By: Jane Zemel | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: August 2014
Nicole, RN at Saint Francis Hospital.
When Saint Francis Hospital opens two new Respiratory Care Units (RCU) in the fall, one of the first to show up for duty will be Nicole. After 10 years on the job she’ll be just as excited as the day she started in the current RCU.
Nicole said, “I came here a decade ago because of the reputation for care Saint Francis provides. I heard through word of mouth from other nurses that, as an employer, Saint Francis went above and beyond.”
Nicole loves being part of a team that delivers high quality care focused on excellent patient outcomes. She also helps with orientation and education for new nurses and helped create the unit-based council in her department. “Members have a voice in what’s happening in their departments. These committees identify areas to work on and ways to improve customer satisfaction,” she explained. “The return can be opportunities for awards, prizes and praise; something as simple as thanking a co-worker for helping out during a busy night.”
Clinical Staff Incentives. Saint Francis is a leader in continuing education for its nurses as well as scholarships for first time RNs. Through the hospital, Nicole has received her advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), CPR and IV nurse specialist training. Saint Francis will have provided over $500 in materials by the time she takes her national certification. Passage of the nurse’s first national certification would then be reimbursed.
When her youngest child is a bit older, Nicole plans to get her master’s degree – another cost partly reimbursed by Saint Francis. For now, her 18-month-old daughter goes to daycare at Saint Francis’s on-site center, Ave Maria. “It’s so convenient. I am able to visit her during my lunch break,” Nicole said. “One of the great things about being an employee with Saint Francis Hospital is having my child nearby at Ava Maria.”
What’s ahead. Saint Francis’ two new Respiratory Care Units will more than double the patient care capacity. The current unit is the only designated RCU in Tulsa, and one of a limited number nationwide. Established in 2002 with six beds under the current Clinical Nurse Manager, it grew to 16 beds and will expand to 36 beds. “The demand is there. We have a waiting list,” Nicole said.
The RCU offers state-of-the-art equipment and excellent resources, providing an additional level of care between ICU and patient room. The unit serves patients with pneumonia, chronic lung disease, COPD, emphysema, congestive heart failure, lung cancer, or trauma that includes respiratory.
“RCU patients get stronger faster than if they were in the ICU,” Nicole said. Patients can do other therapies at the same time, and can be discharged directly to home or another facility.
The RCU enjoys a patient to nurse ratio of 3:1. “Currently, it’s a total care unit, which means the RNs provide all patient care. In the new units, nurse techs will help with activities of daily living,” she said. Greater one-on-one care is a plus for nurses and improves patient outcomes.
“Many nurses have been here for years. That says a lot about a hospital,” Nicole said. “I’ve worked for other hospitals. I love it at Saint Francis because of the care I’m able to provide and the co-workers with whom I get to work. We’re not like a family – we are a family,” she said.
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