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Adventist Midwest Health hosts international nurse consortium
Hinsdale – This October, the Adventist Midwest Health hospitals will host the 19th International Caritas Consortium, welcoming in nurses from all over the world.

The international consortium is facilitated by nursing theorist Dr. Jean Watson, in collaboration with the Watson Caring Science Institute. It will take place Oct. 10-11 at the Hyatt Lodge at the McDonald’s Campus, 2815 Jorie Blvd. in Oak Brook.

Already signed up for the event are nurses from North Carolina, New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado and South Africa.

Before the consortium, Watson will also pay a visit to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, 120 N. Oak St. in Hinsdale, to visit with the nursing staff and administration on Oct. 8. She’ll meet with members of the hospital’s caring council as well as nurse leaders before taking a tour of the hospital to see how it has implemented her theory, said Dr. Linda Ryan, director of Nursing Research and Caring Theory Integration at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

“Some of the units have made restorative spaces for their staff so they can go and take a breather during their work shift, to re-center themselves,” Ryan said. “We have an art cart for patients, and we want to show her that. The NICU also has a sibling art area.”

That afternoon, Watson then will provide a presentation to staff titled “Caring Theory/Caring Science.”

This is the first time the Adventist Midwest Health hospitals have hosted Watson’s consortium, Ryan said. Adventist Hinsdale was the first of the Adventist Midwest Health hospitals to adopt Watson’s theory about three and a half years ago.

“Caritas is a word that means to cherish and give loving attention to,” Ryan said. “Dr. Watson uses this as part of her theory to remind us that we are to cherish and give loving attention to those we serve, as well as to each other and to ourselves.”

When nurses do not take care of themselves properly, they are less able to give proper care to others. Watson’s theory is the only nursing theory that stresses the importance of self-care, Ryan said.

During the consortium, attendees will discuss Watson’s theory and how they use it in their personal lives and professional practice.

“People have told me they’re more aware of their interpersonal connections with patients and their families because of Watson’s work,” Ryan said. “They feel better about their profession.”

The nurses at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital studied various nursing theories before agreeing on Watson’s. By embracing a theory of nursing, nurses have a guide that helps with the care decisions they make every day, rather than depending solely on policies and procedures to guide them moment by moment, said Shawn Tyrrell, chief nursing officer at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital.

Watson’s theory focuses on the profound contribution that caring makes, Tyrrell said, for both the recipient of the care and for the caregiver. She recognizes that there’s a higher power, a source that is at play in all care interactions nurses are involved in. That view resonated with the hospital’s nursing staff.

“We believe that our work is a ministry of God,” Tyrrell said. “The nurses believe Watson’s views resonate with us because it’s who we are. It’s not who we want to become.”

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital is on its journey to achieve the Magnet Recognition Award™, granted by the American Nurse Credentialing Center. The adoption of the Watson Caring Theory provides an additional framework for the organization to sustain excellent health care outcomes, including high scores in both patient and nurse satisfaction.

Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey scores have also increased, Ryan said. These outcomes are foundational to Magnet Recognition requirements.

Adventist Midwest Health’s three other hospitals were encouraged to embrace the theory, as well. As a result, there has been a groundswell of support for using caring theory as an underpinning of nursing’s contribution to patient care excellence.

Part of the attraction of working with Watson’s theory is the ability to meet with her and discuss it, Tyrrell said. That’s why playing host to this year’s consortium is so exciting.

“We’re going to be able to share with an international group all of our lessons in caring,” Tyrrell said. “It’s a mutual sharing environment where you learn what other people have done that creates such incredible moments.”

Those interested in registering for the event can do so by visiting http://watsoncaringscience.org/event-registration/?regevent_action=register&event_id=3.

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Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.

Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals.

Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, christopher.lafortune@ahss.org; (630) 856-2354.