Rapid Pulse: News and notes

GHSU nursing student gets national recognition

Kara Piganelli, a Georgia Health Sciences University nursing student at the Athens campus, has been selected a Northside Scholar and was also elected chair of the Nominating and Elections Committee of the National Student Nurses Association.

The Northside Scholars program identifies high-performing students in a full-time BSN program. The program selects 12 students annually, with participants receiving a maximum scholarship of $10,000 per school year and committing to two years’ full-time employment as a registered nurse at Northside Hospital in Atlanta upon completion of the internship program.

Participants collaborate with a mentor during the academic year to develop a job-shadowing program. Junior students must work in a paid externship program for a minimum of 24 hours per month and senior students must work at the hospital for at least 48 hours per month.

In her role on the Nominating and Elections Committee, Piganelli oversees the Southern Region and serves as the main liaison for the committee’s executive director.
Piganelli plans to pursue her nurse practitioner’s license and values the experiences for the professional and personal opportunities they have provided.

“I have grown so much as a student, a leader, as a professional and as a nurse,” she said.

Immunization conference: About 400 public and private health care providers, advocacy groups, pharmacists, physicians, nurses and health care practitioners gathered for the 19th annual Immunize Georgia Conference last month in Macon. “Collaborating for a Healthier Georgia” was the theme of the conference, which aimed to increase immunization rates in the state.
Presented by the Georgia Immunization Office, the conference included sessions about vaccinology, the role of immunization in Georgia, HPV vaccination and an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, the Georgia Department of Public Health named the Fayette County Health Department, Pediatric Associates of Savannah and Amy Carroll, nurse manager of Catoosa County Health Department, as Walt Orenstein Champions of Immunization. Tasia Sheppard received the Clay Coleman Excellence in Customer Service Award.


Management pact: Emory Healthcare took over management of Southern Regional Health System Oct. 1, under an agreement announced in September. The system includes Southern Regional Medical Center, a 331-bed hospital in Riverdale.

Emory will implement its quality and management programs at Southern Regional. Ownership of the hospital will not change.

“Our community expects the best, and they deserve it,” said Jim Crissey, Southern Regional’s president and CEO. “Adding Southern Regional into the Emory network of hospitals delivers on that expectation.”


Great workplaces for mothers: WellStar Health System and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta were named to Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list for 2012. The criteria for the list includes work force representation, child care, flexibility programs, advancement and paid family leave.

WellStar was named a Top 10 company for the third consecutive year. Working Mother lauded WellStar’s online work shift signup, parental leave policy, adoption benefits, fertility treatment coverage, parenting classes, child care centers, lactation rooms and concierge services.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta was cited for its number of women holding director-level and above positions (57 percent), family wellness program, alternative work options and online shift scheduling, serenity rooms, concierge services, increased tuition subsidies at nearby child care facilities and insurance coverage for children on the autism spectrum.


Board appointment: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Richard L. Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare, to the board of directors of the state Department of Community Health.

The Department of Community Health oversees the state’s Medicaid program including PeachCare for Kids, the State Health Benefit Plan that provides health care for state employees, the Healthcare Facility Regulation Division and the Office of Health Information Technology in Georgia.

Jackson is also chairman of Patients for Fair Compensation and a member of the board of directors of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.


Adoption-friendly workplace: WellStar Health System ranked first in the health care industry and 35th overall on the 2012 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces list released by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Rankings are determined by an analysis of a company’s adoption benefits, including the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for families who adopt.

WellStar offers its full-time employees 120 hours and eligible part-time employees 60 hours of paid leave, per adoption. WellStar also offers employees a maximum of $10,000, per finalized adoption ($20,000 maximum lifetime amount).


Going green: Gwinnett Medical Center’s Strickland Heart Center has received LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The new 40,000-square-foot facility was cited for implementation of the latest sustainable building technologies to achieve maximum energy saving without compromising programmatic requirements or user comforts.


Top-notch transplants: Northside Hospital announced its blood and marrow transplant program had the nation’s best survival outcome for a third straight year. The hospital, which posted a 78 percent survival rate, performed 174 transplants last year.

Northside’s transplant survival rate was 20 percent higher than expected by the federally funded National Marrow Donor Program, the facilitator of most transplants between unrelated people.


Breast cancer accreditation: WellStar Kennestone Hospital has been granted a three-year full accreditation designation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.

Accreditation by the NAPBC is awarded after a rigorous evaluation process and performance review. During the survey process, health care facilities must demonstrate compliance with standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. The standards include proficiency in leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement.

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