SVHC Honors the SVMC ICU Team with DAISY Team Award

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Left to right: Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC); Colleen Doyle, RN; Eva Sagan RN; Mindy Dame MSN RN, director of ICU and Women’s and Children’s Services; Kelly Whitman, LNA; Alex Cross LNA; Emily Mallory, MSN, RN, CCR; Adrienne Gigliotti, BSN, RN, CCRN; and Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, SVHC’s chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services.
BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), was the recipient of the DAISY Team Award for Extraordinary Nurses in May. 
 
The department was nominated in a heartfelt message from a patient recovering from an overdose.
 
The nominator wrote, "I would just like to sincerely thank all the staff on the floor for taking the best possible care of me. Each nurse and LNA showed me so much empathy and gratitude, love, and respect. Each nurse had so much to bring to the table and, in combination, gave me the best care I've ever had. [It was] a judgement-free zone, where I didn't feel condemned or belittled for my illness. Thank you all for your hard work, compassion, and dedication. I wouldn't be able to make it through all of this without each and every one of you."
 
Duchene presented the award during a surprise presentation in the ICU last month.
 
"This nomination brings tears to my eyes," said Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, SVHC's chief nursing officer and vice president for Patient Care Services. "Our ICU nurses know that medicine saves bodies but, in many situations, it's kindness that saves lives. I am inspired by their heroic life-saving work."
 
The ICU Department is made up of 25 full- and part-time staff members. Together with medical staff, they offer intensive care to as many as 10 patients at a time.
 
"I am grateful to have a team that is genuinely compassionate and empathetic to all patients," said Mindy Dame MSN RN, the department's director. "It is an honor to care for the patients in our community with kindness and to be able to witness the difference it makes for them and their families."
 
The DAISY Award is part of a national merit-based recognition program established by the DAISY Foundation. It celebrates nurses' education, training, and skill. Nominations can be submitted by patients, families, physicians, and colleagues. All nominations are blinded, so that they are anonymous before being reviewed by a selection committee. One nurse is then chosen as the DAISY Award winner. DAISY Awards are presented on a regular basis, usually bi-monthly or quarterly.
 

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SVMC: Update on Monkeypox

By Dr. Marie GeorgeGuest Column

BENNINGTON, Vt. -- At the beginning of June, when the first cases of monkeypox were being reported in the United States, I wrote an article about the top 10 things to know

While much of the information I shared before is still relevant, cases in the United States are now in the thousands, rather than the hundreds. The infection reached Vermont last week. And this week, the United States declared it a health emergency, which will open access to resources to help quell the spread. It's time for an update. Here's what you need to know now.

What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox, only much less severe. While it is a serious health issue, it is not typically deadly or debilitating long term. It can be more serious for immune-compromised people, those who are pregnant, and children under age 8.

Where did it come from?
Monkeypox is not new. It was discovered in monkeys in 1958 and for the first time in humans in the 1970s. It has been endemic in some African countries since then. Only recently has the virus spread to countries around the world.

How does it spread?
The virus spreads through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing, bedding, or utensils) that have been contaminated with fluids from sores of a person with monkeypox. Monkeypox virus also spreads during sexual contact with an infected person and may spread between people through respiratory droplets. Scientists are evaluating data to learn more about other ways monkeypox may spread.

Currently, the virus is spreading predominantly among men who have sex with other men. Because it spreads through skin-to-skin contact, droplets, and potentially other ways, it is not considered a sexually transmitted infection.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a characteristic blister-like rash on the face and body. Some people also report headache, back pain, muscle aches, or fatigue.

What should I do if I think I might have monkeypox?
If you have an unexplained rash or sores on your skin, call your healthcare provider. Also call your healthcare provider if you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox. If you don't have a healthcare provider or insurance, call 211 to be connected to healthcare services.

What will happen next?
Your healthcare provider will determine if you have monkeypox or if you have been exposed.

  1. Healthy people who are determined to have monkeypox will be asked to isolate from other people and animals until symptoms have resolved and the sores have healed. The virus is self-limiting, which means it resolves on its own, usually within two to four weeks.  
  2. An antiviral medication is available for those who have monkeypox and who are at high risk for a serious case. It comes with serious side effects, so it is not recommended for anyone except those at greatest risk for serious illness.
  3. Those who are exposed but who have no symptoms will be given a two-dose vaccine for smallpox. While monkeypox and smallpox are not the same, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to prevent symptoms in those exposed to monkeypox.
  4. Those 55 and older may have received a smallpox vaccine during vaccination efforts that eradicated the disease and mayaccording to some studies, have partial immunity to monkeypox, though the immunity can be widely variable person to person. One study showed that the smallpox vaccine prevented severe symptoms, but did not prevent symptoms entirely, in those vaccinated years or even decades earlier.

Should I get vaccinated for monkeypox?
Not yet. The state of Vermont and SVMC are working on getting the vaccine to patients who have been exposed, because being vaccinated after an exposure can prevent symptoms. As supply increases, we look forward to providing smallpox vaccines to more people.

Right now, medical professionals locally and statewide are working to develop screening, treatment, and vaccine processes for monkeypox. We hope that this work, federal funding and support, and public awareness will keep this monkeypox outbreak small. We have every expectation that it will.

For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health website about monkeypox. If you have other questions about monkeypox, email them to wellness@svhealthcare.orgWe will answer them in an upcoming edition of our weekly e-newsletter.

Dr. Marie George is an infectious disease specialist at SVMC Infectious Disease, part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and Southwestern Vermont Health Care, in Bennington. 

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