By Donna Begin, BSN, RN NE-BC
It was 15 years ago that two community hospitals merged to form one system. The goal was to unify processes, procedures and people.
Until January 2011, however, the GI and endoscopy services remained separate. Each unit was its own entity. The teams shared policies and comparable paperwork, but shared little else and had two different nursing directors.
Historically, each unit covered call for emergent endoscopy cases inconsistently, leaving gaps in nursing coverage. Until 2008, the operating room nurses often were called in for endoscopy cases. This created conflict and concerns regarding competency though. The reason? The specialty of endoscopy was growing and with it the advent of new interventional procedures, which meant that operating room nurses weren't always the appropriate people for endoscopy cases.
The need for endoscopy nursing coverage was apparent.
True emergent cases were few, and compensating two nurses at each campus to be on call was not fiscally viable at the time. A system of “gracious call" was developed. Though not assigned call, or paid, a “list" was in place for the nursing supervisor to access when an emergency arose during non-call hours. The supervisor would work her way down this list until she found a nurse available and willing to come in.