions they receive, THA chooses several to feature during their THA Annual Conference and Expo in January. We will be able to present our Best Practice to attendees and share with them.

Our submission detailed how our upcoming Community Paramedics Program will allow us to continue to care for patients as they return to their homes and what our expected outcomes from doing so are.

I found out yesterday that our submission was selected to appear during the Member Showcase! The Community Paramedics Project is likely going to be my final project for my Residency and I’ve been spending more and more time learning about its development and have begun thinking of ideas of how I can help with calculating metrics to measure its success.

After spending a lot of time helping out with awards nominations for the program and sitting in on meetings helping to get the program started, I have become very excited about the program and about the impact it can have for community members. Needless to say I am thrilled that we were chosen! It will be a wonderful opportunity for the program’s representatives to share the thought process behind the program’s development and our initial outcomes.

The next step is for us to complete a separate submission to be included in the conference. I will be helping out with its development and am very excited to see it evolve! (And to see the program commence!)

Erin

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