Healthcare Blog

Archive for April, 2016

Pull Up a Chair

Posted by capcityspeakers on April 28, 2016

by John O’Leary

Pull-Up-a-ChairSpeaking to more than 100 groups around the country each year gives me the wonderful opportunity to meet with thousands of individuals, each with unique struggles, hopes, experiences and stories.

While speaking at the University of Southern California almost two months ago, I had the opportunity to meet a most amazing man. You may have read about him in my article; that article garnered such a wonderful and widespread response that I wanted to share Augie’s story here at “home” in my weekly MondayMotivation with you.

Augie Nieto has lived with the brutal realities of Lou Gehrig’s disease for over 10 years. Knowing the trajectory of the disease and the certainty of losing everything, shortly after the diagnosis Augie tried to take his own life.

Against overwhelming odds, he survived the attempt. More than that, the experience ignited within him a deep desire to not just refuse surrendering to the disease, but to become a masterful example of abundant life in spite of it.

We connected after my talk and spoke for almost an hour. I asked what the most difficult aspect of this brutal disease was. He responded:


He sat motionless in a motorized wheelchair and unable to move any muscle other than his big toe on his right foot. Augie typed his conversation with me.


Using technology he helped design, he’s able to use his toe to slowly type letters and communicate with friends. He’s got a wicked sense of humor, a beautiful heart, and a gorgeous bride named Lynne.


The man was a pioneer and global leader in the fitness industry. He founded, grew and eventually sold the hugely successful brand “Life Fitness.” For Augie, fitness wasn’t just work, it was life. He epitomized health and was a world-class athlete before his ALS diagnosis.


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Nurses Can Do Anything

Posted by capcityspeakers on April 21, 2016

by Donna Cardillo, RN

donnacardillobookWhen I first got out of nursing school, I envisioned myself always working in a hospital emergency room. That was my passion and my plan. I did just that for several years until I moved to a new geographic location and was unable to find a suitable ER job. So I began exploring my options in nursing.

I eventually landed a position as a head nurse in a medical weight control center. Within the first year I was promoted to Center Manager. It was here that I started to become aware of all the transferable skills I had as a nurse and all the ways and places I could make a difference. I also began to learn about the vast opportunities that existed in the world for nurses who were willing to look, and step, outside of the box.

In subsequent years I worked as an insurance nurse, then for a company that did medical exams for insurance companies, and later as a test-prep organization that helped new nurses pass NCLEX. I was also the Director of DRG Services, Quality Improvement, and Utilization Management in a hospital. My mind, and my skill base, along with my ability to impact a larger part of the population, were expanding in rapid ways.

21 years ago I decided to bring everything together to launch an education business teaching nurses about the vast array of opportunities available to them with my seminar: Career Alternatives for Nurses®. That eventually led to keynote speaking at nursing events, writing articles and nursing books, becoming a columnist for the largest circulation nursing magazine in the U.S., and blogging for I was now using writing and speaking to have a positive impact on the health of the planet.

When I set out to write my latest book, Falling Together: How to Find Balance, Joy, and Meaningful Change When Your Life Seems to be Falling Apart, I once again had to stretch myself and was expanding my reach. This book is a self-help memoir and written for the masses, not just for nurses. It was scary to step out of my comfort zone, tell my own personal stories of challenge, and reveal things about my past that I had never previously spoken about. But the process, in the end, was exhilarating. I am hopeful that the lessons I learned along the way will help others with their own journey. It is a book about healing, moving from victim to victor, waking from a trance of fear, and finding opportunities for growth even in our darkest moments.

Am I still a nurse in the work I do? Absolutely. Today I heal with words and the world needs a lot of healing. There is no limit to the things we can do. Nursing will take you anywhere you want to go.

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Does the use of medical titles have an impact on patient safety?

Posted by capcityspeakers on April 14, 2016

by Suzanne Gordon

A couple of months ago, I was invited to speak at an East Coast medical school and hospital. The group of physicians who extended the invitation—a female surgeon, and female and male internist—took me out to dinner the night before my talk. During the dinner conversation, we were all on a first name basis when we addressed each other directly. When, however, one of the three physicians mentioned something one of his or her colleagues had been working on or accomplished, he or she spoke about that physician in the third person i.e. as “Dr Smith has spent a lot of time working on this issue,” or “Dr Jones just published a paper on such and such.” When they referred to my writing or work, I was not Ms Gordon or Professor Gordon, but Suzanne.

I was struck by this mode of address precisely because I was asked to teach medical students and residents about patient safety and interprofessional teamwork. Modes of address are, in fact, central to both. When I asked them about this, they told me that it’s important that physicians be respected because they know so much.

This is by no means the first time I—as a non-physician and non-PhD ( I am a proud graduate school/doctoral program drop-out)—have encountered this particular doctor dilemma. As a patient, and an older one at that, most docs I meet in the exam room call me Suzanne as they introduce themselves as Dr so and so. If I am on a panel with physicians, I am invariably addressed as Suzanne, while the physicians are Dr…

In North America this practice is embedded in institutional culture. In the clinical setting most physicians address or refer to nurses and other professionals and healthcare workers by first name and expect—particularly in front of patients—to be addressed with their last name and title. (Even when they are on a first name basis, they refer to each other as Dr…) Non-MDs almost always introduce physicians to patients or other staff with last name and title (while they introduce themselves with first names only—sometimes even omitting to mention that they are a nurse, PT, or dietician). When they directly address physicians in front of patients, they usually use last name and title even if they are on a first name basis with the physician outside the exam room. When I ask them why this asymmetry of address, they invariably inform me that patients need to know who their physician is and that this physician must be respected. Apparently patients don’t need to respect—or even be able to identify the role of—nurses, PTs, OTs, social workers, or other personnel with whom they are in contact.

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Procrastinate Later

Posted by capcityspeakers on April 7, 2016

by Christine Cashen


As I look around my office, I see the land of unfinished projects: kid’s artwork meant for scrapbooks, client files stationed on my desk to remind me to send a special thank you note, info from conferences waiting for action, and randomness that needs to be filed (but should be tossed instead).

Do you live on SOMEDAY ISLE too? Someday I’ll have time to make those special memory books. Someday I’ll purge the paper that I don’t need. Someday I’ll tackle my “that would be nice to do” list. Of course, all of this hinges on the dreaded phrase, “When I have time!”

Suddenly it hit me — I’m waiting for time that really doesn’t exist. Phantom Time. That is, time that will always be replaced with more important tasks. Always.

However, it is not a lost cause. We can do some things to jump-start into action:


Learn to let go. Take one drawer, one kitchen cabinet or one office cubby that makes you crazy. Set a timer for 20 minutes and go to town. Be tough on yourself. Do you really need this? If you haven’t touched an item recently, maybe it isn’t that important. It’s like when you get ready to move, and you realize that you haven’t unpacked boxes from your previous move. Years have passed and obviously you haven’t missed the contents. Sell, recycle, donate — it feels great!


Remember the line from the kids movie, Madagascar? You really do have to move it! Don’t just shuffle things from one side of your desk to the other. Get rid of clutter piles. Take action. Do it. Delegate it. Or dump it.


Who says you have to keep every art project your kids create? Take pictures and put them in a photo book from Shutterfly. What will your kids do with a box of their handprints and macaroni sculptures when they are adults? A book takes up less space, collects less dust, and is far easier to enjoy.


Okay, make the decision to go and do it. Set a time and space. Get ready to release yourself from the guilt. Escape from SOMEDAY ISLE. Don’t procrastinate today–do that later. Give yourself a break, and beware of phantom time. The time is now. Let’s go!

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