The Story Behind the Success of Palliative Care Scholar Program


Alicia Wierenga, NP, and Jessica Roy, RN, are part of our Palliative Care Scholar Program.

The Jewell Palliative Care Scholar Program, which helps fortify end-of-life care at our Medical Center, has graduated its second class. Read the Telegram & Gazette’s Sunday’s front page story and learn about how a family’s painful experience losing a loved one led to developing the program. A total of 22 caregivers were a part of the latest cohort including nurses from 8 West where the unit’s nurse manager, Alicia Wierenga, MSN, NP,  has been a catalyst in establishing the program. “What struck me was how, we as nurses, have so many tasks to accomplish, we sometimes forget to be present with the patient. By not improving that, we’ll lose that art of nursing,” Wierenga said.

Our Team Nationally Recognized for Advances in Rectal Cancer

Dr. Maykel (Telegram & Gazette photo)

Our Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery is recognized as the first United States center to participate in an international trial examining how transanal total mesorectal excision (taTME) benefits patients with rectal cancer. Division Chief Justin Maykel, MD, has championed the surgical procedure and is in demand nationwide as a teacher of the taTME technique (see video). He was co-director of the first taTME instructional course at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, and served as an instructor for a course sponsored by Florida hospitals. Surgeons travel to our Medical Center to observe our surgical teams operating, and Dr. Maykel and Karim Alavi, MD, MPH, also travel to proctor surgeons learning the technique. Read Telegram & Gazette story.

This Week We Recognize Our Emergency Medical Services

Have you noticed our Emergency Medical Services team is getting a little extra attention these days? That’s because it’s National EMS Week, a time to recognize and celebrate the men and women who are out in the community every day making sure patients get medical assistance when they need it most. Pay close attention to our Medical Center’s Facebook page for daily photos, videos and posts that highlight the dedicated work of our UMass Memorial EMS team. “People don’t always realize the dangerous situation our paramedics face while they are on the job, as well as the breadth of services that we provide to the community. EMS Week is a great opportunity to acknowledge and thank these brave men and women,” said Mike Hunter, deputy chief, EMS. Check out the latest coverage on Charter TV 3.

Save the Date: Annual Levine Symposium Is Thursday, June 15

The 2017 Peter H. Levine Quality and Patient Safety Symposium is Thursday, June 15, Faculty Conference Room, University Campus, 8 am to 1 pm. The event will feature:

  • Remarks by Medical Center leaders Steve Tosi, MD, chief physician executive, and Mitch Gitkind, MD, associate chief medical officer
  • A keynote presentation by Alicia Wierenga, MSN, NP, on her work to improve patient experience
  • Rapid-fire presentations by graduates of our Quality Scholars and Lean Black Belt programs
  • Project posters outlining completed or ongoing quality improvement projects

CME credits are available for physicians and CEU credits for nurses. If you would like to attend the Levine Symposium, please RSVP to levinesymposium@umassmemorial.org by June 1. If you have questions about the event or would like to display a quality improvement poster, please email Lindsay Knight. Download the event flyer.

Tools to Ensure You’re Ready for the Joint Commission Survey

Talia LaPointe, project manager, pictured left, with Joint Commission posters and Survey Readiness booklets, above.

Are you ready for the upcoming Joint Commission survey? Subject matter experts from across the Medical Center and the Regulatory and Public Reporting Department worked together as a team to create educational materials to prepare staff for the upcoming Joint Commission survey. Visit the education tools section on the SafeCare page on OurNet for resources to help you prepare:

For additional copies of the Joint Commission posters or readiness booklets, email Talia LaPointe.

Remember ‘BE FAST’ in Recognition of National Stroke Month

Time is critical when a patient or loved one is having a stroke, which is why it’s important to recognizing the symptoms. BE FAST is an easy acronym to help one recognize the symptoms of stroke. It stands for: balance, eyes, face, arms, speech and time. Download this flyer to become familiar with the symptoms, and share this important information with others. Visit Mary Rucho, RN, NP, at an informational table on stroke awareness May 24 and 31, University Campus, near the gift shop. And remember, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Calendar of Events

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