The summer of 2017 brought catastrophic tribulation to the multidisciplinary team in the Emergency Department. Immense suffering, grief, pain, and sorrow is commonplace for this team to endure, but surmountable because of the unwavering dedication and commitment to each other and this entire team. The examples of this team's dedication to providing compassionate care which aligns with the organization's mission, vision, and values are multifarious. The following examples serve as evidence!
On one summer day, the team received a young pediatric patient who had been submerged under water for a prolonged period of time. The patient was pulseless and the team worked tirelessly for three hours to save this pulseless little girl. Careful application of PALS protocols was followed as members of the team worked in harmony and synchronization. Members of the team took turns performing CPR and team members brought each other water during the exhaustive efforts. Not only did this team support each other, they emotionally supported and held the parents while they collapsed on the floor and sobbed, helping them say goodbye and by guiding them in the decision for termination of resuscitative efforts.
On another day, the team encountered the unthinkable, two small children viciously attacked by a dog presented to the Emergency Department. In addition to the astute critical nursing care delivered for these children, the team provided emotional care which was palpable and placed at the highest level of consideration and application. A nurse soothed one of the children and while she did so, he looked into her eyes and told her he would die. The nurse stood unwaveringly and continued to provide calm reassuring and supportive language as if it was her own child. Finally, leaders of the department took the time to clean out the family vehicle, covered in blood and flesh, so the parents could drive it to the specialty pediatric hospital their children were transferred to for continued care.
Another summer day brought 16 children to the Emergency Department after a bus accident requiring varying degrees of resuscitation and stabilizing care. This team stood tall and provided parents and families beautiful compassion, empathy, and loving arms to cry in. While countless examples of compassion and nurse to child connections were occurring throughout the department on an already challenging day, the tide would not waver as the department received an additional 9 trauma activations. These patients included a severely burned patient as a result of an unfortunate lawnmower accident in which a gentleman sustained third-degree burns from the lawnmower catching fire. The team stood by with fire extinguishers as a precautionary method to ensure optimal patient and team safety in order to augment the decontamination process which had previously occurred while the trauma team performed an emergent bedside escharotomy of the chest wall.
A final summer day brought 16 patients as a result of a buggy accident to the Emergency Department, many from out of town. How scary to be sick and injured, away from all that is familiar and safe. The multidisciplinary team of nurses, PTCAs, unit clerks, transporters, providers, radiology, phlebotomy, security, registration, housekeeping, chaplains, and case managers dedicated to providing safety, familiarity, and a sense of peace and calm in the chaos worked hard to provide supportive care for all. Eight more trauma patients arrived throughout the course of the day requiring the team to keep pushing forward, ensuring every patient received the exceptional care they deserved, even when the team was physically and emotionally exhausted.
Lastly, a busy evening shift, with 80 plus patients already in the SO bed Emergency Department, required to quickly and expertly flex to accommodate seven trauma patients from a motor vehicle accident.
Expert, precise, and compassionate patient care is not the only focus of the team in the Emergency Department. With the infusion of LEAN management into the organization, the ED team has embraced the core concepts by huddling three times a day, learning important metrics and how to model their daily practice to support those metrics, using idea cards to bring the ED leaders suggestions for improvement, and being the first unit to work collaboratively to develop standard work with 7E to improve disposition to departure times for the observation patient population, and developing standard work with the ICU to ensure departure of critical care patients from the ED within 20 minutes of disposition. All three teams embracing multiple rounds of experimentation and offering suggestions and guidance during each step of the process. Additionally, the collaborative efforts allowed time for the team members involved to get to know each other and build relationships outside of their respective departments.
In the Emergency Department, there is no time for weariness, defeasance, or hesitation. The multidisciplinary team is responsible for the care of the patients and their families in our community in times of sickness and uncertainty, ensuring they demonstrate the core values of the organization.
Furthermore, they've learned to not only do the job expected of them but to improve it to enhance the outcomes in the Emergency Department, leading to optimal performance of the entire Lancaster General organization. Please recognize this team, they are deserving!