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Thursday, May 18, 2023

Angel Medical Center President's Column for May 2023

Highlighting Stress Awareness Month and How You Can Get Involved With Angel Medical Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Council

During the past three years, we have shard the most significant event in our life histories — a once-in-a-century pandemic — and all the fear, worry, uncertainty, and grief that goes along with it. We suffered many losses during the pandemic, including family members and loved ones, the certainty that modern medicine had everything all figured out, and to some extent, our innocence. It changed all of us in profound ways.

Through this time of change, it’s only natural that the anxiety made most of us more sensitive, irritable, and prone to anger. It became easier to overlook things that should fill our hearts with joy, peace, and forgiveness, since many negative things were going on in the outside world.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but any time is a good time to focus on how we manage the stresses in our lives — which all of us likely deal with.

I think it’s safe to say that stress is everywhere in our lives, but the key we need to learn is how to react well and process the stress in productive ways that support our health rather than harm it. Stress isn’t always negative either — sometimes we can be energized and motivated when we’re under stress, like having an urgent school or work deadline and doing our best work under pressure. This type of stress energizes us, pushes us forward to achieve goals, and makes us want to get out of bed in the mornings.

On the other hand, negative stress is what takes control of many people’s brains and bodies and, in many cases, it is internalized. Coping mechanisms are essential when it comes to dealing with stress, but they must be healthy ones. “Dumping” on a friend or your spouse about what’s stressing you out merely transfers it onto them, they may not know what to do with it, and it’s likely you’ll still feel anxious.

If not managed well, stress leads to serious health conditions, from high blood pressure to cardiovascular disease. The effects of stress are varied and include that irritability we talked about, having a hard time getting a good sleep, appetite changes, and digestive problems, among others, and they can cause us to respond in unhealthy ways, like smoking or eating junk food.

Learning to communicate well and how to process stress in a healthy way is as important as learning to cope. Prayer and meditation are wonderful antidotes to stress, and can help bring closure and peace when you’re worried.

May is the gateway to summer and for many parents, it’s the season of stress, because they worry about what the kids will be doing and how to keep them busy. This is often a significant source of anxiety for working parents. The key is to start brainstorming now, so there is a plan and a budget come summertime. For the older kids we need to have those conversations that every parent dreads, but are needed nonetheless. Talking to your child about the risks surrounding drugs, alcohol, and sex and sexually transmitted diseases is time well spent and helps them make good choices.

This is a good time to mention the support you have from our Public Health Department. The team members there have valuable educational information and tools, and can be allies to parents as you work to protect and educate your kids. The information at their disposal can complement talking to your kids about your expectations.

In addition, I’d like to take an opportunity to express my appreciation for our first responders, members of law enforcement, and firefighters, all of whom perform such critical work — selflessly — in our community.

We also celebrate National Hospital Week during the week of May 7-13. This month and year-round, I am so grateful for every dedicated team member at Angel Medical Center. Their deep commitment to and heart for our patients is what makes our hospital extraordinary. I salute them.

Since our priority every day at Angel Medical Center is to create a positive experience for every patient, we are focused on improving the perception of care provided, and the overall view of the name Angel Medical Center in the community every day. Our mission is, Above all else…We are committed to the Care and the Improvement of Human Life. We have a committee that is focused on hearing the voices of patients and families, and using their ideas to create better processes and ways to provide improved care at the bedside.

If you are interested in being part of something great and improving the perception of care, reach out to me at, and include “Patient and Family Advisory Council” in the subject line. You may also call the hospital at 828-524-8411 and ask for Gwen Bradley, who can also give you the information you need to get started.

About the Columnist

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).