By Jackie Medland
President/CNO, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital
A common challenge for rural communities like ours is attracting and retaining healthcare providers. I’m proud to say that we now have seven primary care providers available to serve our community which includes Highlands, Cashiers and the surrounding areas. A great way to get to know this talented group of clinicians is to attend our summer educational series, “An Evening with the Docs.” The “Docs” and their partners will showcase their diverse interests and considerable expertise and also answer your questions on a wide range of “hot” health topics.
I encourage you to attend each “Evening with the Docs”, but our July program will be especially important. On July 19th our program will focus on advanced care planning. It will include an interactive panel comprised of a local physician, HCH chaplains, notaries and others. Beyond the session’s educational focus, it will also offer a hands-on action opportunity. Attendees will receive a template for creating their own directives and guidance and support to complete it. And don’t worry, a HCH resource will be provided should anyone need further assistance after the session concludes.
I encourage every community member to attend, because you’re never too young to start thinking about how to ensure that your care decisions and preferences are honored when and if you are unable to speak for yourself. For many of us, it’s just hard to talk about illness and death; so we put it off. But just like an uncomfortable cancer screening test, it’s too important to skip. Taking charge of one’s own care empowers both the patient and the family, especially if an unexpected healthcare crisis should occur.
The advanced directive document specifically defines a patient’s wishes about which interventions the individual wants to be performed in order to extend their life in specific circumstances. It’s not an “all or none” choice, but rather a detailed review of what you personally desire. The advanced directive then serves to “direct” an important care conversation for the patient, family and care team. At a difficult time, it ensures that everyone is “on the same page” and that the patient’s preferences and wishes are always followed. No one of us knows what will happen tomorrow, but it is certain that proactive conversations now will mean much more comfort and confidence in the future for both you and your loved ones.
Here again, you spoke, and we listened. Our “An Evening With the Docs” series will help you work in closer partnership with your caregivers, and that’s sure to make you and our community stronger and healthier.
Jacqueline Medland, PhD, RN, is the President/Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. Jackie has enjoyed a career as a healthcare leader for over 30 years, including positions in direct patient care, advanced practice nursing, nursing management and hospital administration. Jackie received her MSN from the University of Illinois, College of Nursing, and her PhD in Organization Development from Benedictine University. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the American Organization of Nurses Executives, the Illinois Organization of Nursing Leaders and Sigma Theta Tau. Jackie’s unique leadership and mentorship was recognized by the University of Illinois, College of Nursing with the Sage Award.