Dr. Rodney Smith, Chairman of the Board, Shares Parting Words

Dr. Rodney Smith

Dr. Rodney Smith

Today was Dr. Rodney Smith’s final meeting as Chairman of Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals’ Board of Trustees. He has been on the Board for decades and served as Chairman for a number of those years. He is an inspirational leader who always found the best in people and this organization. He leaves behind a lasting imprint through the work he did both as a pulmonologist and as Board Chairman. I am personally thankful to have served under his leadership. During his last Board meeting he shared some poignant words that I asked him to share for all to read. Here is what he said:

“On this occasion of my last meeting as a CJW Board Member, I would like to let you, my colleagues, know how honored and privileged I feel to have served on and with this Board. I’m not sure exactly how long my tenure has been, but I believe that Tommy Johns was the Chair and Wyke Lyne was the Administrator when I was first asked to serve, probably in the 80’s. I could bore you with the musings of an old man as I look back over all those years, but I won’t. Some of you have to go to work. But I would like to say a couple of things.

First, let me say that, although I haven’t served on many Boards, I can’t believe that I would find any with more committed and engaged members. I marvel at your insights and diverse perspectives which continue to allow this body to maintain its relevance and importance to CJW and HCA. Thank you for what you bring to this table where hope is restored, healing offered, and comfort dispensed.

Second, it has been interesting to witness the evolution of the business of medicine over the past few years. And from what I can see, keep your seatbelts on, for as Confucius would say, we are just starting to live in interesting times. We live quarter to quarter with our investors. We live one to five to ten years out as we strategically plan for the future, endeavoring to assure our financial viability and trying to anticipate what needs our community will have as we age and change and get sick in new and challenging ways and, dare I say, how we might react to our competitors’ strategies. We live day to day, operationally. Do we have enough medicines, blankets, bread, heat, nurses, etc? The business of medicine is complex and critically important, but we, and now you, as a Board must always remember that our primary and only useful function is to provide a platform upon which, and an environment in which, the practice and profession of medicine can take place. It’s about people and their families and their hurts and their illnesses and their fears and their struggles at the most vulnerable times of their lives. And they come to us. And we gather at the bedside, and sometimes we cure and sometimes we heal and sometimes we can’t, but we can always comfort. People come to us assuming competence and quality of care. It is up to us, all of us around this table, to, not only confirm that faith in our competency, but to pursue and assure and deliver excellence of care in each of those encounters. What we do is difficult but what we do matters, more so than anything else we could do in this life that does not involve eternal destiny. Serious business, but aren’t we blessed to be a part of this all? Thank you for the part that each of you plays in this noble endeavor.

So just when that last metric or guideline or spreadsheet threatens to suck the last drop of life out of you, retreat to the bedside and observe what’s happening and who is there and what you are a part of, and perhaps the Joy that is such a part of this season of the year will touch you and lift you and sustain you.”

I welcome you to share any thoughts you have about Dr. Smith’s impact on CJW as a reply on the blog.

Are You Ready?

In recent years it feels like holiday shopping has gotten a little easier, not because there is a reduced interest in presents from my children (ages 7, 9, and 11), but because of the ease of online shopping. There is always something about the season that really brings out the best in people. I see more glimpses of people letting their guard down and allowing their full personality show through.

Brandon, Lynn, & Tim

Brandon, Lynn, & Tim

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I have the distinct advantage of having patient letters mailed directly to me to tell me about the positive impact of the care teams at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals. The letters convey a true connection between the patient who is often here during a medical crisis and one of our associates who does their job every day with compassion for those they serve.

With that compassion in mind we tried to give back a little bit with our annual holiday meal for our employees, volunteers, and physicians. The leadership team signed up to serve meals and, more importantly, say thank you to each of you who go above and beyond to improve the lives of our patients during their brief time in our hospitals.

Thank you for all that you do. You are truly difference makers and it is so appreciated. I hope you are able to take time off to spend with your family and friends over the season. That time is incredibly important to refocus on the priorities of family. We know you spend so much of your waking hours in our four walls and it is important you know how fortunate we are that you chose CJW. Have a great holiday and be safe.

Recognizing Thanksgiving

This week our country celebrates Thanksgiving, which is a great time to just pause, reflect and appreciate what we have in our lives. It is easy to get caught up in our challenges and stressors and forget how fortunate we are in our personal lives, in our community and at Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals (CJW).

A quick fact check on Wikipedia showed that the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621.  It was officially recognized as a Federal Holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.  A lot has changed since those times, but the fundamental tenet of recognizing the importance of being thankful hasn’t. So, I asked the Executive team at CJW to briefly share their thoughts on what they are thankful for this year.


Brandon Haushalter, CEO Johnston Willis:

I am thankful to have been blessed with such a wonderful wife and two beautiful little boys.  As they continue to grow and develop I am continually amazed with the true joy of being a father.  I am also thankful to have the opportunity professionally to work with great people first at Chippenham and now at Johnston-Willis.  This has been a big year of transition, but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the new relationships I have developed and very thankful for the opportunity.


Chad Christianson, Chief Operating Officer – Chippenham Hospital

I have an incredible amount to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.  I am thankful that my wife’s pregnancy has been a happy and healthy one as we look forward to welcoming our 3rd son in December.  I am thankful for my two little boys Caden (6) and Chance (3) who continue to grow and each day, I could not be more proud of them both and they bring Ansley and I so much happiness.  This year has been one of great change and I am very thankful to the Chippenham teams for making my family and I feel so welcome.  I am very fortunate to be part of such a caring organization that has a great history of providing high quality compassionate care to the Richmond community.


Dr. Michael Menen, Chief Medical Officer

Every evening, my family tries to have dinner together. Before we eat we always tell each other what we are most grateful for in our day. Taking this moment opens our eyes to the multitude of blessings that continually surround us. I am so thankful for this moment with my family.

MINTON, Trula_pp

Trula Minton, Chief Nursing Officer – Chippenham Hospital

I have so many blessings for which I am grateful. First of all, I am thankful for my health and that of my family and friends. I am thankful for the many opportunities offered to me each day to be a productive human being who is able to contribute to the collective good of the world. I am thankful for being able to have another year of being a colleague of the people at CJW who provide comfort and healing each day. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to “cuddle” a NICU baby and make him smile and sleep.


Sandy Aderholt, Chief Nursing Officer – Johnston-Willis Hospital

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to lead nursing at Johnston-Willis Hospital.  This has truly been a rewarding experience and one that I am truly grateful for, as I am so excited to be working with our phenomenal nursing team every day.   Personally, I am so blessed to have such a supportive husband that supports my career and finally, I am truly thankful for my most rewarding role ever….. to have raised three loving sons that make me smile and laugh on a daily basis!

STRADER, Lynn_pp

Lynn Strader, Chief Financial Officer

What a wonderful year this has been and there is so much to be thankful for.  I am truly thankful for my husband and 2 wonderful sons, both of whom will be home from college to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family.  I am thankful for health and happiness and wish that for everyone. What else is there!

BLAIR,Betsy Ann

Betsy Blair, Chief Operating Officer – Tucker Pavilion

Upon awakening, I recite the mantra/prayer, “I thank you, God, for most this amazing, most this amazing day”. This recital helps to commit my focus and realization that each day is a gift, full of offerings and choices.  It reminds me to live responsibly in my freedom, show gratitude for all things present, and abide in my true self.  I wish all a Happy Thanksgiving and hope the holiday can offer you restoration and peace.


Tim McManus, Chief Executive Officer – Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Hospitals

When I reflect on this last year a couple of thoughts immediately come to mind for things I am thankful for in my life. I am incredibly blessed and fortunate to have a wife and three children that make my day, every day. The time I get to spend with them is a gift. In many ways I wish I could just freeze this point in my life because I come home from work and get the warmest embraces from my children as if I  had been away for months.

I am thankful for a great year of health.  My whole life I have heard people be thankful for good health and it wasn’t until I got sick 5 years ago that I realized what that really meant. This year for the first time I publicly shared my personal medical journey with Cardiac Sarcoidosis.  I have had my best health year yet!

I am thankful for what I get to see and hear from employees and patients at CJW every day.  When I am feeling challenged by issues at work, I take a break and round through the hospital. It is a great reminder that this is a lot more than just a job.  The work done in our hospitals is truly life changing and I get to see it first-hand.

What are you thankful for this year?

CJW’s March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Winners

The March of Dimes annually awards Nurse of the Year in seventeen key disciplines to recognize exceptional nurses. These awards are derived from a highly competitive process that requires nurses to go through a comprehensive state-wide nominating and selection process.  Chippenham & Johnston-Willis was fortunate to have 3 of the 17 winners come from our hospitals. I asked the leaders of our winning nurses to share more about these exceptional women. Here is what they wrote:

Critical Care Nurse of the Year: Emily Mochan, RN

Emily Mochan

Emily Mochan

Emily is the Director of Cardiovascular ICU, Cardiovascular Step Down, and Interventional Cardiology Care Unit. Emily has been an employee at Chippenham Hospital for 4 years and has served in various roles: Central Resource Pool RN, Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Educator, Clinical Coordinator, and her current role of Nurse Director. In all roles, Emily consistently looks for innovative ways to transform the care of bedside clinical practice. Emily was instrumental in creating Chippenham’s LVAD program by forming a multidisciplinary team and numerous evidenced-based clinical guidelines to care for that high risk patient population. In Emily’s current role as the Director, she helped improve the outcomes of cardiac surgery patients by focusing on earlier extubation and a more collaborative coordination of care with nursing, respiratory therapy, pharmacy, and the Cardiac surgeons. Through this achievement, Chippenham has been recognized by the Society of Thoracic Surgery as a Top Performer in ventilator outcomes. In addition, Emily was recognized just recently by the HCA Division Office for partnering with Henrico Doctors’ to drive this performance improvement across the market. Emily is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and the American Organization for Nurse Executives (AONE). Emily’s compassion and innovative approach to patient care makes her an invaluable member of our team.

Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year: Kim Wilson, RN

Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson

Kim is the Director of Clinical Services, Tucker Intake with extensive clinical and managerial experience in the field of Behavioral Health. Kim’s advocacy for the patients, families, employees and community is second to none. Kim serves on the Chesterfield Crises Intervention Training subcommittee team and serves as host site at Chippenham Hospital. Kim offers partnership to National Alliance for Mentally Ill (NAMI) Virginia which facilitates impactful programs at Tucker. Kim is also active with Family Advocacy Creative Education and Services (FACES), a local non- profit family support and education advocacy network. Kim sits on the Virginia Hospital & Health Association Behavioral Health’s state subcommittee for the 2014 Bed Registry and the Local Inpatient Purchase of Services task force. Kim’s leadership was instrumental in the implementation of the Crises Triage Center which opened in October 2013 at Chippenham’s Emergency Room. In this implementation, Kim partnered with Chesterfield Community Services Board , Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, local magistrates, police, and dignitaries to open the first multijurisdictional triage center in the Commonwealth. As a result of this work, Kim was awarded the Chesterfield Community Services Board service partnership award in 2013, along with Betsy Blair and Rich Shelton who also provided leadership for CTC implementation. Kim achieved certification in Mental Health First Aid in 2013. Above all competencies and expertise, the distinguishing quality that sets Kim apart is her absolute compassion for people who are impacted by mental disorders, whether that is the patient, their families, the physician, community advocacy groups, or her employees. Kim stops at nothing to get people connected to the services they need whether that is due to a crisis or a life- long chronic recovery journey.

Pediatric Nurse of the Year, Lori Stump, RN

Lori Stump

Lori Stump

Lori Stump has been an active member of Chippenham Hospital’s Pediatric Department since 1995. Lori has a passion for her patients and their families, staff education, and evidence-based process improvements.  Lori’s dedication to the PICU and Pediatric floor is evident in her projects; Lori leads the annual Pediatric Skills Fair, chairs the Pediatric Nurse Practice Council, and is an active member of the hospital-based Shared Governance Professional Practice Council for the greater Richmond area. Lori’s desire to advance practice at the bedside inspires many; she has been recognized the last two years as a nominee for March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, winning the title this year. Lori makes it a point to do the right thing for the patients and encourages others to do the same. Lori works with colleagues to provide education to families, Pediatric staff, and the community and evidence-based practice in our Pediatric policies. Lori has provided several lectures on pediatric critical care to pediatric ED staff, EMS providers, and even traveled to Hampton Roads to speak at the Tidewater Emergency Medical System Conference. It is Lori’s goal to continue to work at the bedside and care for pediatric patients and their families; she will continue to be an informal leader on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric floors as a Clinician 5 (the highest level) as she helps us strive for excellence.

Congratulations, Emily, Lori and Kim. We are all very proud of your accomplishment and more importantly proud to have you on our exceptional clinical team.

Little Things Make a Difference

Mike Barrett

Mike Barrett

Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. I was touched this week by an example of one of our nurses, Mike Barrett, RN, finding a way to exceed the expectations of one patient’s special request. The type of personal connection that Mike made with this patient is one that will last long after the patient’s stay at Chippenham Hospital.

Beth Torres is one of our great nurse directors who rounds religiously to make sure that our patients are having a positive experience. While rounding this week she met Ada Carter. Subsequently, Ms. Carter gave us permission to share her story. During the visit, Beth asked Ada if she needed anything, she said, “No, but I want to show you something.” Ada went back to her bed and came to the door with a stuffed homemade Teddy Bear. This unique Teddy Bear was made from yellow hospital socks and the protective sleeves we use to cover IV sites. The bear had an ID badge made of a compass recognition card star, a badge holder, and a RN tag. The patient was beaming when she told Beth that her night shift nurse, Mike Barrett, had made it for her. Several of her friends had brought her frog stuffed animals (there were 3 on her bedside table). She commented to Mike that she wished she had something other than a frog. Mike took the time and showed great creativity in making her “Chipotle,” her name for the bear. Ms. Carter shared that it, “takes a lot to make me emotional. When Mike gave me the bear, I teared-up.” Beth asked for her permission to come back and take a picture of the bear. Ada stated that she wanted to be in the picture with the bear. When Beth returned with the camera, she was lying in bed cuddling with her bear—that is how she wanted her picture taken. She was so impressed with it, she even called her 19 year old son to tell him what Mike had done.

Ada Carter snuggling her bear

Ada Carter snuggling her bear

These are the moments that you could never script. Mike found a way to make a personal connection and create a lasting impression. I appreciate all of the little things and, of course, all of the big things that the teams at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis do each day to make staying in a hospital more personal. These real connections make all the difference in the world. Thanks Mike.

The Most Difficult Decision: Brittany Maynard’s Choice.

You couldn’t turn on the news this past month without hearing the heart breaking and controversial story of Brittany Maynard, a 29 year old woman from California who found out she had a terminal diagnosis of a stage IV, malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma multiforme. She was diagnosed shortly after her wedding in January 2014. It is hard to imagine a more difficult situation than being faced with your own mortality at such a young age. She and her husband moved to Oregon from California because it is one of five states that has a Dying with Dignity law (Washington, New Mexico, Vermont, and Montana are the others). In 1994, Oregon was the first U.S. state to make it legal for a doctor to prescribe a life-ending drug to a terminally ill patient of sound mind who makes the request. The patient must swallow the drug without help; it is illegal for a doctor to administer it. More than 750 people in Oregon have used the law to die as of Dec. 31, 2013. The median age of the deceased is 71, only six were younger than 35. Unfortunately, Brittany’s diagnosis has an average life expectancy of about 14 months. She made the decision to end her life after realizing she did not want the disease to control it. She had been suffering crippling headaches and then seizures; she wanted to end things on her own terms.

Brittany made a bucket list and accomplished her final goal on October 21st – to see Grand Canyon. She ended her life on Saturday, November 1st, the day after her husband’s birthday, by taking a cocktail prescription given to her by a doctor. She ended her life as she intended – peacefully in her bedroom, surrounded by her loved ones.

Her final goodbyes have gone viral and she has brought much awareness to end-of-life rights by working with Compassion & Choices and the Brittany Maynard Fund.


I realize there are very strong opinions on the ethical implications of this decision. I, for one, don’t begin to judge as I haven’t lived that experience and am not sure what I would do if faced with a similar circumstance. I asked Susanne Colligon, Director of the Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital (located within Johnston-Willis Hospital), to share her insight and thoughts. Susanne has the unique opportunity to meet patients and family members every day who are on some part of the care spectrum from diagnoses to treatment and cures and, in some cases, death. Here is what she shared:

“The decision to end your life is a tremendously personal one. We first need to understand if the patient is depressed and not making this critical decision under the fog of melancholy. We have no idea the pain she was enduring and her thoughts of her continuing to live in pain, more seizures, and becoming incapacitated. So the question is- do you have the right to choose to end your life when you have a terminal illness? In my 24 years I have seen some awful, painful deaths that ended miserably for the patients and the families watching them die. I believe this is where Palliative Care and Hospice can be so critical in giving the family and patient a “Good Death”. A good death is whatever the patient deems it to be, keeping them comfortable decreasing symptoms and giving support.

I have been an oncology nurse for 24 years. I started my career in Pediatric Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and have seen many young people die with terminal illnesses. Treatment options have improved greatly in the last 24 years.

My father-in-law, John Fessick, was a Vice President of sales for IBM, he was a well-educated, stubborn, hardworking man. At the time of his diagnosis he was only a few months from retirement. He started slurring his words and had some weakness with swallowing. After many months of not knowing his diagnosis they finally realized he had Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS. He went from being completely independent to a person that could not go to the bathroom by himself or even eat any of his favorite foods. He suffered loss of speech, inability to swallow, and could only tolerate PEG tube-feedings. He constantly needed assistance with all his ADLs. He fought for any shred of independence he could get. For a man that controlled his entire world everything had been taken away from him. Hid mind was still sharp as a pin however he could not communicate his wants or needs to us except with a dry erase board. It was one of the hardest things to see a loved one go through. He never complained or asked “why me?” He knew the outcome would be that he would eventually suffocate in his sleep. And that is what happened one cold March morning. He fought till the end.

I would have respected him either way, for the fight to carry on or the will to let go. It was his decision, not mine, to make. The only consolation was that I knew he died the way he wanted, fighting all the way. Everyone is different and we need to respect their wishes. The family must live on with their choices for the rest of lives.

This is why the new state program “Respecting Choices” is so vitally important. Every individual needs to have a plan of what they want done in time of medical crisis. The Richmond Area Hospitals along with the Richmond Academy of Medicine are making this a reality in Richmond.”

To see more information go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIO3MDtnHQU

I realize these are difficult conversations and difficult choices. I am proud of the compassionate care shown at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals by the countless physicians and hospital staff. I strongly believe that healthcare is personal and as a provider of these services we need to find every way to support the needs of our patients and our care teams.

One Nurse Inspires Another

All of us can likely think of a significant event in our lives that changed us forever. For Jenni Johnson, RN on 4 East at Johnston-Willis Hospital, that event was the medical miracle of her only child’s, Wyatt’s, first year of life in 1995.

Baby Wyatt

Baby Wyatt

Jenni knew something was wrong with Wyatt’s breathing right away, but her pediatrician at the time suggested all was normal. Jenni insisted that more evaluation was needed so she brought him to Dr. Mary Falterman, Pediatric Cardiologist, who diagnosed Wyatt with a coarctation of the aorta, a congenital condition where the heart’s aorta is twisted like a sock, blocking 99% of the flow of blood. At the time Wyatt was 2.5 months old and weighed only 13 pounds. Jenni brought him to HCA’s Henrico Doctors’ Hospital where they cared for her baby for three months in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and, later, the Pediatric floor. During the long hospitalization, Dr. Gary Laughlin did the surgery to repair the aorta and put a band on his pulmonary artery.

Three days after his operation, Wyatt was being cared for Lori Stump, RN. Today, Lori is a nurse at Chippenham’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit after working for nearly 40 years in the profession. But on that day in 1995 Lori knew something was wrong with baby Wyatt. She called a Code Blue, signaling significant respiratory distress, and for 90 minutes she and the team worked to revive Wyatt and place a breathing tube to stabilize him. In the meantime, Jenni waited anxiously to hear an update on her baby’s condition. Lori eventually came to the waiting room, sat in the chair next to her, and said, “We got him back.” Even today, as Lori and Jenni shared their story with me, they get choked up relaying the details. It was as if they have been dear friends for many years. They both shared as a nurse you sometimes don’t realize the impact you have on your patients. This event was a great reminder.

Lori & Wyatt at Chippenham's PICU

Lori & Wyatt at Chippenham’s PICU

Eventually Wyatt fully recovered and has since led a healthy life. Recently he graduated from high school and is now attending John Tyler Community College with plans to transfer to Virginia Tech and graduate with a degree in nuclear engineering. Jenni always remembered how important Lori was to the care of her son so she orchestrated a surprise reunion where Wyatt dressed up in his cap and gown and showed up at Chippenham Hospital to celebrate his graduation with flowers and gifts. It was a perfect way to acknowledge Lori’s tremendous impact. Lori never forgets her patients like Wyatt. All these years later she recognized him from the infant she cared for in 1995.

Jenni & Lori

Lori & Jenni

Lori has done more than save Wyatt’s life. She inspires others. Jenni is quick to share that Lori is a role model for all nurses. Lori takes the responsibility of role model seriously and commented, “It is who you are, you have to nurture and create these bonds. Not everyone can do that.” In 2014, Lori achieved an elite certification as a RN Clinician 5, the highest achievement in skills at HCA.

Jenni shared her personal journey to becoming a nurse, which wasn’t until her late 30’s. She had dropped out of high school after the 9th grade and has lived on her own since she was 16. Eventually she got her GED. She always loved taking care of people and was managing an automotive shop where she was miserable in her career. She persevered and completed an associates RN program at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College while working full time to support her family. She was quickly promoted to clinical nurse coordinator by her Chief Nurse Officer, Sandy Aderholt, who saw something special during her first two years as an RN. Today, Jenni is actively working towards her Bachelor’s degree and plans to go on to get her Masters. She has her mind set on becoming a Chief Nurse Officer within 10 years.

I asked Jenni what she learned through the early experience with Wyatt’s health crises. She said, “Follow your gut instinct and always be an advocate for your own child.” Lori added, “Parents know best. A great nurse listens to the family. You really need to develop a personal relationship especially in pediatrics. You are taking care of not just the child, but also the mother and father. As a nurse you have to overextend yourself all the time. I will always be a bedside nurse taking care of patients. That is why I was put on this earth.”

It is an awesome responsibility to be a caregiver in an acute hospital setting. The 18 year story between Jenni and Lori is another reminder of the kindness, compassion, and excellence that embodies our nursing team at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals.