Learning Together by Listening

I wanted to share with you a note I received from Leanne Huminski, Vice President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer for McLeod Regional Medical Center.  Leanne joined the team in Trauma Surgical to listen and learn from their service to our patients.  Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing with you the insights our leaders are learning by listening and working along side the team in a variety of departments.  Please take a moment to read what Leanne discovered and shared with me about her experience.


Linda Harwell, TSCU Patient Care Supervisor, shares information with Leanne Huminski.

Last Thursday I had the great pleasure of putting on my nursing uniform and shadowing the nursing staff in the Trauma Surgical Care Unit. This was a truly humbling experience.  As I watched the staff go about the work of caring for seriously ill patients and their families, I was impressed with their compassion, their professionalism, their technical competence and their team work. I could tell that what I witnessed was every day and common place for this staff. They went about their work with a natural grace.

I spent a good deal of time working with Stacie Johnson, the PCS on duty on Thursday.  If I had to choose one word to sum up my impression of Stacie it would be professionalism.  Stacie was cool, calm and collected as she went about her responsibilities.  Stacie explained what a normal day for her would look like and I was tired thinking about her duties.  Stacie gave me a report on every patient in the unit that day and she was very knowledgeable of the patient’s challenges, special needs, goals and discharge plan.  She knew how long every patient had been in the unit, what their nutritional status was, their family situation and what the plan for recovery was.  In addition, she made sure that every staff member had completed the service recovery CBT and took over patient care so that staff could accomplish this.  We were called away from the unit to assist the staff in the radiology department with a difficult IV stick and Stacie took it all in stride.  I would say that Stacie is a model PCS.

I observed Chaquita Morris care for both a patient and his family.  The patient was unresponsive and unaware of the kind and respectful way that Chaquita managed his care … and what was truly impressive was the way that Chaquita included his family in the care and kept them informed of what was happening and what they could expect.  I observed that, when a patient is severely compromised, it is not possible to deliver good news, but allowing the family to ask questions, being as honest as possible and offering the family time to adjust to the situation, is as important as the care delivered to the patient.  Chaquita was serving as a preceptor for Leslie Cooper, a new employee on the unit.  I am sure that Leslie learned more about the ‘art of nursing’ while working with Chaquita.

As I observed Howard Brigman, Andrea Dunbar, Rebecca Gibson, Tammy McPherson, Catherine Allen, and Jennifer Hughes go about their work,  I saw teamwork in action.  All of the staff worked together, and helped each other to get patients out of bed, turn patients, feed patients, extubate patients, change dressings and perform the many tasks that are necessary to move patients forward on their journey to wellness. I thought of a well oiled machine as I watched the work of the unit progress through the day.  It was obvious that the staff cares about each other as well as the patients.

I spent some time with Linda Harwell as she spoke with the staff and reviewed every patient’s chart to assure that education was being performed, that every ventilated patient was receiving the vent bundle care, and as she counted up central line days.  Linda made sure that the staff was competent to care for the patient and advised and served as the clinical expert in their care.

I would like to thank Brenda Raynor and all of the staff who were working in the unit for making me feel welcome and comfortable and for showing me why TSCU is helping McLeod Regional Medical Center to earn the reputation as “The Choice For NURSING Excellence.”

Warm Regards,

Each morning, at all three hospitals, leaders from across the organization gather for a quick huddle and a visit to a specific department or patient area.  We go to these areas each day as a group in order to begin our day with why we are here … the patients and the staff.  We spend about twenty minutes in the area and then huddle again to see what we learned or who we might help.  It is another way or place to listen and learn about the work.  However, the experience like the one described above by Leanne, is also another important way we can learn by listening and observing.  Thanks for your help in this effort to continue to improve our service.


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