By Denise Gilmore
I have been a nurse at Morristown Memorial Hospital for 12 years, and these are some of the finest people with whom I've ever worked. They are particularly great in the Center for Digestive Health. I started there in December of 2009 and have had nothing but positive personal and patient interactions.
My first goal was to learn the equipment and procedural process. Every nurse and tech in the department gave me positive feedback on a daily basis to get me through my orientation. I watched as they admitted patients, cared for them during their procedures and recovered them afterwards. The abundance of knowledge of this staff was quite apparent.
Their daily patient and family interactions require a great deal of teaching and caring. Each patient is treated as an individual with needs. I have witnessed acts of compassion, selflessness, and team work on a regular basis to get the job done. Some examples of these acts include working beyond scheduled hours for patients who require longer procedures or recovery, stroking a patient's hand who is nervous or anxious before a procedure, sitting with families long after the doctors are gone for emotional support, and supporting each other during difficult cases.
As part of our job, we do pre calls and post calls for all of our outpatients. Pre calls are done on or two days before a patient procedure. It is at this time that we start the teaching process. Patients have a one-to-one nurse call-in during which they receive pertinent information about their procedure and get pre-procedure information from our staff. It is a time where they can have any and all questions answered. I feel that this small task alleviates so many fears for our patients.
Inpatients receive a pre-procedure visit from one of our staff members to get general background information. It is also a one-to-one interview in which the patient can ask questions. When patients are admitted for procedures the teaching continues. During the admission process we reinforce what they already know and answer any other questions they may have.
Recovery is perhaps the time we do most of our teaching. Discharge instructions are important to healing. Patients need to know about restrictions, dietary instructions, and medication changes. Patients and their families are dealing with a new diagnosis, sometimes including ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, or an unexpected mass. These are life-altering events that require knowledge and caring on the nurse's part. We do our best to help patients and families transition through these ailments.