In our ongoing effort to improve as an organization, we learn by going directly to the place of patient care. Going to the work to learn the vital roles we all have in creating care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and effective. This experience provides leaders with a more meaningful understanding of our purpose and mission. Here are some insights gained by Dale Locklair, Vice President of Procurement & Construction, when he ‘job shadowed’ the team in TSCU (Trauma Surgical Care Unit.)
Recently, I spent an afternoon job shadowing in TSCU. Brenda Raynor, Linda Harwell, Howard Brigman, and a number of their companions took time from their day to spend time with me. I can better understand why “McLeod is the Choice for Medical Excellence.” We looked at how supplies were arranged and what could be done to make their jobs easier. We explored the layout of equipment, wall outlets, medical gas, and what would be the best thing to do about bathrooms in an intensive care unit. I was allowed to assist in turning patients and observe a wound dressing being changed.
Then Linda helped to put things in perspective for me by asking me to, “Try and imagine what it would be like to be waiting in traffic at one moment … when, suddenly, everything goes dark. When you regain consciousness,” she continued, “Your life and the lives of your family members will be changed forever. Nothing will be the same ever again.”
As she explained, Linda wove a story of a young man whose accident left him with an injury. He can no longer feel his arms or legs. His body cannot shiver, so he can no longer regulate the core temperature. His blood pressure needs constant monitoring, because the muscles in his arms and legs no longer function to help regulate it, and as his blood flow decreases to his body’s organs, renal failure becomes a pressing danger. His family needs someone to comfort them and help with their confusion. “What do we do now?,” they wonder. Then, she led me into this patient’s room. I was there to assist in turning him. I participated and watched as his nurses spoke to this big, strapping man, who was only semi-conscious, with tenderness and compassion. We left the room, and I noticed Linda, again speaking softly and kindly outside the room answering questions from his wife about what she would need to do next.
Throughout the afternoon, as I observed and listened, I realized that the work of a nurse, especially a TSCU nurse, is both art and science. I was impressed by their unique skills and abilities that allow each of them to assess and manage a patient’s rapidly changing conditions, but what truthfully caught my attention and truly gripped my heart was the genuine compassion I saw in each of these nurses, as they cared for both their patients and family members.
I have to tell you that I am a better person for this one afternoon. I will work differently at my job, because I know my work supports them and is important to them.
I am grateful to each one in TSCU who shared just a part of a day in their lives with me. But I am most grateful that they allowed me to see a small piece of their hearts. Their sincerity is obvious; their compassion is extraordinary; and their hearts are filled with grace. They truly exemplify the meaning of the word “Caring.”
Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to have taken time from my day for this enriching experience.
I appreciate Dale’s perspective and reflection. Our work in health care is a calling to serve others. We are blessed by our people and their dedication to the responsibilities of their vocation. Thank you all for the work on behalf of our patients and their families.