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You Make A Difference

May 20, 2004, Vol. II Issue 11

Dear Friends,

You make a difference. The results aren’t always reported on evaluation sheets or evident in financial reports. Whether it’s creating an event for your community or appreciating people, you may never know the impact you and your programs have on individual lives.

Many hospitals have just celebrated Nurses Week, recognizing the huge role of nurses in our communities (Did you know RN’s are the largest healthcare profession?). All good intentions aside, the challenge (or headache!) of finding ways to recognize and appreciate people whose shifts go 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, causes nursing management to reach for their creativity hats.

In this issue, we’ll share how one hospital in Indianapolis rises to the occasion. Also, for your future reference, we’re putting together a list of Nurses Week program speakers and topics, that will be available to FYWB readers and we’ll post it on our website.

It’s also Women’s Health Month, so I thought it would be fun to share a story about how one hospital’s event led to life changes for an audience member who is usually at the other end of the microphone.

And, the latest on the movie, SUPER SIZE ME. Have you seen it yet? It was released nationally last week. It’s a MUST see for those of us in the know!

Yours truly,

Nurses Just Want to Have Fun

A little shoulder rub, some good food and fun, music, movement, door prizes and a dose of integrative medicine. Oh, and did I mention CEU’s? That’s what St. Francis Hospitals and Health System in Indianapolis put together for their Nurses Week acknowledgement and celebration this year.

St. Francis has been recognizing their nurses for 12 years, Nancy Waggoner, Nurse Recruiter, told me. They offer the program four times over two consecutive workdays, 8 to 11 a.m. and Noon to 3 p.m. “We started out with all-day seminars, but our nurses told us that was too much sitting, so we listened to them and changed our format.”

With nurses at three different facilities, St. Francis holds their event off premises at a nearby banquet hall owned by an Italian family who serve fabulous homemade food.

Written invitations are sent to all the RN’s, LPN’s and nursing students. Nurses sign up with their managers, who register them on line. Flyers are also posted at each unit. The managers can assign half the staff to attend in the morning and the other half in the afternoon on two given days. “That way, most everyone has a chance to
attend if they desire,” Nancy said. “Some of the managers have required the weekend option nurses to work through the week to attend the seminar as additional nurse support to be able to send more nurses to the seminar.

“A couple of years ago, we added 2 massage therapists at the beginning of each seminar for 1 hour,” Nancy said. “As people are strolling in and waiting for the program to start, they can go over to a massage therapist and receive a 5 minute neck and back rub. They like that a lot.”

Nancy attributes the success of the program to several things: CEU’s offered, nurses are paid while attending the seminar, and the seminar is during the day so it’s not taking time away from their families. “We have learned that the nurses enjoy programs that are uplifting and fun. If they can laugh and cry during a seminar, then they have been touched. They all like to laugh and they don’t want to hear a lecture.”

Jana Stanfield, the guest speaker this year received accolades for everything, according to Nancy. In her program, “I’m Not Lost, I’m Exploring,” of original music and stories, she leads nurses to see themselves as explorers on the journey of a lifetime.

“Jana was awesome! She was very approachable and interactive with everyone,” Nancy said. “She had people both laughing and crying at various times in the program. Jana has a way of communicating with everyone in such a personable way and she offered several suggestions to promote group involvement, which we greatly appreciated.”

In one lively interactive segment, Jana led them through ideas for moving through anger “without injuring yourself or others.” “People talked about journaling, talking to friends, writing a nasty letter and then tearing it up, baking bread, exercising, and gardening.” Jana said. “When I asked one woman to say more about why gardening
was therapeutic for moving through anger, she lowered her voice and said, ‘You get to chop things off.’”

This year’s event also included a couple of unique twists. The nurses got a little dose of integrative medicine at each session. Dr. James P. Nicolai, MD, Director of The Franciscan Center for Integrative Health, explained how he works with patients on the non-medical aspects of healing, so nurses would have a better understanding of his involvement  and the process. He also acknowledged nurses for their role in healing. “You are already using integrative medicine,” he said. “You use it every day in the way you care for your patients.” The program is fairly new at St. Francis, so this was a way to familiarize the nurses with it.

In another creative twist, Michele Kuntz-Wood, Director of Women’s Services, led the nurses in Nia, a unique movement form that Michele discovered in the process of losing 80 pounds. (Editor’s note: Nia is my exercise of choice also, and that’s a whole ‘nother story for a future issue!) Michele got everyone up and moving, laughing and dancing, as Jana played along.

“Everything just flowed. Everyone loved the music and the message and as each session completed, Jana was there with ideas to help things flow better,” Nancy said.

“Door prizes were also a big hit! We spent about $500 on the door prizes, dividing them over the four sessions (gas cards, mall gift certificates, ice tea makers, candles, George Foreman grills, etc.) Everyone received a ticket when they arrived and they must be present to win. That kept most people there until the end,” Nancy said.

“Two weeks later, I am still having nurses walk up to me telling me how much they enjoyed the seminar this year. I had another one tell me that again this morning. She said this seminar was so unlike the others because of the activity and energy it produced.”

Not one to rest on her laurels, Nancy is very open to hearing what other hospitals are doing to celebrate and acknowledge their nurses. We’d love to hear your ideas and share them! Email me at

Caution: Nurses Week books up fast. To learn more about Jana’s Keynote Concerts for nurses, click here. Or, call me at 503-699-5031, and we can explore ideas together.

From the Audience to the Gym, Strong Woman Awakes

As a professional speaker, Nancy Coey is usually at the other end of the microphone at a hospital Women’s Health Day. This time, however, she was in the audience listening to a talk on “Women and Bone Health” when the speaker mentioned Dr. Miriam Nelson’s book, “Strong Women Stay Young.” Nancy admits that at age 50, it was the “youth” word that got her attention.

Enormously encouraged by the fact that weight training brings benefits no matter how long you have put it off (FOREVER, she says!), Nancy bought the book and was off to the sporting goods store to buy some weights. In the spirit of a strong woman to be, she chose some pretty pink and purple ones over the industrial looking gray things. Works for me.

After a few months of “pumping iron” on her own, she got lonesome and joined a gym. “This is the same woman who started out just buying a book,” she says. “The strength training class was called ‘Cut’ and I didn’t know what that meant. My son explained, ‘Mom, when you’re all cut up, you’re buff, muscled.’ So the class hasn’t even started yet and already I’ve learned something.” Here’s more of her story:

“I was the oldest in the room and quickly found my special spot in the back corner. In the beginning, the instructor said, ‘Stop anytime you need a break’ looking right at me. But that didn’t last long; within a month I was just another member of the class. And each month I was lifting heavier and heavier weights.

“If the story ended right here I would already have more to thank that presenter for (and, of course, the hospital who sponsored the day) than I could ever repay, but the story continues. Mainly because you can’t go into a gym twice a week for over two years and not notice all the machines you pass on the way to the exercise room. Now, most of those machines are scary; I’m afraid that I’d be exercising the wrong muscles in the wrong way (pushing out, for example, instead of pulling in), but how wrong can you go with a treadmill?

“And here’s another sumptuous thing. If you are of a certain age (a mature, grown-up woman) you can go to the gym whenever you want, and wear whatever you want, because you are invisible.

“Picture this: You’re on a treadmill and the place is jammed with young people. All manner of young people. Some intent on their workout; some intent on socializing. Quite a few seem lonely. So sometimes you get teary-eyed as your inner eye goes back to the confused and confusing time of your own youth, or that of your children, or you start thinking about that good man who works awfully hard and who didn’t get much of a dinner because you wanted to get to the gym, or about your friend who has cancer and you think of something you can do for her, or suddenly you know how to solve the problem that has subconsciously been bothering you all day, or, or, or . . .

“And all of a sudden you look down and see that you’ve hit 200 calories. (What a surprise! The last time you looked it read 57).And you’re almost sorry because you’re cookin’ now.”

Don’t you just want to cheer her on? Nancy’s journey started because a hospital had a Women’s Health Day and she chose to be there. In celebration of Women’s Health Month, we say YES to your events and programs. The programs you orchestrate in your community, large and small, from support groups to conferences, make a difference, a life-changing, long-lasting difference, one woman at a time.

Nancy Coey, a former college teacher of writing and public speaking, is a professional speaker who specializes in speaking at women’s wellness events, and to teachers and nurses. Her most requested topic is “Finding Gifts in Everyday Life.” For more information, call 503-699-5031 or write me at


At last, SUPER SIZE ME, Morgan Spurlock’s award-winning documentary about his experiment with a self-induced month-long diet of McDonald’s fast food, is being released nationally.

If you’re in the health business, you’ve got to go see it. I doubt you will be stopping at McDonald’s on your way home (or anytime soon for that matter). There was so much in this movie, I can’t begin to summarize it in this small space. I’m happy to see the obesity-fast food connection make it to the big screen, as I think he did a commendable job with it. In the process, he gained 25 pounds, sent his cholesterol skyrocketing and almost suffered liver failure. From the beginning, he had three separate doctors, and an RD monitoring his progress. It was amazing to see their amazement as not only his health stats, but his vitality (including his libido) waned. It was evident that the doctors did not expect such dramatic results.

Throughout the movie, Spurlock poses serious sociological and political questions taking us, between meals, to visit school lunch programs and a corporate board room. The sad part is that the people who need to see it probably won’t be the ones attracted to the theatre. James Greenberg of the Hollywood Reporter called it “A cautionary tale for kids. It’s lively and funny enough to hold their attention while delivering an important message.” My advice: Grab your family and go see it NOW, as it may not be in theaters long. You can find reviews, a preview and a theater near you at

As Spurlock illustrates aptly in his movie, McDonald’s is everywhere. I was flipping through the June issue of “O” magazine last night when an ad headline, “It’s So Easy to Go Active!” caught my eye. This was merely the teaser to a 4-page spread touting McDonald’s new Go Active Meals. When I first heard about this program (these are Happy Meals for adults including a premium salad, bottled water and a StepometerTM), I thought, hey, maybe they are serious about making changes. Then I heard on the news, that these meals are only available through the first week of June. Huh? Talk about a quickie.

Well, what can you expect from a company that shows a woman carrying her Go Active meal, walking up the stairs, in sling-backed high heeled shoes? And the copy reads, “Given how good I’m feeling, I just might make it to the moon and back.” Not in those shoes! These people need a reality check, or at least a copywriter who doesn’t write down to adults.

Until next time, go to a healthy movie, walk in sensible shoes, and be good to yourself for your well being and those you love. We appreciate you because you make a difference!

My vision for The Speak Well Being Group is to be a connector for speakers I know, love and believe in, with the audiences who will be inspired, motivated, and transformed by their perspectives, knowledge, empathy, compassion, information and, most importantly, capacity to enjoy the  process, laughing at themselves and with you along the way.

You’ll find many of our speakers on our website.

Or please call anytime and let us assist you: 503-699-5031

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