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From the Desk of AMC CEO Clint Kendall: Care for Yourself by Connecting with Others, Making a Colonoscopy Appointment

Now that winter is behind us, the reward is that we will get to see the beauty of spring, which is already popping up around us. March can be a difficult month for me, since it often feels like I’m running low on willpower, after that exciting period during the New Year when I enthusiastically set my goals. I hope you feel encouraged by these columns, to stay on course with your health, wellness, and financial resolutions. If we cheer each other on, I think we have a greater chance of long-term success.

I’ve touched on self-care and the importance of it for our physical and mental health in several of these columns, and many things come under the heading of self-care. These include eating right and exercising, adopting healthy habits and losing unhealthy ones, like smoking. One aspect of self-care we haven’t talked a lot about is how connection with others supports our good health. 

Having frequent contact with others is healthy — whether this is our family, friends, or even beloved pets. It’s not only important that we have daily contact with others — through work, school, getting together with a group of friends, or visiting the dog park — it also opens up our life to new people and experiences, another positive. There are some ways to make your life richer by connecting with others that you may not have thought about before. These include giving your time and energy as a volunteer to a deserving local organization, like your child’s school, animal rescue, or any cause you believe in, and even Angel Medical Center. Our volunteers help with everything from patient assistance and office tasks to pet therapy and special event planning and facilitation. If interested, call 828-524-8411 and ask for Rick VanGilder. 

Another way to interact with others in a healthy way is to seek fellowship if you are struggling with an issue, such as alcohol or drug dependence, from a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There are many more, including groups centered on cancer support, grief, and others, depending on what type of support you are seeking. Joining a group that’s focused on one of your interests can be good too, like a local gardening club or a sports club. Connecting can happen easily if you take an adult education class as well.  

From a therapeutic perspective, establishing a relationship with a therapist or psychologist can do a lot of good if you find yourself struggling with emotional issues. No matter how you choose to connect, make sure you do, since loneliness and isolation has been proven to be detrimental to your health.

On a different note, please join me in welcoming our newest physicians to the Franklin community. Cardiologist Dr. Scott Westermeyer, who is board-certified in cardiovascular disease. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Westermeyer, please contact Asheville Cardiology Associates – Franklin at 828-349-6611. Dr. Samantha Brothers, a family medicine physician who is passionate about caring for the whole family at every stage of life, including newborns. She is also able to care for women and their gynecological care. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Brothers at Mission Health Center Franklin, call 828-349-6800. Dr. Mark Moriarty, Orthopedic Surgeon, who has a specialty in sports medicine and adult reconstructive surgery. He also manages a wide variety of orthopedic trauma that is seen in Macon County. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Moriarty, please call Mission Orthopedics and Sports Medicine – Franklin at 828-349-8260.

During March we also recognize physicians on National Doctors Day, which is Thursday, March 30th this year. It’s a good opportunity to say “thank you” to physicians for all they do, and specifically to those who call Macon County home and make our community healthier. Our community is growing by the day because people feel confident that if they come here to live, they will have access to excellent doctors. We still have a need for more physicians to join our community, however, and seeking your care close to home is one powerful way to grow local healthcare. 

Another celebration that dovetails nicely with National Doctor’s Day is Patient Safety Awareness Week, which is March 13-19. This is a time when we also acknowledge who we are as a hospital – we are Angel Medical Center, and as such, we are focused on caring for this community, where you need it and when you need it. This means that we provide care and services that keep you healthy, ensure your care is local, and if necessary, we are ready to give you lifesaving and life-sustaining care as well. 

I would be remiss if I did not mention that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and a time when we talk about the importance of the screening colonoscopy procedure. Even though jokes are made about this procedure, it is one of the most important health screenings you can receive. This is because if this cancer is detected early, it is highly treatable and curable, and colonoscopy is what enables early detection. And I realize that the “prep” for colonoscopy — drinking a solution that causes you to eliminate everything in your colon — is about as much fun as mucking a horse stall in the summer, but it’s well worth it, because stopping the spread of cancer is critical. 

Starting at age 45 and every 10 years or as advised by your provider, you should have a colonoscopy. If they state that you need one more often, do not be alarmed, simply discuss the reasons with your provider. It’s best to informed and empowered as a patient. 

Let’s remember to stop and tell our doctor “thank you” for their care this month, and for choosing to practice in our great community. I also salute our dedicated medical staff here at Angel for serving the Franklin community. We are well cared for, thanks to them. 

Clint Kendall, FACHE, MBA, MSN, BSN, RN, is Chief Executive Officer/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. He started his career as a nurse, and that perspective still informs his work and passion for the patient experience. Clint holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Nursing, and Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University. Clint has also earned the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) certification, and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and the American Nurses Association (ANA). 

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