Sunday, June 11, 2017

I will be posting most of the time on my new blog Resilient Hearts Movie, join me there.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Latest Update

Lots of great things happening with the CARES Tool. The City of Hope National Medical Center has formally endorsed the tool and my Department of Supportive Services is going to take an active role in promoting the tools as part of our department. The MDs in my group are going to help with lectures and publications to get more physicians on board and to hopefully cover more lecturing opportunities. We are also going to meet with COH media people to transfer over all of the resources this web site provides so everything will be provided through City of Hope.

I am also in the process of editing Resilient Hearts and making a kind of spin-off to promote group discussions of the chapters and to focus more on the teaching tool potential of the book. My plan is to rename the book: Being Resilient: A Group Study Guide to Improve Understanding and Skills to Care for the Dying. I will provide discussion questions at the end of each chapter and will make all of the recommended edits of the current work (thanks all you OCDers for your in-put). I will also plan to develop a separate teaching guide.

The movie plans for Resilient Heats is still alive but with definite respiratory problems. If my focus changes to more of an additional tool for the Being Resilient project it may still happen. Time will tell.

I have proposals out for two major conferences and plan to chat with a lecturer that specializes in care of the dying. And, because I am not busy enough, I am studying to take a certification exam in Thanatology in November.

Well gotta run,
Take care!!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May Update

Wanted to check in as I gave out my web site to attendees of a Cognitive Behavioral Research conference held at City of Hope this last weekend. I found the program very helpful and feel more comfortable using deep breathing and guided imagery to help calm my anxious patients and to provide new options for pain control. I also learned about effective ways to minimize fatigue and insomnia.

My next lecture will be on June 1st at City of Hope to help educate bedside nurses to provide compassionate evidence-based end of life care based on my CARES Tool. Teams of trained nurses will be established on the 4th and 5th floors. I am thrilled the CARES Tool is slowly being utilized throughout City of Hope.

I was honored to find out Huntington Memorial in Pasadena is going house wide with the CARES Tool in June as part of their effort to improve care of the dying at their institution, and I love the re-design they developed for the tool.

So, as you can see all continues to go forward.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
Take care.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

New Port Beach Lecture

Had the pleasure of giving a lecture on care of the dying at the California NP conference in Newport Beach, CA today. It was a three hour workshop on the CARES Tool. I provided a background on the Tool and tried to focus on educating how the body shuts down during the dying process so the NP can help family members differentiate between a normal dying process and suffering, and the importance of being a patient advocate.

It went well. My favorite part was the opportunity to have the participants share what they hoped to learn and their backgrounds. We all bring so much to what we do. It is so important to be self aware and to really embrace self-care. We truly cannot help others if we can't take care of ourselves. We are immersed in caring for the sickest and will confront deep sadness and loss on a regular basis. Nurses must accept the reality of burn out, professional grief, and "ride the dragon" so we can embrace the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. Our greatest skill is our ability to share our humanity and compassion and accept with this comes the need to remain vulnerable. Care of the dying is a gift, and I believe as health care providers we get so much more from our interactions with the dying and their families than we can ever give.

It was a pleasure meeting fellow NPs interested in improving their care of the dying. I hope to hear more from them in the future.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Staying Busy

Thought I should up-date on my projects and lectures, and what has been happening with the CARES Tool.

  • I just finished the first draft of an extended CARES Tool for friends and family. The original version was designed to directly complement the original CARES Tool. It was intended to explain/expand upon what the nurse was doing; but I realized it couldn't stand alone without a lot of explanation. I was also aware that my institution was using multiple hand-outs to educate families with dying loved-ones. So, I attempted to combine all of these resources into one guide called "Compassionate Person-Centered Care of the Dying for Friends and Family." Hopefully, it will be available through City of Hope in the near future.
  • I was honored by the American Journal of Nursing (AJN) with a 2015 Book of the Year award in the category of Hospice and Palliative Care for "Compassionate Person Centered Care of the Dying: A Research Based Palliative Care Guide for Nurses." I was grateful to obtain further validation from AJN's experts on the CARES Tool.
  • I will be lecturing in Las Vegas March 10-12 at the How the Experts Treat Hematologic Malignancies conference sponsored by City of Hope.
  • I will be providing a 3 hour workshop on providing evidence based care of the dying with a focus on the CARES Tool at the California NP (CANP) 39th annual Educational Conference in New Port Beach on March 19th.
  • On April 17th I will be lecturing in Budapest, Hungary with Dr. Sorin Buga on Chemical Coping at the 2nd International Lung Cancer Symposium.
  •  I am in the process of converting my book Resilient Hearts to a six episode film production with tentative plans to eventually post on YouTube.
  • I am blessed to have the opportunity to precept two DNP students. On will be taking on a CARES research project with Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, CA; and the other is exploring possible CARES focused research projects to be completed through her program at Penn State University.
  • I will begin development of an on-line CEU program on the CARES Tool to be distributed internationally.
So, as you can see I am staying busy. I wish all of you the best.
Take care,

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I am thrilled to announce the release of my second book, Resilient Hearts. It is a collection of experiences I had caring for the dying and their families consolidated into a continuous story that follows a Palliative Care team in a hospital setting. I wanted to share what an honor and privilege it is to be accepted into a family's world at such an emotional and intimate time, and how Palliative Care team members can help patients and families focus on the journey and make what time remains as special and as loving as possible.

Death can become a celebration of life when we focus on the journey. The humor, the love, and the true joy is often a surprise for many and rarely equated with the dying process. Resilient Hearts attempts to share this joy and to instruct about the importance of  being genuine, compassionate, and remembering the importance of self-care.

I am amazed how few people know what Palliative Care is yet alone what a Palliative Care team can provide. It is my hope that Resilient Hearts will both help to educate and entertain.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thought I would take some time to catch up. My second book is due in the bookstores after October 13th. I was able to purchase advance copies and so far friends and family have been very supportive and kind. The true test will come when strangers read it. The book is called Resilient Hearts. It follows a Palliative Care team as they work with terminally ill patients and their families in a suburban hospital. I wanted to give a working example of some of the communication that occurs and show how essential team work is when working with this patient population. My hope was to present the story with compassion and humor. Time will tell if I succeeded. You can read about the book on Tate Publishing's web site at:

I am still hoping to make a movie version of the book to reach a wider audience and to give a clearer understanding of the kind of people who provide Palliative Care. I finished the movie script now I just have to get someone to commit to making the film.

On a brighter note the Pediatric Unit at City of Hope will finish training their first core group of nurses on the CARES Tool. The plan is that they will then act as an example and help others in the unit to learn. I hope to chat with them and put together an interview to share with other nurses to encourage them to learn more about the CARES Tool.

It all seems so slow. I am grateful for the interest shown so far, but it still feels like we have so much to do. Well, I guess I need to just keep trying.

Take Care