Walking in a nurse's shoes: UTMB leaders gain insight from front-line nurses during Nurses Week and Health System Week 2017

Jun 20, 2017, 06:15 AM by KirstiAnn Clifford
Emily Blomberg (left) shadowed nurse Stacey Robinson during a total knee surgery.
Stacey Robinson became a nurse not only because she is an adrenaline junkie, but also because she wants to make a difference.

“If I have a patient who is scared or nervous while getting ready for a procedure, I talk with them and educate them on the whole process,” said Robinson, an OR nurse at UTMB’s Angleton Danbury Campus. “Nurses are a big part of the patient care team. I really enjoy taking care of patients and helping to relieve some of their anxiety so they have a good experience.”

Robinson was one of about 20 nurses across the Galveston, League City and Angleton Danbury campuses who had a UTMB leader shadow them as part of the “Walk a Mile” program during Nurses Week and Health System Week May 6-12.

Emily Blomberg, vice president for Profes­sional and Support Services in the Health System, had the opportunity to observe Rob­inson as she assisted Dr. Craig McDonald, an orthopedic surgeon, and the patient care team during a total knee replacement surgery.

Robinson (right) with Blomberg. “While I know what a nurse’s role is, it’s hard to see the challenges they face when you don’t spend time with them,” said Blomberg. “They are on the front lines taking care of patients and it’s really exciting for me to be able to see how hard that is—it’s a lot of hard work.”

Robinson explained her responsibilities to Blomberg as she went through a pre-op checklist, making sure all equipment was in the operating room and the patient was in the proper position. Blomberg stayed to watch the surgery from start to finish and said she was impressed with the work Robinson does every day.

“Stacey did a great job, not only doing her job—but teaching me about what she does,” said Blomberg. “I spend time shadowing front-line employees every week so I can better understand their job and learn more about what they do. It’s the best part of my week.”

Dr. David Callender (left) shadowed Scott Woodby, a rapid response nurse.UTMB President Dr. David Callender arrived at the medical intensive care unit (MICU) in Jennie Sealy Hospital wearing scrubs and a pair of running shoes, ready to “walk a mile” with Scott Woodby.

Woodby has been part of UTMB’s Rapid Response Team since it started in 2005. Since then, the team has received more than 6,000 calls, bringing critical care expertise to non-intensive care units.

“We support patients throughout the hospital who are starting to deteriorate and may need some extra interventions that nurses on non-ICU units are not trained for or allowed to provide,” explained Woodby. “We have a pager system and they can call us at any time—we try to have our response time at under five minutes. Then we work with the nurses and primary physician taking care of the patient to provide interventions to prevent respiratory or cardiac arrest. Sometimes interventions can prevent patients from needing the ICU, and other times we are needed to help facilitate their movement to an ICU.”

Just as Woodby finished explaining the pager system, his beeper went off and Callender and WoodbyCallender followed as he was called to a non-ICU unit, where a patient was having seizures every five minutes. For the next hour, Callender stood close by as Woodby worked with the patient’s primary care team to slow the seizures and transport the patient to the neuro ICU unit.

Callender, a board-certified head and neck surgeon, said it was great to learn more about rapid response teams and how important they are to patient care.

“Studies have shown that hospitals with rapid response teams have lower mortality and complication rates,” said Callender. “I love being around patients and I appreciate Scott educating me about the important role he and members of our Rapid Response Team play in responding to immediate needs for urgent and critical interventions. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve learned more about critical bedside interventions from nurses than anyone else. Great nurses are critical to great outcomes."

Nurses Week and Health System Week 2017

UTMB celebrated Nurses Week and Health System Week with various events, including a blood drive, awards ceremonies and appreciation lunches, coffee with Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer David Marshall, pet therapy, and cakes and ice cream for Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Join us in celebrating all UTMB nurses, who provide outstanding direct patient care every shift, every day of the 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.