A recent Northern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors meeting saw the educational achievements of four employees highlighted.
Two NIHD team members have earned certifications that will help patients who are fighting cancer, and two nurses received their Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing while improving patient care processes within the hospital.
Monica Jones, an Occupational Therapist with NIHD’s Rehabilitative Services, recently received certification as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT), and NIHD Patient Navigator Rosie Graves earned certification as a Certified Navigator–Breast Advocate (CN-BA). Both certifications required intensive hours of study outside of their regular NIHD duties.
In her work at NIHD, Monica Jones can provide education about and therapy treatments for lymphedema, which is the collection of fluid in arms and legs.
In breast cancer patients, lymphedema can occur when lymph nodes are damaged or removed.
“Here at NIHD I can talk with cancer patients before surgery and provide them with information and light compression to wear following surgery,” explained Jones. “We talk about what to look for with infection, healthy eating, decongestive exercises and signs to look for following surgery that may indicate the onset of lymphedema.”
Jones pointed out that she can help people in all stages of lymphedema that resulted from previous cancer treatments and surgeries, as well as those who have developed lymphedema secondary to other disease processes, genetics or trauma.
For Patient Navigator Rosie Graves, certification formalizes her passion for guiding breast cancer patients through their imaging and cancer care and treatment. Graves, who began navigating at NIHD last summer, earned her certification through the National Consortium of Breast Centers.
“I want to make a difference in the lives of local women diagnosed with breast cancer,” Graves said. “I want to help patients get timely and efficient breast cancer care; overcome any barriers they may encounter; and most of all, I want these women to know I am in their corner for this fight.”
As the Patient Navigator, Graves coordinates diagnostic testing and follow-up appointments with both local and long distance facilities. She also provides information and support that allows patients to make informed decisions about their care. She gives patients and their families’ connections to the community resources they may need to understand and cope with this disease.
NIHD Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Aspel proudly told the NIHD board that in the last month Case Manager Melanie Fox and Night Supervisor Lisa McAdam completed course study for Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.
Like many of the NIHD staff, Fox and McAdam continued their education while working full-time jobs. Aspel said the healthcare district has several nurses pursuing BSN degrees, allowing them to advance from associate degree Registered Nurses.
“We are encouraging that growth and supporting these candidates on the way,” Aspel said. “They have been doing some interesting capstone, or final, research projects. Melanie did a study of available community services which will tie into her job role and help our Case Management team to do a better transition of care for patients leaving the hospital and returning home or going into other facilities.”
Aspel said McAdam’s capstone project focused on patient flow for same-day surgeries. “Lisa’s capstone allows us to start a process where we can work with our patients and physician offices as they plan surgeries, ensuring that we get the necessary patient education to support them through the surgery process, through recovery and back home again,” Aspel said. “We think both projects will benefit our patients and our community, so we are very proud of these nurses.”
Northern Inyo Healthcare District employees dug into the pockets of their jeans on Denim Day and raised money for Wild Iris Family Counseling & Crisis Center.
This year, the employees of NIHD responded to a challenge to donate $2 for Wild Iris if they chose to wear jeans on Denim Day. Many of the NIHD team members donated above and beyond the $2 minimum. In total the employees of NIHD are proud to have been able to raise $250 to donate to Wild Iris.
Dr. Flanigan noted that once again the team has risen to the occasion to help those members of our communities who need support. In an interview just after the announcement of the total monies raised he said, “it should not surprise me that the NIHD team would be so successful. However, I did not see this generosity coming as the challenge was not issued until the day before. This speaks volumes to the NIHD team members who are all dedicated to improving our communities, one life at a time.”
Denim Day is an annual event which encourages people to wear jeans (denim) in order to raise awareness of sexual assault. Each year Wild Iris coordinates the local effort to wear denim.