SAMMY awards recognize employees who consistently demonstrate excellence at SAMC. The SAMMY serves as our employee recognition program and is held annually at the Dothan Civic Center. The winter 2013 nominations for the award were announced in January.
Natalie Leighty, Radiation Oncology
Natalie is a compassionate nurse who after accepting the new position of research nurse at Southeast Cancer Center, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
As a patient and nurse, she made it her mission to make sure every patient she worked with knew that someone shared their plight. She shared her story, becoming the inspiration many cancer patients need. After undergoing chemotherapy, Natalie started giving Hallmark cards to all those who needed a pick-me-up. She spoke directly to one patient who wanted to discontinue treatment, convincing her to change her mind.
Because of her own personal struggles, Natalie is a powerful voice for SAMC's cancer care program.
Cheryl Holland, Anesthesia
Cheryl approached her supervisor one day thinking she was in trouble. She confessed that she had given money to a dialysis patient who had come to surgery to declot a graft. Cheryl was the patient's nurse anesthetist and learned he did not have the money to buy gas to get to the dialysis clinic. Cheryl was worried that her selfless act of caring and compassion would get her in trouble.
Instead, it makes those who work with her very proud. Cheryl has continued to further her education from RN to nurse practitioner to CRNA. She also mentors other CRNA students and is always quick to work holidays so fellow team members can be home with their small children.
Victoria March, Behavioral Health Services
Victoria has significant medical problems yet she is patient and compassionate on the job. As a technician, Victoria sometimes must deal with difficult patients. She always approaches them with kindness and respect.
She is also a positive role model in the community. She is the neighborhood mom who takes care of other children, making sure they have a ride to their after school activities. She opens her home to these children on the weekends and gives them fresh-baked cookies and other treats. She brings canned goods to SAMC and puts it in the lounge for anyone who needs food.
She also supplies helpful items for patients who have no family members.
New carpet measures movement
The Neuromuscular and Balance Center has a new 16-foot electronic walkway that helps analyze a patient's gait or the movement of limbs when they walk.
The GAITRite System measures timing and distance of footprints to identify abnormal gait patterns that can suggest problems in walking. A normal gait pattern is essential for maintaining independence and preventing falls in older adults.
The Center, located inside Rehab Services, is the first physical therapy facility in the state to acquire this unique system used to compare gait before and after therapy.
"For many patients, it is an awareness," said Victoria Light-Whitehead of GAITRite Systems. "This technology helps us give them an ambulation score that helps us justify treatment and allows the patient to set a goal."
The electronic pathway contains more than 13,000 sensors that capture every footfall in real time on any computer. The system uses software that allows for multiple reports and analyses. The data is valuable in assessing patients with Parkinson's disease, a brain tumor, spinal cord injury and more. When patients undergo therapy to improve balance and walking, it decreases their risk of falls.
For more information on the services offered by the Neuromuscular and Balance Center, call Erin Keefer in Rehab Services at 334-793-8961.
Delta Group Gives SAMC High Marks
It's great when an acclaimed independent ratings group recognizes you as the best.
CareChex®, an innovative medical quality rating system designed to improve and promote the quality of inpatient care, has rated SAMC among the Top 10 percent in the nation for 2012 in patient safety in:
• Overall hospital care
• Overall surgical care
• Cancer care
• Cardiac care
• Major cardiac surgery
• Heart attack treatment
• Interventional coronary care
• Stroke care
• Vascular surgery
• Women's health
• Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
SAMC ranked number one in the state for patient safety in heart attack treatment and vascular surgery.
"Southeast Alabama Medical Center continually sets the standard in patient safety," said CEO Ronald S. Owen. "We have quality measures and standards in place to ensure our patients have the best outcomes. Utilizing the latest technology like electronic medical records, continued training of our staff and utilizing evidence-based best practices throughout the patient care process, contribute to our culture of safety.
"Quality measures and safety initiatives are embraced by our staff. As the largest hospital in the region, we realize ours is an awesome responsibility."
SAMC also ranked in the Top 10 percent in the state in patient safety in orthopedic care and major orthopedic surgery.
We received Top 10 percent in the state for medical excellence in the areas of heart attack treatment and major cardiac surgery.
"We are pleased to acknowledge that Southeast Alabama Medical Center has achieved an exceptionally high level of performance, especially in the area of patient safety. Southeast Alabama Medical Center is a benchmark that other hospitals should seek to emulate," said Dr. Thane Forthman, managing principal at The Delta Company.
CareChex® is a service of The Delta Group, the nation's largest privately-held healthcare information service company, and provides clinical, financial, and patient satisfaction findings to consumers, providers, and purchasers of U.S. medical care. Unlike other publicly available hospital quality ratings, CareChex provides a composite evaluation of all components of medical quality including process of care, outcomes of care, and patient experiences.