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past issues

 Published monthly for CC employees by Clinical Center Communications

June 1998


New way to echo

MIS to improve


Health Fair

Nursing awards

Lux for life

News briefs



Silenced Beeps

As millions of pager customers lost service last month due to a satellite problem, most CC staff suffered no interruption in their service thanks to the in-house 104-pagers. The in-house pager system does not rely on the $250 million satellite to relay messages. Unfortunately, numerous non-medical staff who use paging companies from outside the CC had little or no service for up to several days.

Joy Laurienzo, R.N., performs an echocardiogram on a patient. Echocardiograms are painless, noninvasive tests that use soundwaves to identify abnormalities of the heart muscle and valves. Laurienzo coordinates the NHLBI echocardiography lab and is one of four registered-nurse sonographers who staff it.



New echocardiography procedures go into effect next month

Beginning July 6, changes will take place in the way echocardiograms (echoes) are scheduled and reported in the Clinical Center.

"All the echocardiography services for the hospital will now be coordinated by the echocardiography laboratory of the NHLBI," according to Dr. Julio Panza, lab director.

"Until now, the NHLBI echo lab was only responsible for the echocardiograms in cardiology branch patients," said Dr. Panza. "Studies in all other patients were performed by the Consult Service of the Clinical Center."

Now, all inpatients who need echoes will have them done in the 7-West Echo Lab (7S252), which is undergoing minor renovations to accommodate the increased usage. Outpatients will continue to have their echoes done in the first-floor Heart Station (1C256), for convenience and proximity to other outpatient services, such as electrocardiography and phlebotomy. Bedside scans will continue to be performed as needed.

Two main changes are important to note:

  • Echoes will be scheduled as either inpatient or outpatient based on the patient's status at the time the test is needed, not his or her status at the time the test is ordered. For example, if Mr. Smith is an inpatient today, but his doctor wants him to have an echo in 2 weeks, after he's been discharged, that test would be ordered as an "outpatient echo." The patient would report to the first-floor Heart Station. (See box below for scheduling phone numbers.)
  • Written reports will be generated within 24 hours after completion of the study, and the information will be retrievable through MIS. A copy will go to the Medical Record Department.

For more information, call Joy Laurienzo, R.N., at 6-3015.

As of July 6, echocardiograms will be scheduled according to the status of the patient at the time the test will be done.

  • To schedule an outpatient echo, call 6-0516.
  • To schedule an inpatient echo, call 5-6038.

These telephone numbers will also appear on the MIS orders screen. Physicians can expect a written report within 24 hours of test completion. (by Sue Kendall)


CC announces MIS improvements

Aimed at improving the system that houses patients' clinical information, the CC has announced a major educational effort for the NIH community.

"We plan to evaluate a new hospital system that will take the place of the current Medical Information System (MIS)," said Dr. Stephen Rosenfeld, acting chief of the Information Systems Department (ISD).

The current system, which has been used in the CC since 1976, has proven useful for order entry, but not so beneficial in other areas.

"Data retrieval with the MIS system is cumbersome, which makes it difficult to support research, an obvious priority," said Dr. Rosenfeld. "Many of the newer systems can provide that information, as well as provide a much richer user interface, making them easier to use."

Several hands-on educational sessions, including displays and lectures from numerous vendors, will be held throughout the summer. Planners stress the importance of comments and suggestions from medical staff within all of the Institutes.

"We don't want to start the process until everyone who sees patients at the CC knows what they should be asking for in a final product," said Dr. Rosenfeld.

"What we need to learn from these sessions are the kinds of features that people want to see included in our final proposal. That's why we need to see what type of state-of-the-art technology other hospitals are using."

The project is being overseen by the information subcommittee of the Medical Executive Committee. The ISD will be responsible for the installation and upkeep of the system, targeted for installation in the new Clinical Research Center.

If you have any system suggestions or comments, call Dr. Rosenfeld at 6-7946. (by LaTonya Kittles)



CC award to be given in memory of Jesse Ferguson

In preparation for the Clinical Center Awards ceremony to be held in September, supervisors have been asked to recognize their deserving employees by nominating them for an award. In addition to the traditional categories, a special award will debut at this year's ceremony.

The Jesse Ferguson Customer Service Award will be given in honor and memory of long-time Clinical Center employee, Jesse J. Ferguson. The award will recognize the accomplishments of those who demonstrate outstanding dedication and skill in the area of customer service.

Ferguson, who died last year only days before his planned retirement from government service, served the Clinical Center since the start of his federal career in 1961. His work began with the local-transportation section, from where he climbed the career ladder, serving as chief of the patient escort service, chief of the admissions section, clinic administrator, and then deputy chief of the Outpatient Department.

As in the past, employees will also be recognized for their efforts and skill in patient care, teaching/training, science, administration, and strategic initiatives.


Several critical care medicine physicians were recently successfully recertified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

"I think that most medical organizations feel it is an important sign of quality to have a high percentage of their staff certified in the subspecialty they practice," said Dr. Henry Masur, chief of the Critical Care Medicine Department. "Recertification is an important benchmark for quality."

Those physicians recertified include Drs. Robert Danner, Peter Eichacker, Frederick Ognibene, James Shelhamer, and Anthony Suffredini. (Stories by Bonnie Flock)

Staff cited

Several Department of Transfusion Medicine (DTM) employees were recently honored by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Blood Banks. (Above from left) Jo Proctor received the Mary C. Doerr Meritorious Service Award for her many contributions to transfusion medicine. Kimberly Keys was awarded for submitting an essay, which was selected to receive the Exhibitor's Scholarship, a grant to pay the expenses associated with attending the meeting for a first-time participant. Melinda Langston received the Susan Wilkinson Education Award for her research project, "Evaluation of the gel system for ABA grouping and D-antigen typing."

The association, which serves the region for continuing professional education in the medical, scientific, technical, and administrative aspects of blood banking and transfusion medicine, handed out the awards during their annual meeting.

CC patients share their input

The new Clinical Center Patient Advisory Group (PAG) met for the first time in late April. Shown is Dr. Gallin addressing the group, which is tasked with advising the CC management on issues relating to patient services.

FOCC honors

The Friends of the Clinical Center (FOCC) recently thanked volunteers for their continuing support during a dinner ceremony at Levante's, a local restaurant. Founded in 1984, the FOCC is a private, nonprofit organization that provides emergency financial aid to NIH patients and their families. Shown are (left to right) Randy Schools, executive director of the NIH R&W and board member of the FOCC; Dr. Anita Fuertes, restaurant co-owner; Maria Stagnitto, FOCC president; Dr. Fuat Mehmetoglu, restaurant co-owner; and Mary Maze and Sarah Kalser, FOCC volunteers.


NIH Health Fair brings demonstrations, information, and fun to the CC

Where can you find all of this--and more?

  • Screenings for visual acuity, blood pressure and stroke risk, oral and skin cancer, depression and anxiety.
  • Demonstrations on how to access health information by computer.
  • Fitness and Exercise 101.
  • Relaxation techniques using therapeutic chairs.
  • Displays of ergonomically designed office furniture.
  • Tips for reducing risk of repetitive strain injuries in the laboratory.
  • Health experts to answer your questions.

The NIH Health Fair.

This year's fair, "Good Health Begins Here," will be held at the CC on June 16 and 17 in the main lobby and the Visitor Information Center. Exhibits will be open Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m., and Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The NIH Health Fair gives employees an important opportunity to learn the latest developments in maintaining our health and fitness, as well as receive preventive screenings for various disorders," said Dr. Harold Varmus, NIH director.

C.W. Metcalf, author of Lighten Up: Survival Skills for People Under Pressure, will kick off the event with a presentation at 11 a.m. in Masur Auditorium. Metcalf heads a Colorado-based training firm that specializes in helping people and organizations thrive in environments of rapid change. His volunteer work with pediatric cancer patients and his ongoing efforts as a volunteer for hospice groups led to the development of his seminars. Since 1983, he has presented to more than 200 government, corporate, educational and health-care organizations.

Thirty-five booths will cover topics such as mental health, elder care, safety, drug abuse, nutrition, exercise, ergonomics, and prevention and control of common diseases. Here are some highlights:

  • You can chart your own family tree and discuss findings with genetic counselors.
  • Discover the alcohol content of everyday household products.
  • See how certain diseases and deformities look on Mr. Bones.
  • Examine and manipulate hearing aids.
  • Learn how you can donate blood to NIH patients.
  • Find out what services NIH offers to help employees balance work and family life.

Health screenings will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Consultations for skin cancer screenings are expected to fill up soon and require an appointment. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 2-3305.

The NIH Health Fair is an initiative of the Worksite Health Promotion Committee. The fair is sponsored by the Office of Disease Prevention, in cooperation with the Institutes, the R&W, and the FDA.

For sign language interpretation services visit booth #1 during the health fair. For reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities, call James Hadley, event coordinator, at 5-6045. (by James Hadley)


1998 director's award honors went to Dr. Carol Romano and the multidisciplinary Pyxix Implementation Team (above.) Arleen Berman (right) was named nurse of the year.

CC nurses honored

Clinical Center nurses were recognized during the Nursing Department's Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony held on May 5 in Lipsett Amphitheater.

Nurse of the year honors went to Arleen Berman from OP3, and the distinguished nurse award was given to Donna Jo Mayo of the 2 West bone marrow transplant unit. The nursing research award went to Patricia Smatlak, from the 10D unit.

This year's director's award honors went to Dr. Carol Romano and the multidisciplinary Pyxis Implementation Team, including: Daniel Keravich, Priscilla Boykin, Linda Coe, Joyce Denoyer, Simon Eng, Susan Gantz, Gregory Hinson, Timothy Maloney, Susan Martin, Marilyn Mouer, Nitin Patel, Rosalie Smith, and Therese White.

Clinical excellence awards were given to Ann Hickey, Sandra Jones, and Antoinette Jones-Wells.

Recognized for leadership excellence were Bernadette Childs, Donna Gwyer, and Anthony Santucci.

Honored for excellence in administrative/clinical support were Louis Gaeta, Michelle Gibson, Patrina Gregory, and Betty Peterson.

Receiving awards for excellence in teamwork were nursing staff from 3 East Adult, 3 East Child, 3 West, 4 East, 4 West, 8 East, and OP3 Dental Research team.

Excellence in nursing/patient education was awarded to Robyn Lance, Teresa Peduzzi, Sharon Quint-Kasner, Diane Thompkins, Ellen Polignano, and the Rainbow Team Compliance Committee.

The 1998 chief's awards were given to Judie Johnson, Pamela Koviack, Yoon Park, Diane Thompkins, and Terri Wakefield.


Leisure: A Luxury for a Lifetime

Summer is fast approaching. As I think about summer I catch myself daydreaming of spending hours relaxing under a big shady oak tree with a cool glass of iced tea while engrossing in my favorite pastime. . . reading.

Leisure, I have found, provides significant pleasure in my life, but often gets taken for granted.

Why is leisure so important? How does one carve more time for leisure activities? Let's explore these two important questions.

Why is it so important? Keeps your life in sync

Think about someone you know who seems to have their life in sync. In my experience, those I've admired spend regular time "re-creating." They embrace those activities that bring joy, satisfaction, and meaning into their life. One of my good friends is a mom and active business leader in the health-care field. She frequently schedules afternoons when she closes the door to her downtown Chicago office and slips away to a friend's ranch just outside the city. Her eyes just sparkle when she talks about putting on cowboy boots and jeans to spend a few hours horseback riding.

Reduces health care costs

According to the Academy of Leisure Sciences, recreation and leisure activities may be one of the best methods for curbing our rising medical costs. The U.S. Health Care Financing Administration projected the health-care cost of $5,500 per citizen could be reduced significantly if more efforts were placed on health and healthy living, than on treatment of illness.

Keeps your life on track

Americans have made being busy a synonym for being important. We carry our cellular phones, laptop computers, and pagers everywhere we go. It's no wonder we have trouble finding time to step back to see where we are heading. Leisure opens up your mind to new possibilities and opens your eyes to red flags that are causing you to get off track.

Where do I find it? Prioritize what's important

Regularly look at those things that are most important to you. If it is family, what are you doing to provide valuable leisure time with your family?

You may feel that preparing dinner together and playing with kids after school is a priority. Taking advantage of technology may be one option.

By turning the ringer off, and turning on your answering machine, you'll skip those telemarketing calls and be able to return to those non-urgent tasks while the kids are sleeping. It's a matter of looking at what you value and what alternatives you have for creating that type of lifestyle.

Schedule leisure time in your daily planner

Just as a financial advisor will encourage their client to look at saving money as a regular bill that is automatically withdrawn from their checking account, it is also true that leisure time needs to be automatically scheduled in your calendar, or it just slips away.

If reading is an activity you enjoy, but the closest you get to reading is when you stumble over your pile of books when getting in and out of bed, I encourage you to schedule time, even if it is to read a chapter a day. My best time is in the morning. I enjoy the quiet morning hour when I can relax and read with few interruptions. We need to look at our schedules and prioritize what is most important.

Know your productivity power

Knowing when you have peak energy periods will make you more productive. Peak energy periods are those times in the day when you often have more zest and feel ready to go! Some people wake up with more energy in the morning but by afternoon they are challenged to stay awake.

Tackling those hardest activities during the time of day you work best will make you more effective. With increased effectiveness you can increase free time. For example, if you are a morning person, you may opt to take on that growing stack of paperwork right when you get to work, thereby freeing you up from staying late at the office.

Leisure can be a significant part of enjoying your life as long as you do some planning and keep your commitment to making leisure a priority. If you do this, leisure will be a luxury you can afford for a lifetime.

(By Michael P. Scott, president of Empowerment Unlimited, Inc., an organization dedicated to assisting individuals maximize their potential and organizations reach that next level of success. Please share your comments and suggestions via e-mail to and in return you will receive a free copy of "7 Tips to Living a More Balanced, Meaningful and Fun Life."index


News briefs:

Blood needed

Severe weather, colds, flu and other illnesses often affect the number of blood donations. The NIH Blood Bank relies heavily on the commitment and kindness of NIH employees to support the patients in the Clinical Center. If you are interested in donating blood, please call 6-1048 to schedule an appointment. The Blood Bank is located in room 1C713B and is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Tuesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Training offered

The CC education and training section will offer "Planning for Retirement," on June 24-25, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the first floor conference room at 6100 Executive Boulevard. The seminar will cover considerations for planning a smooth transition into retirement. To register, call 6-1618.

Open season

Open season for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) will be held from May 15 through July 31, 1998. FERS employees hired before January 1, 1998, as well as CSRS employees, have an opportunity to either change their current election or make an initial election. For more information or to obtain forms call human resources at 6-6924.


 Editor: LaTonya Kittles

Clinical Center News, 6100 Executive Blvd., Suite 3C01, MSC 7511, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-7511. (301) 496-2563. Fax: 402-2984. Published monthly for CC employees by the Office of Clinical Center Communications, Colleen Henrichsen, chief. News, articles ideas, calendar events, letters, and photographs are welcome. Deadline for submission is the second Monday of each month.

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