June 2016

SCH Nursing School Alumna gives back to support future nurses


Through a fulfilling career in nursing, which brought Janet McBride from Northwest Indiana, to Chicago then New York City, Swedish Covenant Hospital has been the one constant in her life. A 1958 graduate of Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing, Janet’s experience was, and still is, very special to her. It is because of this strong connection that Janet continues to generously support nursing education at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

Janet was drawn to nursing because she saw it as a way to minister to people. Initially, she left her home in Northwest Indiana to attend college in Delaware as a bible major. While there, she heard about a nursing school in Chicago with strong Christian ties and she wanted to be part of it.

“I’ve been to many schools and Swedish Covenant Hospital was unique,” Janet said. “We had such a tight bond because we lived, studied and worshiped together.”

Nursing school at Swedish Covenant Hospital was a special time for many, but also challenging. Students had to be in the chapel at 6:30 a.m. every morning and then on the floor by 7 a.m. Sometime in between they had to find time to eat. Janet remembers one Christmas when she was working at Cook County Hospital (now Stroger Hospital) on her psych rotation and she was tasked with caring for a patient who was confined behind a locked door.

“Swedish Covenant Hospital made me a stronger person and more capable as a nurse. It was a very good basic education. Students felt very supported,” Janet said. “It gave me the confidence to move on in my career.”

In 1962 Janet came back to Swedish Covenant Hospital and taught for five years. She created strong bonds with the nursing students, who she calls friends to this day. These bonds are what bring her back each year for the annual Nursing Alumnae Association reunion.

During this time Janet heard the late Virginia M. Ohlson speak to the nursing students and was very much impressed. Later she became a student and colleague of Virginia at the University of Illinois. Virginia was an influential nursing teacher and administrator who also graduated from the nursing school at Swedish Covenant Hospital. Janet was instrumental in starting the Virginia Ohlson scholarship at Swedish Covenant Hospital, which annually awards financial assistance to nurses who wish to enhance their knowledge and careers through pursuit of advanced nursing degrees.

After leaving her teaching position at Swedish Covenant Hospital, Janet worked for the Joint Commission as the Director of Nursing Education where she taught nurses to measure quality consistent with the Joint Commission’s designated outcomes of care. This experience gave her a unique skill set that allowed her to continue her nursing career at various hospitals in New York City. The last hospital she worked at was New York Presbyterian in Manhattan where she worked on the merger of two nursing departments to ensure common standards and processes.

“As I look back, I know God guided me through all of those steps in my life,” Janet said.

Janet was one of more than 65 nursing school alumnae who attended the annual reunion at Swedish Covenant Hospital on June 11, 2016.

With the growing population on Chicago’s North Side and an increased need for nurses, the Swedish Covenant Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1898 with only three students. The school educated approximately 1,437 nurses until it transitioned to North Park University in 1969. Graduates of the school have had illustrious nursing careers not only at Swedish Covenant Hospital but also across the nation and globe. Many of the graduates worked as nursing missionaries in China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Costa Rica and many other places.

Over the years, nurse alumnae have remained committed to the health of the community through financial support of projects, including the construction of a new hospital chapel in the late 1990s. In addition, alumnae dues have supported nursing scholarships for legacies of nursing alumnae and financially supported the work of alumnae nurse missionaries. The alumnae have also supported our journey toward Magnet and Nursing Board Certifications.

Learn more about the Swedish Covenant Hospital Nursing Alumnae Association. To support nursing education at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or Foundation@swedishcovenant.org.

Read More →

Employee remembers father with generous donation


Michele Greenberg fondly remembers her father, Jack, for his generosity, kind heart and sense of humor. He often went out of his way to help those less fortunate. Michele is making a gift in memory of her father to enhance patient care at Swedish Covenant Hospital. She chose to generously sponsor Team SCH to support the Helping Hands Fund, which assists patients in our emergency department access medications they otherwise cannot afford.

“When I first learned about the Helping Hands Fund, I thought it was something my dad would have appreciated and supported,” Michele said.

Jack graduated from Von Steuben High School and after marrying Michele’s mother, moved within blocks of Swedish Covenant Hospital. As an office supplies salesman, he always brought a smile to the faces of his accounts. He was a dedicated father, and Michele remembers that during the blizzard of ’67, Jack and their neighbors got together to have milk for Michele delivered by helicopter. It was this type of generosity and his experience as a member of the community that caused Michele to make the connection.

“No one expects to end up in the emergency department – so to have that unexpected experience and then not be able to afford the medications to get healthy is devastating,” Michele said.

The Helping Hands Fund assists our most vulnerable emergency department patients access medications they otherwise cannot afford, allowing them to complete their medical treatment and return to health. Through this fund, patients have received antibiotics to help a wound heal, psychiatric drugs to intervene in a time of crisis, and blood pressure medications to bridge a gap while waiting for public aid approval. The average cost of medications provided through the fund is $100.

Now in its second year, Team SCH brings together runners to raise funds on behalf of their participation in a race. On Sunday, September 25, Team SCH will participate in the Chicago Half Marathon & 5K to raise funds for the Helping Hands Fund. Team SCH runners agree to raise at least $100, the average cost of one prescription for a patient in need and in return receive great benefits.

This generous gift was made during the employee giving campaign, which gives employees a chance to make a contribution to Swedish Covenant Hospital. All donations by employees will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $50,000 by a challenge grant from the Medical Staff of Swedish Covenant Hospital.

To learn more about participating in or sponsoring Team SCH, visit the website or contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or Foundation@swedishcovenant.org.

Read More →

Women’s Care Fund bridges gap in time of need


The Women’s Care Fund was created through the Women’s Health Initiative to provide preventive, diagnostic and support services for women in our community without the financial resources to pay. Since established in 2014, the fund has served 25 women, who otherwise would not have received care, in addition to funding a support group for new moms. Below is the story of one patient who received continuous care thanks to the Women’s Care Fund.

“I was losing my job, facing a major loss, and was cut off from Medicaid due to a technical error that would not be resolved for six months. I was unable to afford medical care, but at that time, my mental health was the lever that could put my life back on track. I was feeling so depressed and anxious that I couldn’t even start to tackle a job hunt in a productive way, much less prepare and present well at an interview. I was in crisis and needed help badly. I had just started seeing Dr. Katherine Hanson when my Medicaid was revoked thereby preventing my counseling sessions from being covered. Even though I had seen her for a couple of months, Dr. Hanson was the counselor I had been looking for over a very long course of time. I was suicidal when I found out I couldn’t see her anymore. I didn’t see a way out without her guidance.

When I told Dr. Hanson about this situation, she immediately assured me that I would not be abandoned by her. She would remain treating me because of the generosity of donors to the Women’s Care Fund. This was the greatest relief I had felt in months. I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. Through our work over just a couple months, I had became fully employed in a job that I love and my relationships stabilized in a very supportive way. I have tools to manage my anxiety and have even slept since starting to see Dr. Hanson – I suffered extreme insomnia for 20 years. My physical health has improved as well.

Because Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation and Dr. Hanson buttressed me with such reliable and generous support, I no longer need the Women’s Care Fund. I have full health insurance and benefits and am thrilled that someone else can now get the help he/she needs. I am so eternally grateful for the Foundation and for Dr. Hanson. Thank you so much for allowing me the continuity of working with such a talented and caring therapist who is absolutely one of the very best in her field. I owe a great deal of my health to Dr. Hanson and the Women’s Care Fund.”

To learn more about supporting the Women’s Care Fund at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or Foundation@swedishcovenant.org.

Read More →

Bries Medical Foundation awards grant for medical education


Medical students and residents at Swedish Covenant Hospital now have a new designated learning space, complete with a skills lab to learn mechanical and procedure-specific skills. Located on the first floor of Pro Plaza, the new space consists of five areas that provide ample room for simulation models, lectures, workstations, information technology applied ultrasonography and refrigeration for wet lab simulations. The new space is generously funded by the Bries Medical Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee.

According to Dr. Clark Federer, Swedish Covenant Hospital provides a robust community hospital training experience beyond the typical community hospital rotation for medical students. Students from four medical schools, including St. George’s University of London (SGUL) and more than 67 residents receive medical training at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

“Clinical skills are an integral part of our medical school curriculum at SGUL, with clinical skills labs available to us from the moment we begin our medical school education,” said Whitney Lum, 3rd-year medical student at SGUL.

The new space provides an enhanced atmosphere for learning, where students can perfect skills such as stitching and knotting, or just have a quiet place to study, according to Dr. Federer.

The centerpiece of the project is an expanded surgical skills laboratory. Previously, tools stored in a small unused exam room could be accessed during down times. However, the new space offers expanded opportunities for students and residents to safely and efficiently develop technical skills including knot tying, laparoscopic proficiencies, catheterization, central lines, intubation, and many other skill sets.

“At Swedish Covenant Hospital, residents and physicians work closely with students to improve our clinical skills through teaching and patient encounters, but there are times when students need a bit more practice,” Whitney said. “Fortunately we have been given a dedicated space to practice mechanical skills, while also creating a space to practice physical exam skills needed for patient encounters.”

In addition to the skills lab, the new space includes a conference room with white-boards and a computer with a large wall-mounted monitor that allows students to review recorded lectures, and discuss cases together.

“Thank you to Dr. Federer and Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation for providing such a great space for us to learn,” Whitney said.

To learn more about supporting medical education at Swedish Covenant Hospital, contact the Foundation at (773) 293-5121 or Foundation@swedishcovenant.org.

Read More →

Michael Reese Health Trust funds Violence Prevention Program


The Swedish Covenant Hospital Violence Prevention Program (VPP) has received a grant of $35,000 from the Michael Reese Health Trust. Specifically, this grant will expand the existing VPP to strengthen the program’s ability to identify and respond to domestic violence among patients visiting our Emergency Department. In the coming year, MRHT funding will allow us to implement key programmatic strategies, including training for medical providers and crisis workers, enhanced domestic violence screening tools, and improved connections to community partners and resources. Through these approaches, we will enable our ED team to better understand and recognize the dynamics of domestic violence, and respond accordingly. New assessment tools, training, and policy changes will further support these efforts. Since its inception in early 2015, the SCH Violence Prevention Program has worked across SCH departments to identify and address the immediate needs of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Read More →