Just Another Day in the ER? | Carson Tahoe Health

Annette Patellos, Carson Tahoe Nurse Director

Two things you can say about working in healthcare, no two days are ever the same and working in a “silo” is not an option. Tuesday, July 28 was a day that reinforced my strong feeling that Carson Tahoe is not only a great place to work but if you need medical care, there is no better place to be.

July certainly has not been the typical slow month that we in hospital work have come to expect. The Emergency Department (ED) has been hopping and the acuity of patients has been extraordinary. The patient volume on this particular Tuesday, 105, is not illustrative of the actual work load brought on the ED by the variety of patients who presented that day. I tell you this not to be an alarmist or a complainer but because I am honored to have been a part of a team that pulled together so well, to do so much, in such a short period of time.

At 1530, as I walked toward the ED from the Sage Café, it was obvious that even with a well staffed ED this case mix was a tough one. A critically ill baby, four legal holds, code blue in two, five ambulances in the bay, full exam rooms, hall beds full, a full waiting room and ten charts in the “waiting to be seen” bin. As soon as I walked in the core, I inquired about what I could do to help. In a flash I was signed in the Pyxis and helping to administer medications. When I turned around, I saw Paul Laird, Director of Laboratory and Outpatient Services right there helping with phlebotomy needs. On the other side of the core was Linda Hurst, ER manager, assisting with patient care needs. All the while the regular ER physicians, nurses, CNA’s, unit clerks and registration staff were doing what they do so well, triaging and registering patients in a calm and diligent manner.

I watched and worked, and worked some more, all the while thinking about what great care was being delivered. The true definition of teamwork was unfolding before my eyes and the organized chaos that is the emergency department was working like a fine-oiled machine. By the end of the evening it was apparent that nearly every department in the hospital had come together to “Put Patients First”. The ARC had stepped in to take the legal holds so we could free up some rooms. A nurse from Peds had stepped in to help with the critically sick baby. BHS staff was there to assist the legal holds. Registration was helping at the bedside. Security was helping move patients. And most important, while patients knew it was a busy night, they were well cared for and treated with dignity.

I often say that I work with an amazing team of professionals yet now I have a more clear understanding of the crazy, wonderful, poignant world in which we work. I appreciate you all for your work on Tuesday, July 28…just another day in the ED.