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Letter to the Editor & Editor’s Reply

The Voice of Backus Hospital

James Watson, MD
Reply by Dennis Slater, MD

Dear Dr. Slater, Dear Dr. Watson,

Thank you for editing the first edition of The Open I wholeheartedly agree with you. The nursing staff
Journal. I noticed that all the articles, save one by of The William W. Backus Hospital are not just an
a pharmacist, were written by physicians and none integral part of healthcare here; they are the very
were written by nurses. I also noticed that the second foundation of the hospital. I canvassed repeatedly
edition will have an article written by a pharmacist on all the wards for any nurse to write an article
but none by a nurse. The William W. Backus Hospital about any subject of interest. I specifically asked the
has a long tradition of excellence in nursing and had, nursing leadership (more accurately implored and
at one time, a very successful nursing school that was begged) to submit articles about the nursing union,
established in 1983. Most of its graduates stayed on staffing problems, service line issues, unrecognized
at Backus Hospital. In the excellent article written by accomplishments, clinical conundrums and
Dr. Jan Akus on the historical perspective of Backus, challenges, etc. Several nurses offered tepid interest,
there was mention of “nursing training home” but one nurse claims to be writing a manuscript, and one
not a nursing school. Many hospitals, Windham nurse leader informed me that she would first seek
and Backus included, had housing for nurses. I am permission from the administration.
uncertain if Dr. Akus was referring to residential
housing for nurses or to nursing home, or both when Unfortunately, not a single manuscript
he referred to “nurse training home”.
was submitted.
I was disappointed that none of the articles You rightly point out that the school of nursing
were written by a nurse about nursing at Backus Hospital was completely overlooked in the
at Backus. excellent article written by Dr. Jan Akus on the
history of medicine at Backus Hospital. I will make a
I believe, especially in the inaugural section of The concerted effort to ask any of the 400 nurses on the
Open Journal, that there should have been an Backus Hospital staff to write a brief history of the
article written by a nurse. The primary objective of nursing school. Perhaps such a contribution will
The Open Journal is to display the voice of the break the ice.
Backus Hospital medical staff, nursing staff, and allied
professionals. In the future I believe it is important to Gene Flenke wrote an article on improving
give equal billing to nurses and members of the allied healthcare through application of Lean management
health profession. g philosophies, principles, and tools in the first
–Dr. James Watson issue. Mr. Flenke is on the East Region Executive
Leadership Team and is H3W Lean Sensei. The MD
designation was incorrect. g

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