UTMB leaders "walk a mile in their shoes" as part of Nurses Week

Jun 21, 2016, 14:50 PM by KirstiAnn Clifford
Dr. Selwyn Rogers and Katie Brown, an ED nurse.
As part of nurses week in May, more than 20 UTMB leaders shadowed nurses from across the Galveston, League City and Angleton Danbury campuses to get a glimpse of the successes and challenges nurses experience every day.

Dr. Selwyn Rogers, vice president and chief medical officer, put aside his administrative duties for a few hours to shadow Katie Brown, an Emergency Department nurse on the Galveston Campus.

“This is a great part of my job—I love it,” said Rogers when asked about shadowing front-line staff. “It’s an opportunity to see first-hand the challenges that our nurses face and recognize all the great work they do. I want to hear about what’s working and what isn’t, and if there’s a problem I can help solve, I want to hear about it.”

Rogers still enjoys being on the front lines taking care of patients. In addition to his duties as CMO, he works with the ED on a regular basis, as the trauma surgeon on-call on Friday nights. However, it was his first time meeting Katie Brown, who was getting ready to transition to the League City Campus’ ED.

Rogers followed Brown into exam rooms, asking questions and talking to patients and their families. He noted the high census and issues with behavioral health patients who have nowhere else to go for treatment.

“It does reinforce that we have a big need and it’s not unique,” said Rogers. “A number of patients have substance abuse issues, as well. That’s a huge problem nationally.”

Brown was happy to have a leader join her for part of the day.

“I was glad that Dr. Rogers got to see things really pick up and saw how busy we are,” said Brown, who has been at UTMB for three years.

David Marshall, chief nursing and patient care services officer, spent one of his mornings in the neonatal ICU, located in John Sealy Hospital, shadowing nurse Betsy Petersen.

David Marshall and nurse Betsy Petersen check on a baby in the neonatal ICU.Although he admitted that he was intimidated by the pint-sized patients at first, he quickly got the hang of it, asking Petersen questions and helping her feed and take care of the two babies under her watch. When Marshall found out that Petersen had also been a nurse at UTMB in the 1980s, they immediately started comparing notes and talking about what nursing was like back then.

“We are seeing much better outcomes than what we saw 20 or 30 years ago,” said Petersen. “The best part of my job is seeing the journey each baby takes from the time they come here to when they go home. I have so much compassion for these babies. They are here by no fault of their own.”

Marshall said his visit with Petersen was a good reminder of all the incredibly talented people who work at UTMB and do extraordinary things every day.

“I think about the impact that Petersen and her colleagues make in these babies’ lives and their parents’ lives and it’s like throwing a stone in the water and watching the ripples go out,” said Marshall. “If you think about each life that is touched by a nurse, it’s pretty amazing.”

2016 Nurses Week and Health System Week

UTMB celebrated Nurses Week and Health System Week with various events across the campuses including a “Nurses Wear White Day,” a breakfast and luncheon, blood drive, seminars, professional organization booths and an award ceremony. Join us in celebrating all UTMB nurses, who provide direct patient care seven days a week, 365 days a year. Many thanks to all UTMB nurses for their commitment and dedication to patients. To see more photos from Nurses Week, visit www.flickr.com/photos/utmb.