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Diversity Committee Given National Spotlight as AHA Case Study

Congratulations to members of Renown’s Diversity Committee. Their work has been spotlighted by the American Hospital Association (AHA) as part of a case study featured on the AHA’s Equity of Care website.

The AHA’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management singled out the group’s Diversity Day events (as shown above), sponsorship and support of local diversity groups, and its support of Eddy House, a center for homeless youth in northern Nevada.  It also outlined the group’s focus areas of increasing the collection of diversity data for the health network, cultural competency training and diversity in leadership and governance.

The case study can be found on the Equity of Care website.

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Earn Up to $100 for Participating in Local Runs, Walks or Athletic Events

Dozens of employees are inspiring health by taking to the streets and walking or running, which keeps them healthy and at times does something for the community. Now, Renown Health wants to encourage this by offering employees up to $100 in reimbursed entry fees for local athletic events such as runs or walks.

Employees who have signed up for a race, walk, biking event, triathlon or other individual athletic event on or after April 1 can qualify for the reimbursement. Basically, it is for any competition that is going to make you healthier!

There is a limited source of funds for reimbursement that will be processed on a first come, first served basis. You can only apply for reimbursement one time. You will also need to have an electronic version of your event fee receipt to complete the form.

To submit for a reimbursement, go to the form on Inside Renown. After you submit your form, you will receive a confirmation email, which you can use to get a free “Team Renown” t-shirt from The Logo Shop at The Shops at Renown. You can wear the Team Renown shirt at the race and also use the #renownlife hashtag when you post your race-day photos on social media.

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National Time Out Day: How Renown Employees Can Be Super Heroes for Patients

Care team members from surgical services in the Tahoe Tower celebrate National Time Out Day on June 14. 

Renown employees celebrated National Time Out Day on June 14. It was a time to recognize some simple procedures that surgical nurses do as part of a “time out” before procedures, all to ensure patient safety.

The day itself is a partnership between The Joint Commission and the Association of Peri-Operative Registered Nurses (AORN). This year’s theme was “Be a Super Hero: Take Time Out for Every Patient, Every Time.” To that end, both groups have turned SUPER HERO into an acronym to help nurses, and all clinical healthcare workers, remember the nine elements of a safety culture that can come into play while a patient receives surgery.

At Renown Health, Elizabeth Mead, RN, Administrator of Surgical Services, explains that a time out is a pause taken before the surgery begins for everybody in the operating room to double check all tasks and processes have occurred one last time before the procedure begins. A time out is used to ensure patient safety and avoid a surgical event. Last fall, surgical services began using the World Health Organization’s surgical safety checklist which includes three time outs:

  1. The pre-op time out: Before the patient leaves for the operating room making sure all paperwork is signed and in order, that the surgeon and anesthesiologist have had a chance to see patient and contents are in order, that the patient is properly marked and all questions have been answered.
  2. The pre-surgical time out: The team pauses before the procedure begins in the operating room
  3. The post-op time out: Before the patient leaves the operating room for the recovery room once a procedure is complete. This allows for a check to make sure specimens and labeled correctly and everything is accounted for.

Most recently, employees in Surgical Services now give the patients their own safety checklist allowing them to be a part of the process and as a way to empower the patient to participate in their own safety.

“Before, the safety checklist was performed only by the care team, but now we also include the patient in the safety process empowering them to stop the line if they recognize a problem or if we haven’t completed a checklist item,” Mead explains. “Patients check off things such as ‘I’ve been seen by my Surgeon and all my questions have been answered’ and ‘an OR nurse and a Pre-Op nurse together discussed my care with me before I left for the operating room.'” View the checklist here​. ​

Mead also explains she has received positive feedback about the patient safety checklist from the patients and care team.

“In addition to the positive patient feedback, it has been well received by the care team members too because we are all consumers of healthcare and it is nice to know if we, or our families, are ever patients this level of safety is taking place for us as well,” she said. “This checklist gives the patient permission to stop the line for any reason if they feel that something still needs to be addressed.  This process really takes patient safety to the next level.”

Because of this laser focus on time outs, safety check list and empowering the patient in the in the process, surgical services is coming up on a year without a surgical event.

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Patients, Visitors Enjoying Relaxing New C.A.R.E. Channel

The C.A.R.E. Channel, the premier relaxation programming for healthcare settings, is now live across the health network by selecting channel 84 on Renown TVs. This includes inpatient locations at Renown Regional Medical Center, Renown South Meadows Medical Center, Renown Skilled Nursing and Renown Rehabilitation Hospital as well as Renown urgent care and medical group lobbies.

C.A.R.E. stands for Continuous Ambient Relaxation Environment. Lorna Tirman, Director of Service Excellence, is excited to have the C.A.R.E. Channel live throughout Renown. “The features this channel offers are designed to help improve patient experience and create a healing environment for patients, families, and employees,” Tirman said.

The C.A.R.E Channel is a therapeutic tool that reduces anxiety, alleviates pain, assists with sleep and restfulness, and minimizes the harmful effects of noise. It includes stunning nature video imagery and soothing instrumental music that helps calm and relax people of all ages and health concerns. It helps to create a more peaceful environment for recovery and healing.

Additional benefits of the C.A.R.E Channel include:
• A daytime program featuring beautiful nature imagery and original instrumental music
• An overnight program (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.) featuring a star-filled night sky, supporting patients’ circadian rhythms and helping them to sleep

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Renown Rehabilitation Hospital’s Patient Outcomes Exceed National Targets

Renown Rehabilitation Hospital continues to have high outcomes for the more than 800 patients it serves every year. Patients, who most commonly are admitted for stroke, orthopedic conditions, brain injury, spinal cord injury and neurological conditions, leave with a higher level of functionality and independence. This promotes their success after discharge and lowers risk for readmission.

This year’s Outcomes book highlights some of the impressive statistics, including:

  • Average length of stay: 17 days
  • Patients discharged to home: 74 percent
  • Average Functional Independence Measurement increase: 25 points (measures patient’s ability to perform daily activities and move independently)

Danette Gaetke, Rehab Program Coordinator, says the source of all successes at the Rehabilitation Hospital is the interdisciplinary team’s collaboration every day.

“Everything is about the patient and the team working together to meet the needs of the patient,” she said. “We are always adjusting and adapting to help the patient meet their goals. Every day is different; every patient is unique.”

At the Rehabilitation Hospital, patients are scheduled for multiple sessions throughout the week with Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists. Yet even when a patient is not in an official therapy session, the rehabilitation nurse team reinforces what happens in therapy by using daily activities, such as mealtimes and self-care activities, as opportunities to practice these strategies throughout the day.

The 24-hour rehabilitation nursing care promotes development of skills, strength and endurance.  Constant repetition and coaching through daily activities strengthens the patient and increases their ability to be successful at home.

One tool that has helped the interdisciplinary team’s communication is a custom sidebar summary in EPIC, which allows team members to decrease the time to review a patient’s chart from 5-10 minutes to under five minutes. This tool was built to meet their needs by providing one source of information, including last entries of vital signs and access to latest notes from the physicians, nurses and case managers with one click.

Click here to read the latest information on Rehabilitation Hospital outcomes. For more information on the Rehabilitation Hospital, visit their website.

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Renown South Meadows Named to Becker’s Prestigious “100” List

Congratulations to employees at Renown South Meadows Medical Center.  The hospital has been chosen as one of the 100 Great Community Hospitals by national health magazine Becker’s Hospital Review.

The hospitals included on this list are recognized for quality, patient satisfaction and overall excellence. Renown South Meadows was noted specifically for its chest pain and heart and vascular care, its critical care unit and the Monaco Ridge assisted living facility.

The Becker’s editorial team selected hospitals for inclusion based on analysis of key awards, rankings and certifications in addition to the hospital’s reputation for leadership and innovation.

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Renown Volunteers Help at Special Olympics Summer Games

UPDATE 6/19/2017: Pictured above are many of the Renown volunteers for the Northern Nevada Special Olympics. Renown had about 35 volunteers for the games’ Healthy Athletes Screenings. Thanks to these great volunteers — we could not have accomplished this without you!


A great opportunity to give back to the community and help support the people we serve is available this summer. As the main sponsor of the Northern Nevada Special Olympics, Renown Health and Hometown Health employees can volunteer their time and expertise as part of the event’s health screenings.

Sign-ups are through the VolunteerMatch website: just search for “Special Olympics” near Reno to call up the right entry for registration.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries.

“Volunteers are the only way these events and successes can happen and are the key to being able to provide these valuable screenings,” said Lynice Anderson, Director of Intensive Care Rehab at Renown and the Director of Health Promotion for the Northern Nevada Special Olympics.

The biggest need is for the Summer Games, taking place on Saturday, June 10. This is the largest Special Olympics event, with 280 athletes expected. The screenings take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10 at the Boys and Girls Club on Foster Drive, across from Reno High School track.

Anderson and the Special Olympics are looking for these types of employees:

  • Registered Nurses, nursing or clinical medical students, or Medical Assistants for blood pressue and height/weight/BMI screenings
  • Physical Therapists for physical activity screenings
  • Registered Dietitians for Healthy Bones and Nutrition Education screenings, or for height/weight/BMI screenings
  • Any non-clinical volunteers for the remaining screenings


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What You Need to Know About Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants

Having a primary care provider is important. But does that provider need to be a doctor? And what if your doctor doesn’t have immediate availability when you need it? We’re here to explain the differences between a doctor, an advanced nurse practitioner (APRN) and physician assistant (PA).

Have you ever called Renown Health to schedule an appointment with your doctor and the customer service rep offered you an earlier appointment with an advanced nurse practitioner or physician assistant? Did you wonder why? Perhaps you even declined because you were concerned about the continuity in your care, or wondered about the qualifications of the other practitioners who aren’t doctors. We’re here to set the record straight and answer your important questions about primary care providers.

Why would I want to see anyone other than my primary care doctor?

In order to keep up with demand for primary care services and provide the highest quality care possible, Renown created care teams. This means that our doctors, advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants all work hand-in-hand to manage your health with the benefit of their combined expertise. This team approach provides you with more flexible scheduling options to see anyone on the care team, all with the same continuity of care.

How qualified are nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat patients?

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are highly educated in medicine with a minimum of a master of science degree and at least six years post-high school education.

Some nurse practitioners even have doctorate degrees. Similar to doctors, both positions have a minimum number of required clinic hours and participate in continued education.

Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are just as qualified as doctors (MDs and DOs) to conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, write prescriptions and even deliver babies. Instances where you would need a doctor include specialized treatment of complicated or high risk conditions or surgery, and your APRN or PA will refer you to a doctor in those instances. You don’t need to worry about whom to see when — the care team will guide you based on your medical needs.

If I see an APRN or PA, will my doctor know about my visit?

Absolutely. The care team system ensures that everyone on the care team, regardless of who you’re seeing, is aware of the details of your visit. Everything is clearly documented in your medical record so there are no gaps in care between visits.

Can an APRN or PA be my primary care provider?

Definitely. APRNs and PAs make excellent primary care providers and can be established as such with your insurance company.

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our care team members, call Renown Medical Group at 775-982-5000.

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Generational Gaps, Nursing Burnout Among Topics at Annual Pathway to Excellence Conference

Seven RNs from Renown Health attended the annual Pathway to Excellence Conference in Dallas. Attends listened to several presentations on topics of importance to today’s nursing practice such as preventing burnout, standardizing bedside report and generational gaps.

Seven Registered Nurses from Renown Health attended the annual Pathway to Excellence Conference held in Dallas Texas the end of April. The conference, titled “Building Bridges. Transforming Care,” allows for nurse to take part in targeted discussions and networking opportunities that provide new ideas and strategies to create a positive practice environment.

Michelle Dix, RN, Med-Tele, Renown South Meadows, was one of the RNs who attended the conference. She noted how she gained the most from presentations on things that are have an impact on nursing practice like generational gaps and burnout. Below is a recap of the event from Michelle:

“Some of the best sessions included keynote speakers like Dr. Steve Bedwell with his presentation, “How to Miss the Obvious, Stress Yourself Out and Get Nothing Done!”, and Kristine Sexter with “Instead of Money, Can I Get a Day Off ? … And Other Generational Differences in the Workplace.” Both of these speakers in particular were very dynamic and funny, and really hit home with how burnout and generational gaps can impact our nursing practice.

Each day we would break out and attend individual concurrent sessions with presentations that included:

  • “Impact of Nursing Burnout on Patient Care and How it is Preventable”
  • “Engaging and Catalyzing Emerging Leaders: Crossing the Bridge from Bedside Leader”
  • “Killing It from the Podium: Advanced Presentation Skills for Nurses and Educators”
  • “Effects of the Reduction of Nurse-to-Patient Ratio in Providing Safe, High-Quality Patient Care”
  • “Standardizing Bedside Report–A Remedy to the Missed Nursing Care Model”

There were also poster presentations done by nurses from all over the country and the world. After the sessions we came together to share info and brainstorm. We can use these ideas and information to continue the positive work environment here where nurse retention is high and nurses feel empowered and can thrive and grow. Our designation shows that Renown is an excellent place to work where nursing input and contributions are valued. It also shows our community that Renown is committed to safe, quality patient care.”

In addition to Michelle, other Renown Health attendees included:

Erin VanKirk
Poeth Kilonzo
Kelli McDonnell
Katie Jenkins
Luz Rodriquez
Tina Goswick
Michelle Dix

Renown Regional Medical Center and Renown South Meadows Medical Center are the only two hospitals in Nevada to hold a Pathway to Excellence Designation – a designation both locations have held since 2012.

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Renown South Meadows ER First in Northern Nevada Using New Technology

Renown South Meadows Medical Center’s ER is the first in northern Nevada to use the Medtronic Device – a device that allows RNs to get information to ER physicians within minutes related to certain pacemaker devices.

Renown South Meadows Medical Center is the first hospital in northern Nevada to use the Medtronic Device – a device that allows RNs to get information to ER physicians within minutes related to certain pacemaker devices.

“This is advanced technology for our patient population,” says Janet Lake, BSN, RN, Nurse Educator, ER, Renown South Meadows. “And it’s very user friendly for our employees to use.”

So how does it work? When a patient comes into the ER and an RN needs to read the data off their pacemaker they get the Medtronic device – a computer mouse-looking device that reads certain pacemakers and the iPad where the app lives that helps generate the report. From there the RN uses the mouse, which is Bluetooth enabled, to locate the pacemaker and the mouse reads the device. That data is automatically uploaded into the system to Medtronic. From there a fax report is made of the pacemaker data and sent back to Renown and the cardiologist.

“One of the best features of this device is we don’t have to wait for a person to come and scan and make a report,” says Jenn Allen, RN, Manager of Nursing, ER, Renown South Meadows. “The report is generated automatically via the app.”

Both Jenn and Janet worked closely with Renown’s IT department to get this app installed on their existing hospital iPads. Renown South Meadows has one mouse and two capable iPads which are also used around the hospital for translation.

“We did training in the ER for the RNs and Janet, with the help of the Medtronic rep, set up training and in service classes as well.”