April, 2013

Be Aware for Safe Care

Jim Nathan Lee Memorial Health System is committed to providing high-quality, leading edge, compassionate and safe care for our community. We are dedicated to all of those things, but our No. 1 priority is patient safety. From staff to the nurses, doctors and volunteers, our entire team is devoted to safety.

“Having our board of directors name safety as our No.1 core value really ignited a passion in our team,” says Sherri Schmidt, nursing director of the medical care unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center and a safety champion. “We all know—regardless of our position in the system—it is vital, everything else builds off of that and we all play a role in safety.”

Our system’s culture is one of collaboration, and not just between our team members, but also with our patients, their families and visitors. “Our patients are our partners in care,” Sherri says. “Especially when it comes to safety, there is a definite need for patient and family participation. We always want our patients and their families to understand, communicate with the care team and to feel empowered in the care process.”

Patient safety is and should be a work in progress. As we move forward, we look ahead to more improvements, including the installation of electronic health records (EHR) at HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital and our outpatient centers. Once complete this summer, we will have instant system-wide communications of all Lee Memorial Health System patient records.

“We have made great strides,” says Jon Burdzy, D.O., a family practice physician and a champion for patient safety. “Communication between nurses, doctors, patients, staff and volunteers has improved. The collegial—collaborative—environment has lead to stronger relationships, better and more coordinated care and improved safety. With the upcoming installations of the EHR, there will be even more standardization of care. So, we are looking forward to leveraging all of our tools to further improve patient safety.”

We can look back on our accomplishments and feel proud. It is not just the national recognition we have received for being among the nation’s leaders in reducing infections in our intensive care units, but our continuous and ongoing strides in safety are a testament to our team’s efforts every day and every night.

As we look down the road, health care reform may present new challenges and opportunities. Knowing that our team proactively developed processes and standards built on patient safety because that is the right thing for our community, we know that we will meet any changes or challenges head-on.

We are a team dedicated to continuous improvement, and not just in safety, but in patient experience, as well, because we know that patient safety and patient experience go hand-in-hand. So, in honor of our commitment to safety and collaboration between the health care team and our patients and families, we take great pride in celebrating the annual National Patient Safety Awareness Week.


Jim Nathan

Jim Nathan

President, Lee Memorial Health System

We are Lee Memorial Health System: Caring People, Caring For People.

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