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25 March 1999 • Volume 1 • Number 2
Formerly “Topics”


KU Hospital offers advantages unavailable in other facilities Grappling with the nursing shortage

KU Hospital has developed a comprehensive nursing recruitment plan designed to address short- and long-term staffing goals, despite a national nursing shortage. Already, early strategies have paid off. Since March 1, no nursing candidate has refused a job offer on the basis of salary, and the hospital nursing vacancy rate has dropped by almost three percentage points in three weeks.
Several components comprise the plan, said Ann Babb, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer for KU Hospital. Short-term strategies include increasing nursing salaries and PRN rates to meet market demand and developing a recruitment campaign that emphasizes the unique aspects of working at KU Medical Center. Among KUMC's advantages to be emphasized are the opportunity to care for a patient population with high acuity and variety of conditions that are rarely seen outside academic medical centers. Moreover, KUMC accommodates the schedules of nurses who are returning to school to continue their education, said Babb.
In addition to recruiting nurses, KU Medical Center will retain its staff by ensuring they have the skills necessary for their work. The hospital has developed a long-term plan to be implemented by three subcommittees. One will ensure the competency of incoming and temporary nurses, reassess skills on an annual basis and offer programs that enable them to improve. The second will focus on recognition and rewards for high-quality nursing and the third will identify overall staffing needs in order to ensure appropriate budgets.

Nursing Education Building enters new phase
A Tree Grows in Kansas City

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Gently ... Gently ...
Construction workers lower a 6-foot spruce tree to the roof of the Nursing Education Building.

student news

Student Research Forum features 60 presentations

More than 60 KU Medical Center students will present their research and findings April 7 during the day-long Student Research Forum. The annual forum provides an opportunity for students from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Allied Health and Graduate Studies to organize and present their research to a general audience.
This year's event will feature a keynote address by Carolyn Sampselle, RN, PhD, professor at the School of Nursing, associate professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan.
Students will give 10-minute presentations in Rooms 1014, 1023 and 1025 Orr-Major from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m., and from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Dr. Sampselle will speak at noon, and a wine and cheese reception in Hixson Atrium will begin at 4 p.m. An awards banquet, where research awards will be presented, will be 6 p.m. April 8, at the Golden Ox. Tickets are $15, and are available by contacting Karen Rodriguez, ext. 5241.
A workshop on non-traditional careers in science and medicine will be 1-4 p.m. April 8, in Rieke Auditorium.

First-year medical students’ forum set for April 4

All first-year School of Medicine students are invited to a lunch forum with Deborah Powell, MD, executive dean and vice chancellor for clinical affairs. The informal question-and-answer session is set for noon to 1 p.m. on Monday, April 5, in Rieke Auditorium. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

Get ready!
Spring Fling is coming April 10

Get ready for a day of fun, music and activities for the whole family during the Third Annual KUMC Spring Fling Carnival April 10. The action goes non-stop from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kirmayer Fitness Center.
Among the highlights: plenty of good food from area businesses; a bake sale; faculty pie throw; football toss, and roller bowler games. A live band will perform from noon to 1 p.m., and a disc jockey will provide tunes through the rest of the festivities. Kids will enjoy games, prizes and visits from JayDoc, JayNurse and Beewise. All proceeds will be donated to the Duchense Clinic and the KU Cancer Center.
Student, faculty and staff volunteers are still needed to help with a variety of activities. Anyone who can volunteer even a few hours' time should e-mail Lindsey Leo, carnival chair person, at <lleo>.

Spring Bookfair set for April 7-9

KUMC employees, students and staff can save up to 75 percent on hardcover books during the Spring Bookfair, sponsored by the Department of Student Services. The Bookfair will be April 7, 8 and 9 in the Wyandotte Room, Main Cafeteria. Proceeds will benefit the Community Outreach Program.
Hours for the Bookfair are:
Wednesday, April 7     10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday, April 8    7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday, April 9    7 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information, call ext. 6681.

Duncan receives prestigious APTA fellowship

Pamela Duncan, PhD, PT, director of research at the Center on Aging, was recently named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The fellowship, one of the highest honors given to physical therapy professionals, was established by APTA to recognize individuals whose work has resulted in lasting and significant advances in the science, education and practice of the profession.
Dr. Duncan was selected for her nationally known work in the field of stroke rehabilitation and geriatrics. In addition to her research into and publications about the field, Dr. Duncan is a highly respected educator.
Dr. Duncan was nominated by Pat Rohl, PhD, PT, from the Department of Physical Therapy Education at the Center on Aging, on behalf of the neurology section of APTA. Dr. Duncan's election will be recognized at the annual APTA conference June 5 in Washington, D.C.
"It's clearly a wonderful honor to be selected," Dr. Duncan said. "I'm indebted to my colleagues at KUMC for supporting my nomination."

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Pamela Duncan, PhD, PT, director of research at the Center on Aging, works with Jeff Schiffman, doctoral candidate and research assistant for the Human Performance Lab, to calibrate a new device they are developing to measure how the body reacts to being thrown off balance.

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A sound technician prepares Srinivasa Vasa, MD, assistant professor of medicine, for an interview for ABC's World News Tonight. Dr. Vasa spoke about the diabetes medication Rezulin, which has caused adverse reactions among some patients.

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There was something for the young, the old and everyone in between, when KU MedWest staged Senior's Day, March 25, and Family Day, March 28 for residents of Shawnee and surrounding communities. The events were designed to give area residents more information about the services provided at KU MedWest.

Tree topping marks tallest point on Nursing Education Building

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With the help of the tower crane and construction workers' expertise, a live spruce tree was lifted to the southeast corner of the roof of the Nursing Education Building. With structural construction complete, workers can now focus their efforts on the interior of the building.
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No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. And no, it's not an early Christmas decoration. It really is a live spruce tree sitting atop the southeast corner of the new Nursing Education Building.
The tree was hoisted to the top of the building March 29 to mark the completion of structural construction. The "tree topping" ceremony, a tradition among construction workers, commemorates the end of one stage-completing structural work to the tallest point of the building-and the beginning of another-exterior masonry and internal construction.
The tree will remain on the roof for about two weeks, when it will be removed by the tower crane. The tree will eventually be planted on the grounds of the building with a commemorative plaque.
The ceremony also provided a prime opportunity for School of Nursing administrators to announce another important development: office assignments in the new building for all faculty members. The 82,000 sq. ft. building is expected to be open by late August.

Executive Forum

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Between where we were . . . and where we are going

By Jon Jackson
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
KU Hospital

Historically, health care delivery at KU Hospital has made it difficult for referring physicians and patients to reach us. Once here, the services have been inconvenient, the environment "dreary" and there's little "customer service."
There's a simple strategy to address these issues. First, we must make it easier for people to have a KU physician be their physician. Then, we must make changes in our facility to make it user friendly, brighter and more comfortable. Changes have already been made. However, much more must be accomplished, in a short time-frame.
The new Burnett Burn Center demonstrates how patient-focused care is delivered … it focuses on the patients and their families. The most advanced treatment and technology are delivered where they are needed, and families are part of the approach.
Operationally, our internal systems must work more efficiently to have a more responsive, customer-service focus. This can be gained through new systems and new technology. A good example is the Materials Management area, which has employed new technology, training and new processes to provide supplies more quickly and accurately.
Customer service is key. We are developing a program using national benchmarks and materials. It will take many changes, but with the new Authority Board's mission and vision, it is now possible to achieve a new culture and the environmental and operational changes needed.
We have many more steps to take before we reach our goals. However, from opening new services to renovating the facility, progress is being steadily achieved.

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Creating a Nursing Education Building for the 21st century

By Karen L. Miller, RN, PhD, FAAN
Dean, School of Allied Health
Dean and Professor, School of Nursing

The tree topping of the Nursing Education Building earlier this week brings us one step closer to the realization of a long-held dream-a building that will carry nursing education at KU Medical Center into the next millennium.
The new building is a testament to the tenacity and vision of faculty, school leaders, university executives and Kansas legislators who understand the need for superior nursing education to meet the increasing demands of health care.
The KU School of Nursing has long been recognized for excellence. Such sources as U.S. News and World Report, Time magazine and CNN have ranked it among the top schools of nursing nationwide, and lauded its achievements in distance education. In recent years, the school has expanded its presence in the Virtual Classroom, which eliminates distance as a barrier to advanced nursing education. Practicing RNs will soon have access to KU's totally on-line BSN completion program. The school is also a leader in nursing research, ranking among the top schools of nursing in 1998 to receive National Institutes of Health funding for science in our discipline.
With today's rapidly changing health care environment, technology will play a crucial role in education. The new building is designed to promote interdisciplinary clinical education for all students at KUMC. As we observe the "topping out" of the building this week, we feel pride in our 93 years of accomplishments thus far, and anticipation of what is yet to come. With the new KU Nursing Education Building, the sky's the limit!

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Preskorn leads KUMC-Wichita Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Sheldon Preskorn, MD, professor and vice chair, has been selected as chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. Dr. Preskorn also is director of the school's outpatient clinic.
Renowned for his expertise in pharmacological research, Dr. Preskorn has advised drug regulatory agencies in Australia, China, Japan, Sweden and the European Commission about development or approval of psychiatric medications. He is president and director of the Psychiatric Research Institute, and medical director for the Center for Phase I Research, both at Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis campus. Dr. Preskorn is a KU graduate.

Weigel to speak on ‘Your Health’
John Weigel, MD, professor of surgery-urology division, will appear on the KFEZ radio program "Your Health" on Saturday, April 3. The program features medical professionals from throughout the community taking calls from listeners. Dr. Weigel will speak on impotence. The program airs 9 to 10 a.m. on 1340 AM.

Koller, Pahwa among keynote speakers at Parkinson's symposium
Richard Koller, MD, PhD, chair of the KUMC Department of Neurology, and Rajesh Pahwa, MD, assistant professor of neurology, will be among the keynote speakers during a free educational symposium on Parkinson's disease April 26. The event, at the Ararat Shrine, is co-sponsored by the KUMC Department of Neurology and the Parkinson Association of Greater Kansas City as part of their observance of National Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month in April.
KUMC is known nationally for its expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease.

SEAD presents final program of year
Speakers from all viewpoints of the abortion issue will be featured during the Students Educating and Advocating for Diversity's (SEAD) final program this year. The forum, "Seeking Common Ground: A dialogue about abortion," will be noon to 2 p.m., April 6 in Rieke Auditorium. It will feature speakers ranging from a physician who has changed his mind about abortion to a pastor to a woman who has had an abortion. David Calkins, MD, senior associate dean for education, will moderate the discussion. Lunch will be provided.
Those who would like to suggest a question or topic for discussion can post it at the SEAD web site,, by clicking on "Discussion Groups."

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Baxter shares expertise on ephedra
Adrienne Baxter, MS, RD, LD, shared her expertise about the currently popular weight loss product Metabolife™ during a recent television broadcast, "That Magic Pill: Metabolife 356 ™." During the program, Baxter discussed the benefits and risks associated with the use of ephedra, the primary ingredient of the diet pill. Though it helps in weight loss, she said, ephedra could result in restlessness, lack of control, even violent emotional outbursts in some people. For that reason, parents of small children should avoid ephedra, due to documentation of abusive behavior among people taking the pill. Nutrition Information Service dieticians also discourage use of ephedra by pregnant or lactating women and people who have anxiety, heart disease, thyroid disease without monitoring, depression or high blood pressure.
Baxter also was interviewed by WDAF Channel 4's Meryl Lin McKean for a story on Viactive, a calcium supplement that comes in a chewy, chocolate form.

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Boy's bicycle, Magna RX series, 23", 18-spd., index shifting, Falcon derailers, extra gel pad seat, good cond., $70. Call 531-6183.
Roto-tiller, Merry Tiller, belt drive, $75 OBO. Call 631-5601.
1980 Starcraft 20-ft. inboard/outboard Mercruiser, 228 HP, deep V open bow, tandem roller trailer plus extras, $4,000 OBO. Call 734-2279 after 5 p.m.
Coach briefcase, British tan in exc. cond., was $350 new, $100. Weider home gym w/seven stations, like new, $250 OBO. Call 468-6996.
35 mm Pentax 3000 camera w/tripod, flash assembly, 50 mm lens, 210 mm lens, 52 mm polarizer, and case w/shoulder strap, perfect cond., $150. Call 561-0139.
Queen Anne dining room table and six chairs w/hutch, cherry wood, $1,200. Queen Anne bedroom set w/king-size bed/mattress, high boy, triple dresser, two night stands, cherry wood $1,500. Call 345-8774.
1990 Dodge Daytona ES, 2-dr. auto, white, sporty and beautiful, runs well, clean, 112K miles, $2,650 OBO. 1994 Pontiac Sunbird, 2-dr., auto, green, A/C, AM/FM cassette, 123K miles, $3,750. Call 831-4204.
1992 Mazda MX-3, V-6, red sports car, all power, alarm, 75K mostly freeway miles, one owner, always garaged, exc. fast car, all service records, new tires & battery, $5,999 OBO, must sell. Call 816-444-9366.
Reliable transportation: 1990 T-bird, $3,600 OBO. 1986 Honda Prelude si, $2,000 OBO. 1984 Toyota Celica, $2,950 OBO. All in exc. cond. and mileage. Call Cory at 833-8815 or e-mail <>.
For Sale: Shawnee townhome, 3-BR, 1 1/2 bath, 2-car garage, large fenced yard, subdiv. pool, fin. Basement, 7120 Flint, $118,000. Call 962-1588.
Roommate wanted to share 3-BR, 2- BA house in Shawnee, attached garage, washer/dryer, access to clubhouse and pool, two phone lines so you can have your own, separate living room also available, female preferred, I have one child and one cat, both housebroken, price negotiable. Call Lori, 962-6508.
For Sale: 3-BR, 2 BA, 8-year-old house, 9915 W. 51st, open noon-5 p.m. Sunday, $119,950. Call 262-7257.
Free to good home(s) due to owner moving: two cats, one black female, one calico long-haired female, both spayed, both approx. 4 years old. Call 822-0592.
Firewood, you cut. Call 642-4174 after 4:30 p.m.
Seeking 9-to-14 year-olds for EEGs. Participation involves two-hour visit to Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. For more information, contact Jennifer Hill Karrer, ext. 5956.

coming up

Friday, April 2:
•    Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds, "Mind and Brain During the Scientific Revolution," 10:30 a.m., Clendening Amphitheater.
•    Catholic Holy Week Services, 4:45 p.m., Spencer Chapel.
Sunday, April 4:
•    Catholic Mass, 10 a.m., Spencer Chapel.
•    Non-denominational services, 11:30 a.m., Spencer Chapel.
Tuesday, April 6:
•    Kansas Cancer Institute Research Round Table, "The Insulin-Like Growth System in Prostate Cancer," noon, Lied Auditorium.
•    Breast Cancer Weight Control Support Group, noon-1 p.m., Radiation Oncology Conference Room.
•    Cognitive Therapy Addiction Treatment, 1-2:30 p.m., Family Medicine Office.
•    Center on Aging Research Seminar, "Falls Post-Stroke and Functional Performance for Stroke Assessment," 4-5 p.m., Clendening Amphitheater.
Wednesday, April 7:
•    Diabetes Self-Management Series, 9-11 a.m. 1107 KU Hospital.
•    KUMC Interfaith meeting, "Theological/Emotional/Spiritual Dynamics of Suicide," noon-1 p.m., 4893 Eaton.
•    Anxiety Support Group, 4-5 p.m., Adult Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic, $10 fee. Call Edward Hunter, PhD, at 588-1300 before attending your first meeting.
Thursday, April 8:
•    Research seminar, "Where are the Prevention and Population Health Faculty in U.S. Medical Schools?" noon-1 p.m. G567 KU Hospital.
•    Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiver’s Workshop, 4:30 - 7:40 p.m., Delp Cafeteria.
•    Breast Cancer Support Group, 5:30-7 p.m., Wahl Hall West.

Donald Hagen, MD - Executive Vice Chancellor KUMC
Irene Cumming - CEO and President KU Hospital
Ken Arnold - Editor
Leslie Champlin - Writer
Jim Burton - Graphic Designer

IN THE CENTER is the employee and student publication of the University of Kansas Medical Center. It is published weekly by the office of Public Relations and Marketing. The deadline for submitting news briefs is noon on the Thursday before they are to appear. Send story ideas to Ken Arnold, editor, G114 Hospital, or e-mail: <karnold> or call ext. 1298.

Ad Policy
Send or bring your ad to G114 KU Hospital, or fax to ext. 1225, or e-mail: <karnold> by noon Thursday of the week before it is to run. Ads run free of charge for employees, students and volunteers. For-sale ads are limited to three items. All ads must include the advertiser’s name and work extension (or medical student box number) for verification. Only home phone numbers–no pager numbers or KUMC extensions–will be published. No ads for commercial services or pets for sale will be accepted. Ads will not be taken by telephone. Only one phone number per ad. Ads may be held a week of space is limited.

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