Friday, September 23, 2011

It’s time to 'tune in' to annual CMN Hospitals Radiothon

Listen to the 2011 Radiothon to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth on Power 96.5, and be a part of making miracles happen on the medical mile.

The Power 96.5 team will broadcast live, play the area’s favorite music, and share stories and interviews with area families who have been helped by your generous donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

The event will air Thursday, Oct. 6, and Friday, Oct. 7, from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of CoxHealth is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance for sick and injured children living in the Ozarks. All proceeds benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ projects such as the C.A.R.E. Mobile, purchase medical equipment, provide financial assistance to children’s families and more. CoxHealth underwrites all administrative expenses of the charity locally, so that every dollar raised stays in our community and helps children. For more information on Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or to donate, visit

Working to move patients safely

John Schurke, environmental access specialist at Cox Home Support, and Mandy Young, clinical therapist educator in Educational Services, practice with one of the ceiling-mounted patient lifts that will be used during training. As part of the safe patient handling initiative, a number of ceiling lifts have been installed in patient rooms throughout Cox South and additional portable lifts that can help staff members move patients are now available. Home Support has long provided the devices for home use and leaders say having more lifts available in the hospital will reduce injuries for staff and be more comfortable for patients.

If there’s any doubt about how physically demanding providing care at the bedside can be, the national statistics make it clear: health care workers suffer more overexertion injuries than any other type of worker and they have, on average, 30 percent more lost work days due to injury than the general working population.

The biggest culprit leading to those injuries? Moving and transferring patients. Between assisting non-ambulatory patients and repositioning patients in their beds, a typical health care worker may lift a total of 1.8 tons during the course of an 8-hour shift. It’s a reality that has led CoxHealth to launch a safe patient handling initiative that kicks off this month, with education and the addition of several devices that will help make moving patients safer.

Norma Curry, director of Nursing, says the initiative is about changing the culture of how caregivers handle patients. The goal is to move away from manual lifting and toward the use of devices that are safer and more comfortable for both staff and patients.

“Current practice involves taking multiple staff members to the bedside to move or transfer a patient,” Curry says. “Too frequently, our staff members are being injured.”

Those injuries not only affect the individual staff members, they cost the organization in a number of ways, including time lost when employees must be off from work and the cost of providing medical care for injured employees. Nationally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is recommending that hospitals minimize manual lifting of patients and eliminate lifting altogether where possible. Nine states have passed legislation mandating safe patient handling programs and Missouri is expected to follow later this year.

To make the situation safer for staff and patients, CoxHealth has added a number of ceiling-mounted lifts, mobile devices and slide sheets that will help move patients. Education on the new devices will begin later this month.

“This approach is safer and more comfortable for patients,” Curry says. “It’s more comfortable to put them in one of these lifts or use slide sheets rather than lifting them under their arms.”
When the project is complete, every adult critical care bed will be equipped with a ceiling lift and nursing units will have a minimum of one room with a lift installed. Some units, such as the eighth floor, will have more lifts based on the need.

Nurse Sandi Brown has also joined CoxHealth as safe patient handling coordinator, Brown has worked in nursing for 37 years and has an extensive rehabilitation background as well as experience working with caregivers on the importance of proper body mechanics, safe lifting and the best ways to move patients.

“When you look at the number of injuries we see, we simply have to change our practice habits,” Brown says. “About 12 percent of the nursing work force nationally is affected with back injuries, that’s high in an area with a shortage of nurses.”

Jolene Palmquist, director of work injury in Rehab, says many injuries caregivers experience are the result of repeated movements, rather than a single incident. That’s why it’s so important to shift the culture of how patients are moved daily with the addition of simple devices such as slide sheets that will reduce the effort needed to adjust patients in their beds.

Ultimately, leaders agree that the changes proposed in the initiative are simply the right thing to do, both for employees and for patients.

“We’ve invested in it with the idea of keeping patients and employees safe,” Palmquist says. “That will lead to staff and patient satisfaction. When people are looking at hospitals of choice, they’ll be glad to know that CoxHealth has prioritized the safe handling of patients.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cox College enrollment up 23 percent

Student enrollment at Cox College has reached an all-time high, with 812 students enrolled during the fall semester. This is a 23 percent increase over the same semester last year, and an 84 percent increase over the fall semester in 2008.

“The numbers are up across both the nursing and health programs, with the most significant growth the in the Master of Science in nursing program,” says David Schoolfield, Cox College dean of enrollment management. “The demographics of our students are also changing as more students are seeking a second degree due to the economy.”

Cox College was founded in 1907. The college offers certificates in medical transcription, and medical billing and coding; Associate of Science degrees in radiography, medical assisting and nursing; a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree; a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship and a Master of Science in nursing degree.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Support drives healthy lifestyle changes

Since the rollout of the Employee Health Initiative this past January, a team of experts at CoxHealth — from Food and Nutrition Services and Wellness to the fitness center and Healthy Partners — has been focused on providing the resources to help employees get healthy.

As they work toward their wellness goals, the Support Your Lifestyle Shift support group has given employees a place to share experiences and get motivated about staying healthy.

“Most people know what they need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it,” says dietitian Jenny Gardner, who runs the support group. “That’s why the support, motivation and accountability factors are so important.”

The group meets every other week on Tuesdays at 11:30 (September dates are the 6th and the 20th). The half-hour sessions let employees come during lunch. Gardner shares recipes and answers any questions participants may have. The group is a regular source of encouragement and accountability, which Gardner says are keys for anyone wanting to make a change.

“We really want to offer the service of helping people change their lifestyle,” she says.

The benefits of that service are apparent when you meet a few of the employees who are taking advantage of what the group has to offer. Below are two stories of how our co-workers are getting healthier with the help of resources here at work.

Diane Flammini


When Diane Flammini joined the Wellness program at Cox in 2010, she says she was inspired by an upcoming change in her life: she was going to be a grandmother.

“I thought, in the shape I’m in, I won’t be able to get in the floor and play with a child,” she says. “I wanted to get some of the weight off.”

She started exercising 5-6 days a week and she soon lost a few pounds and a few inches, but she quickly became frustrated with her progress. She met with dietitian David Dade, who recommended that she change the way she was eating. He worked with her on creating a 1,300 calorie-a-day diet, which Diane started in January of 2011. Since then, the combination of diet and exercise has helped her shed more than 35 pounds.

Diane says to make the change, she wanted to take advantage of all of the programs Cox has to offer. That’s why she started going to the Shift Your Lifestyle support group. The low-calorie recipes and shopping tips were helpful and Diane used the meetings as her regular weigh-ins.

“I’m one of those people who hate the scale, but it was good to see that weight loss each time. It‘s a reality check every couple of weeks,” she says. “The other people there talked about the difficulties they were having and I could relate. It became a real support group.”

In her diet, cutting out sugar has been a major key. She’s also switched to eating more frequent, smaller meals consisting of vegetables, fruits and lean meats like fish.

Sticking to the low-calorie diet was a challenge at first, but Diane says she learned about what kinds of foods could keep her feeling full without being high-calorie. Now she prepares her own food and rarely eats out, which makes it easier to manage her food intake

“The first two weeks were the hardest,” she says. “I was always hungry, especially after I exercised. David (Dade) suggested I have a glass of chocolate milk after a workout and that really helped.”

After the first few weeks, she stopped craving sweets and she was able to clear out her cabinets at home, removing cookies and chips and adding healthier options. Now she’s eating well and doing regular resistance training and cardio training at the Meyer Center.

She says anyone wanting to make a real lifestyle change will need to make those changes a priority and part of their regular schedule. That’s where benefits like the support group are helpful.

“Employees are crazy not to take advantage of programs like this,” she says. “These programs are there and we should take advantage of them, it’s been good for me.”

Cortney Freeman

Corporate Integrity

Over the last several months, Cortney Freeman says the wellness support and resources offered at Cox have helped her make health and fitness a central part of her lifestyle. If you need any evidence, check out her office in Corporate Integrity, where her desk chair is relegated to a corner while she balances at her desk on an exercise ball.

Freeman says she wanted to work on being healthier and when she saw the announcement about the Shift Your Lifestyle support group, she thought it could be a perfect fit.

“I wanted to take advantage of the free expertise,” she says. And that’s exactly what she did, attending every meeting since day one. “You have access to a trained dietitian provided by Cox. I’d be crazy not to take advantage of that.”

She started going to the support group and she rejoined the Wellness program. When she started seeing results, her husband, Brandon, joined in, which provided another boost to her efforts.

“That really made a difference, when you change your lifestyle, it’s not just your life here at Cox, it’s your whole life,” Freeman says.

And it’s important to note that the programs and the support group aren’t just about losing weight. “I’ve changed my lifestyle, I’m not on a diet, there’s no end date and the only goal is being a healthier person.”

Freeman and her husband have a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old, and keeping up with the two of them has been a major motivation for her change.

“I want to be in a healthier place to play with them and show them a healthy relationship with food. Weight loss is just an extra benefit.”

Working with Gardner has given her new ideas that have kept her diet and exercise programs fresh. In the past, she says she’s been bored with eating a limited number of dishes.

“They introduce new concepts and recipes and just having someone there to answer questions is great,” Freeman says. At home, Cortney and Brandon are also exploring new food options, beyond the meat and potatoes they had eaten in the past, adding in plantains, mangoes, grilled vegetables and turkey burgers. “My husband can almost admit that he likes turkey burgers as well as beef.”

She says spending time with her co-workers in the support group has helped her maintain the perspective and mindset needed to continue her success.

“When you surround yourself with people who have the same goals and are striving toward a healthy lifestyle, you can learn from them,” she says. “When you pass them in the hall, you know that they’re having the same struggle you’re having. You’re not alone.”

Now, the Freemans have worked exercise into their lifestyle. During the summer, if they go to the pool, they ride their bikes instead of driving. They’ll walk to the park or go on bike rides at the Nature Center instead of watching TV.

“My 3 year old will say, ‘I need to go for a walk around the neighborhood, I need my exercise,” Freeman says. “That’s a payoff, just being able to show her a healthy lifestyle.”

Steve Edwards named CoxHealth CEO

Steven D. Edwards, 45, will assume the position of president and chief executive officer of CoxHealth following the December 2011 retirement of Robert H. Bezanson, CoxHealth’s board of directors announced today. Edwards’ appointment is consistent with the Board’s succession plan.

Edwards, who joined CoxHealth in 1992, has served as CoxHealth’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2007. Previous positions with CoxHealth include vice president of clinical services, senior vice president of Regional Services and senior vice president and administrator of Cox Hospitals. Prior to joining CoxHealth, Edwards was assistant to the chief operating officer at Baylor University Medical Center and evening administrator at Barnes Hospital (BJC) in St. Louis.

“Steve has clearly demonstrated his integrity and leadership as part of the executive management team at CoxHealth,” said Larry W. Lipscomb, board chairman. “His compassion for our patients and commitment to the health of our community will provide the leadership and vision required for the future.”

Edwards attained his Bachelor of Science from Drury University, and his Masters of Health Administration from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He completed his post graduate fellowship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

“Thousands of people before me have made CoxHealth their life’s work,” said Edwards. “I am determined to serve this tremendous heritage with every fiber of my being. There is no place on earth I would rather be than Springfield, Missouri, and no organization I would rather serve than CoxHealth. I am overcome with a sense of duty and humility.”

CoxHealth is a top 100 integrated health care system, six years running, and the only locally governed not-for-profit health care system based in Springfield, Missouri.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

‘Magical’ event to raise funds for CMN Hospitals

CoxHealth Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will host a ‘magical’ black tie event to raise funds for the organization.

“Masquerade for Miracles” will feature dinner, beer from Mother’s Brewery, music, a silent auction, magic by Amberg Entertainment and featured entertainment the Jecobie Robert’s Comedy Hypnosis Show. Emceed by KY3’s Lisa Rose, the event will be held 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 24, at The Veridian, 309 S. Ave., in Springfield.

Event tickets are $60 per person, $100 per couple or $500 for a table of ten. Tickets are limited and expected to sell quickly. For tickets and additional information, contact CoxHealth Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at 269-6853. This event is sponsored in part by The Veridian, Liberty Bank, Reliable Imports and RV, Gracie’s Bridal, Scentsy and ViVo Modern Hair Design.

CoxHealth underwrites all administrative expenses of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals locally, so that every dollar raised stays in our community and helps children. For more information on Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or to donate, visit or call 417/269-KIDS.

Learn healthy recipes at Cooking School

Many people want to eat more healthfully, but aren’t sure how to do it. Often, they’re afraid that healthy food will be tasteless and boring. But nothing could be further from the truth, and the nutrition experts at CoxHealth will prove it at the new CoxHealth Cooking School.

Held the second Tuesday of every month, CoxHealth Cooking School will feature seasonal, healthy recipes that you’ll learn how to prepare and be able to sample. Our dietitians can also answer your questions about healthy eating.

Upcoming topics include:

• Sept. 13: Go Greek – Get the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet.
• Oct. 11: Harvest Good Health – Learn recipes such as Butternut Squash and Pear Soup, Spicy Spaghetti with Ground Turkey, and Pumpkin Honey Parfait with Greek Yogurt.
• Nov. 8: Healthy Holiday Cooking – Watch our experts prepare Sweet Potato Pie, Cranberry Salad and Mushroom Alfredo Halibut.
• Dec. 13: Gifts from the Kitchen – Discover recipes for Honey Walnut Granola, Soup Mix, and Hot Cocoa or other drink mix.

The Cooking School will be held in the CoxHealth Diabetes Center classroom inside the CoxHealth Surgery Center, 960 E. Walnut Lawn, in Springfield. There is a $5 per person fee to attend. Call 269-INFO to register or for more information.